Last week we released a new version of Talos (v1.3) and I would like to provide you with an overview of the new features available in this new version, as well as, a sneak peek of our roadmap for the next couple of months.

However, before jumping into the new features of v1.3, I have to share with you some very exciting news we received last week: Talos has been shortlisted for DevOps Solution of the Year by the TechXLR8 awards. The TechXLR8 awards offer a platform to celebrate outstanding contributions in converging areas of technology and we are pleased to be shortlisted on this category alongside Chef and Cognizant. The awards ceremony will take place on June 14th in London.

Additionally, as part of the TechXLR8 week, we will be exhibiting at Cloud and DevOps World from 13th to 15th of June. Feel free to meet us there so we can have a chat about Cloud, DevOps and, obviously, Talos.
We are giving you a chance to win a premium pass to all the TechXLR events. For a chance to win, just submit an entry in our Cloud and DevOps Journey survey: http://survey.avnet.com/s3/UK-2017-London-TechXLR8-Quiz

Well, let me share with you the most exciting new features of Talos version 1.3:

  • Support of consumption licensing model: On top of the already existing subscription licensing, we now also provide the option of purchasing Talos with a consumption licensing model. For now, there are two options for consumption licensing model: daily or monthly. In both options, Talos will count the number of maximum middleware instances your Talos server hosts per day or month. This will create a report that will need to be sent to us every month using an online service or a web page created for this purpose, in case your Talos server does not have Internet connectivity. This licensing model provides you with more options in the way you can purchase and use Talos, being perfect for evaluation periods or to use Talos for specific projects, around cloud migrations or middleware platform updates. Also, this new consumption licensing model takes us a step closer to providing Talos as a service.
  • Template transformation: This is a cool feature we really wanted to provide with Talos. This feature allows you to transform one Talos template from one technology to another. For instance, from traditional IBM WebSphere Application Server to IBM Liberty or JBoss Application Server. With this feature you can transform your existing templates – which include your middleware configurations – to different technologies, allowing you to easily move your applications and configurations between different technologies. This is ideal for a variety of use cases like:
    • Application migrations between technologies
    • Scenarios in which your development environments use one lightweight and easy-to-use platform like Liberty but the rest of your Software Development Lifecycle uses a more complete and robust platform like traditional WAS.

At the core of the template transformation feature are transformation dictionaries. These are simple xml files providing the rules to migrate the different configuration types from the source technology to the target technology. On v1.3, Talos includes the transformation dictionary to allow WAS templates to be transformed on Liberty templates. We will continue adding new transformation dictionaries in the next few months and we can also quickly respond to client requests.

  • Enhancements to Middleware Instance compare feature:  As part of v1.3 we provide some exciting enhancements to the Middleware Instance compare feature.
    • On v1.3, besides comparing configurations of two middleware instances, you can also compare configurations of a middleware instance with some pre-defined configuration data, which we call comparison templates.
      The main driver to release this feature was to provide the ability to compare middleware instance configurations with the representation of an empty environment. So, for instance, the WAS toolkit now includes a representation of a WAS default (empty) cell, which allows you to compare your existing WAS cells with an empty cell, providing the ability to see which configurations were added or changed, and identify them to be included in a template. These pre-defined configurations are easily customised by the client. By adding your own comparison templates, you can compare your middleware instances with a WAS cell containing some organisation’s default configurations, as security settings.
    • Another enhancement of the Middleware Instance compare feature is the ability to create templates directly from comparison results. This allows you to, directly from the comparison screen, create a template that includes all different configurations of one middleware instance in comparison with a second instance or a comparison template, like an empty WAS cell. The creation of a template directly from the comparison results even creates the required template variables for values that are different between the two middleware instances.
    • One main use case for this feature is to use it together with a comparison template, as explained above. With these two features together you can compare an existing WAS middleware instance configuration with a default WAS cell and directly, with a single mouse click, create a template which includes all added or changed configurations. That template will then allow you to easily apply those configurations on other environments and replicate your existing WAS middleware instance.
    • The other enhancement now available on the middleware instance compare feature is the ability to ignore certain configuration types in the comparison process, allowing you to skip the comparison of configurations that you already know that are different and simplifying the process for huge middleware instances or complex comparison processes.
  • Enhancements to IBM Liberty toolkit: With Talos v1.3, we are also shipping several enhancements to IBM Liberty toolkit such as:
    • Support of new versions
    • Ability to add and remove features
    • Ability to manage SDK
    • Support to patch Archive installations
    • Single activities for both installation modes (IBM Installation Manager and Archive).

These features mentioned above, in conjunction with other very cool features already released in the last few months, (Docker integration support; ability to order templates with impact on orchestration engines processes; templates locking; and support to WAS 9), provides improvements in the way you work with Talos and expands the integration with third-parties. We are already working on raising the bar even further. These are some of the new features and integrations you can expect to be available in the next few months:

  • Release of new toolkits for technologies like Magento and WebLogic Server
  • Provide integration with Microsoft Azure
  • Expand the support template translation to other toolkits
  • Add support for Jenkins Pipeline
  • Provide Talos as a service on single-tenant images hosted on major cloud providers
  • Add audit feature to store information about actions like changes to templates and execution of activities.

As always, we would like to hear your feedback regarding the new features and also the features I just shared.  Feel free to reach us by sending me an email, use the Get in touch form, or approach us at the Cloud and DevOps World from 13rd to 15th of June.

About the Author Sérgio Imperial

Sérgio Imperial is a senior tecnical consultant mainly specialized in IBM solutions for more than 10 years. For the last 5 years, Sérgio has been focused in the DevOps and Automation spaces. He has been helping enterprises in streamline their software development lifecycle leveraging a wide range of tools and technologies. Currently, Sérgio is Lead Software Architect for Talos, Avnet's Middleware Automation software.

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