Using feature flags and observability for service migrations

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Change is inevitable, and that’s a good thing, especially when it comes to software development, where it means delivering new and innovative features that improve the user experience and quality of life. In addition, in the case of service migration, change may mean better performance and lower costs. But creating change reliably is no easy task, especially when it comes to the evolving architecture that makes up today’s modern cloud environment, which is so complex and unpredictable.

If your platform goes down, your business is damaged and your credibility is called into question, potentially damaging your reputation. Therefore, when approaching major architectural changes, Devops teams should always ask themselves: How much work is involved in making these changes? Does it matter?

Enterprise technology companies are tasked with maintaining both speed and reliability, requiring high-performance engineering practice. In order to improve the quality and performance of applications for customers, the platforms and services that these companies offer should never experience declining performance. All software vendors must face the challenge of constantly optimizing or risk falling behind for other more efficient services.

Each year, major cloud service providers publish dozens, if not hundreds, of product updates and improvements – putting engineering teams in charge of understanding which configuration optimizes cloud and application performance. But if there is even one problem with moving to a new architecture, the likelihood of disruption increases dramatically.

Given the high demand for this service migration, engineering teams should carefully plan their moves. To add to the high stakes of these transfers, the annual cadence of cloud feature releases is a cause for concern, with more than 90% of IT professionals and executives reporting that they are concerned about innovation rates and their potential in the top cloud providers. Keep pace with it.

To continue, organizations have implemented innovative approaches to service migration – with a single practice, feature management, gaining significant traction. To meet similar challenges to continuously improve our platforms and interfaces, software developers have turned to feature management to continuously send and release code, while maintaining strict controls that allow for real-time experiments, canary release and instant code rollback. Bugs cause problems. .

Over the years, we have used the feature management platform LaunchDarkly to experiment, manage and optimize software delivery; Enabling the rapid pace of innovation without compromising the reliability of the application. Serverless functions speed up service migration, since changing which version of the function is called is just a configuration change.

Experiment, but with the flag of observability and specialty

Using feature management, enterprise technology companies will be equipped to bring similar capabilities into their cloud optimization initiatives. The functionality of feature flags enables capabilities that can speed up experiments and testing and allow enterprise technology companies to scale the cloud architecture on the flip of a switch.

Through experiments, teams can troubleshoot problems – such as non-optimized code – that can lead to delays in execution time. With feature flags, these releases can be quickly reversed to restore normal behavior to users. With such precision and control, teams can limit the duration and exposure of experiments, minimize the detrimental effect, and help report more careful rollouts. Teams can then conduct follow-up experiments to ensure reliability and performance, while also using continuous profiling to help troubleshoot their code.

Control, speed, and scale of these tests are only possible through feature management and observability. With feature flags, teams gain more control to check traffic, analyze performance, and quickly restore the original environment without any interruptions or downtime. In high-stakes situations like this, engineering teams need solutions that can pull the nerves out of their work and provide them with the capabilities needed to support continuous improvement initiatives and optimize their infrastructure.

More confidence for innovation

Feature flags and observability are for large and small, traditional and cloud-native organizations. Today, doing old-fashioned things means doing it harder and, ultimately, slowing down innovation. By adopting Devops techniques in software development and cloud engineering teams, organizations can truly take risks with the confidence needed for innovation.

Pushing platforms to new heights often requires a concerted effort that would otherwise be impossible without assurances that flags and observability provide. By adopting feature management for cloud optimization and migration initiatives, teams can be both fast and reliable, while also enabling a culture of constant experimentation and innovation.

Adopting new technologies and techniques to accelerate the pace at which organizations can experiment, test, and deploy new code or architecture is proving invaluable across industries. The time has come for high-stack processes to become faster and easier, such as using code in production and optimizing cloud infrastructure – not only for our engineers, but also for customers who are highly qualified in performance and reliability.

Liz Fong-Jones is the chief developer advocate at Honeycomb,


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