Configuration drift is a disease afflicting IT staffs across the globe. Like a slow-moving virus, test environments drift away from production configurations and everyone suffers. Developers have to request new test environments and operations team members have to fulfill those requests. Consequently, time and money that can be better spent elsewhere have to be spent on rectifying the seemingly unsolvable problem of configuration drift within the traditional software development lifecycle.

But Kubisys has cured that ailment.

What is Configuration Drift?

For those unfamiliar with the issue, TechTarget.com offers a great definition of configuration drift:

“Configuration drift is inconsistent configuration across computers or devices. [It] is a naturally occurring phenomenon in data center environments because of continual changes to software and hardware to the environment. Once configuration drift occurs, management can become extremely difficult. Configuration drift can account for many high availability and disaster recovery system failures”.

The software delivery consultant behind Kief.com calls configuration drift “the phenomenon where running servers in an infrastructure become more and more different as time goes on, due to manual ad-hoc changes and updates, and general entropy”. In other words, configuration drift is bad news for developers for the kinds of havoc it can ultimately wreak on their production environments.

Why Configuration Drift Makes Developers Ill

MidVision’s “CIO’s Guide: How to Avoid Configuration Drift” says,

“The failure to detect and understand unplanned changes in the configuration or content of a managed resource increases the risk of operational failure and hinders troubleshooting efforts …. Disaster recovery failures and HA [high availability] system failures are frequently a result of configuration drift.”

At its core, configuration drift introduces tremendous risk into the software development lifecycle. Traditional solutions attempt to minimize the risks associated with configuration drift, but they have yet to actually eradicate them.

Why Traditional Solutions for Configuration Drift Aren’t Actual Solutions

In an insightful post on configuration drift, Kief.com outlines the two ways IT staffs traditionally fight against it:

  1. Frequently and repeatedly run automated configuration tools.
  2. Frequently rebuild machine instances so there’s the smallest timeframe available for drift to occur.

But even with this apparently helpful, dual-method approach to configuration drift, problems still occur.

Automated config tools typically are only capable of managing a subset of a system and not the entire system. Furthermore, creating, deploying, and maintaining these scripts costs time and money. Consequently, developers may choose to only automate the more important parts of their systems, which can easily result in errors being later introduced into production because the entire system wasn’t replicated.

And even though frequently rebuilding machines may result in a higher likelihood of testing a near-accurate model of production without the need for configuration updates, small changes become more cumbersome to make and deploy.

Most companies today rely on a combination of these methods, but this process suffers from even more issues than those listed above. Kubisys has discovered a better way around configuration drift: eradication.

How the Kubisys Platform Eliminates Configuration Drift

The Kubisys Platform allows IT staffs to quickly spin up production-accurate, whole-system test environments within hours, not days. Because our Platform mirrors production—even allowing you to pull in live data and use actual URLs, as well as production control (Active Directory) and production naming (DNS)—configuration drift is significantly minimized. There’s no drifting from production because you’re working on an always up-to-date copy of production without affecting production.

Furthermore, test environments can be created very rapidly, allowing changes to be implemented and tested on a much faster timeline than the traditional software development lifecycle expects. Because of this faster turnaround time, software can go through more iterations on a shorter time period, allowing for more products, upgrades or patches to be confidently shipped per year.

By adding the amount of time you’ll save because of the Kubisys Platform’s speed-to-build with the significant amount of time your team once spent trying to cure configuration drift, our Platform helps your company save a substantial amount of time, and therefore money.

If you’re sick of configuration drift, email us at info@kubisys.com. We’d be more than glad to share our cure with you.

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