Managing IT workloads at scale means trying to reduce complexity whenever possible. A standard operating environment (SOE) can help you accelerate and automate the management, configuration and deployment of standard builds of IT systems. Defining an SOE for Red Hat Enterprise Linux (RHEL) is a key foundational activity for managing modern IT infrastructure for small and enterprise organizations alike, both on-premise and in the cloud.
In today's fast-paced digital landscape, organizations are constantly seeking ways to enhance efficiency, drive consistency and bolster system security within their IT infrastructure. One powerful solution that addresses these needs is an SOE. By adhering to recommended best practices, organizations can unlock the full potential of their RHEL SOE. Let's delve into some of the key principles that can help organizations do this.
Standardized operating system builds
First and foremost, standardized operating system builds play a pivotal role in streamlining processes. By employing potentially fully-automated provisioning of RHEL instances across virtual, cloud and bare metal servers, organizations can significantly reduce deployment time. Additionally, a more consistent system build process decreases system management overhead and promotes an environment that is with more stability and a greater security posture.
Modernized patch management
Another critical aspect of maintaining an effective SOE lies in modernized patch management. By adopting an up-to-date approach, organizations can improve the security and reliability capabilities of their environment. This involves integrating the system build process with new or existing infrastructure services, allowing for seamless updates and patches to be applied consistently across the network.
Operational consistency is also a key objective when implementing an SOE. By enforcing a basic managed-state enforcement for provisioned systems, organizations can maintain uniformity and minimize the risk of configuration drift. Furthermore, establishing a portable system-provisioning process enables organizations to extend the same procedure from bare metal to virtualization and cloud providers, facilitating greater flexibility and scalability.
Multi-tenanted system provisioning and management
To address the growing need for separation of duty and granular access control, implementing a multi-tenanted system provisioning and management model is crucial. This provides for different teams to have the appropriate levels of access and responsibilities within the SOE, further enhancing security posture and operational governance.
Continuous integration and deployment
Lastly, an optimized SOE enables continuous integration, fostering a culture of agility and collaboration. By integrating development, testing and deployment processes, organizations can streamline workflows, accelerate time-to-market and deliver higher-quality software products.
By embracing the recommended best practices for a standard operating environment in RHEL, organizations can more effectively unlock the full potential of their IT infrastructure. From standardized operating system builds to modernized patch management and continuous integration, these principles lay the foundation for enhanced efficiency, consistency and system security. By leveraging the power of an optimized SOE, organizations can stay ahead in today's rapidly-evolving technological landscape.
Here are some best practices to consider when implementing your SOE for RHEL:
- Standardized operating system builds: Utilizing tools such as Red Hat image builder, Kickstart or Red Hat Satellite can help enable the creation of standardized builds of RHEL for the entire environment or separate standard builds per environment. Defining standardized packages and configurations that will be a part of builds allows for greater consistency and predictability in the environment.
- Automated deployment: Defining standard automated deployment utilizing toolings such as Image Builder, Kickstart or Satellite can help with automated operating system deployment into environments.
- Application deployment: Standardizing the way applications are deployed is critical. The best way to do this is through documented automation, allowing for more consistent deployment of applications in the environment. Tooling such as Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform can also be an option to help with documenting processes and workflows for application deployment and orchestrating automated deployments of applications into environments.
- Monitoring: Standardizing and defining tools for monitoring operating system and application configurations and states is a significant part of understanding the health of the environment.
- Backups: Defining backup strategies for applications—and potentially the operating system—is critical for disaster recovery scenarios. This includes how often backups happen and where they will reside. Tools such as Ansible Automation Platform can help orchestrate this process.
- Patching: Defining patching strategies for the environment helps to keep the environment up-to-date and healthy while maintaining the appropriate security stance. Patching strategies should include patching environments quarterly or monthly, as well as strategies for dealing with emergency patch situations. Tools that can help with the management and deployment of patching include Satellite and Ansible Automation Platform.
- Security and compliance: RHEL can be configured to help meet consistent IT security standards for a given environment, and can be modified to meet security standards such as CIS, DISA STIG, PCI and FIPS. Tools such as Satellite and Ansible Automation Platform can greatly assist with monitoring and enforcing compliance of RHEL instances.
- Management and orchestration: Managing operating system and application configurations helps verify the health of instances across environments. Tools such as Ansible Automation Platform and Satellite can help with these sorts of management and orchestration tasks.
- Continuous integration: Following these best practices simplifies the process of creating a continuous integration pipeline.
Take the customer infrastructure journey with Red Hat
Red Hat is here to help guide you through the journey of standardizing and modernizing your IT infrastructure. Our customer journey is made up of three phases: Foundation, Expand and Evolve.
In the foundational phase, you build out your standard operating environment tooling and processes with our experts by conducting a platform analysis to plan, architect and implement your first workloads in a pilot, whether you’re looking to upgrade, standardize or refactor workloads. At the same time, you'll set goals to train your teams and help them get started in setting the stage for your platform and automation move.
Scaling up your use of SOE processes and tools helps you grow with your environments. As you expand your use of RHEL and upgrade, standardize and refactor more workloads at scale, Ansible Automation Platform can help with your modernization efforts. Automation will help you attack higher order use cases, and expanding the use of automation allows you to better manage your organization’s IT environments. Along the way, Red Hat Insights can continuously analyze your platform to better predict risk, recommend actions and track costs so you can better manage your hybrid cloud environment.
Evolve your IT operations by using Ansible Automation Platform to explore larger automation use cases such as automating patching, compliance, event-driven automation, DevSecOps, cost-driven provisioning and more. SOE is not only related to RHEL—it also plays a key role in the deployment of containers and utilization of container orchestration tooling, such as Red Hat OpenShift.
How Red Hat can help
Red Hat Consulting helps organizations adopt SOEs through mentoring and by helping them automate their infrastructure, improving time to market and reducing errors. Our experts provide customers with comprehensive support and guidance to build and integrate platforms with both open source and proprietary technology.
With hands-on mentoring, our consultants build skills and promote independence, while also streamlining processes, aligning teams and helping to make systems and applications work together uninterrupted. Red Hat consultants communicate directly with Red Hat Support and product development organizations, and many of our consultants are also active contributors to the upstream open source communities behind Red Hat technologies. Red Hat Consulting gives you the information and skills you need to adopt Red Hat products and services.
Red Hat offers other services to help empower customers and accelerate adoption. Red Hat Technical Account Managers (TAMs) are technical advisors for customers and partners seeking help with planning and deploying their Red Hat software more successfully and with a focus on IT security requirements. A TAM is a single point of contact that works alongside you to resolve potential problems with Red Hat products and services before they occur. A TAM is both an engineer and a support expert that can advise you on technology strategy and security concerns, and also acts as an advocate for you internally at Red Hat.
Finally, Red Hat Training and Certification fuels your team’s innovation by helping you address organizational skills gaps. With a comprehensive platform curriculum, your team can build the skills for long-term success with Red Hat technologies.