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Armory: Now, and What’s Next

Mar 3, 2017 by Isaac Mosquera

Now: Armory’s Focus & Priorities

It’s still early days for both Spinnaker and Armory. After speaking in-depth to developers and engineering leaders at over 137 Global 2,000 enterprises, we found a consistent desire to use Spinnaker, but a wariness around supporting and operating it. During one of these surveys, a prominent Fortune 100 company told us that “We evaluated Spinnaker six months ago, there is no other tool in the market that is as good as Spinnaker, but we had to disqualify it because it lacks commercial support”. To help, we’re focusing Armory on getting customers up and running with Spinnaker, and helping them gain adoption across their application teams.

This initial focus is less about ‘new features’ and more about ‘how to communicate with, educate and support larger enterprises’ that have competing internal motivations and priorities across their teams. Large enterprises already interested in Spinnaker are resource constrained while still having to meet exceedingly aggressive goals set by the business. Engineering leaders want to enable application teams to be fully self-service when it comes to deployments and are looking for our help to accomplish their goals with shortened deadlines. We strongly believe that Spinnaker is the best way to enable that vision for enterprise teams, but it’s non-trivial to stand-up and operate Spinnaker in production. The deluge of configuration options and settings just within AWS and Spinnaker can be overwhelming, and enterprises want access to dedicated, paid, enterprise-level support, with SLAs, defined support levels and response times.

Since Armory is a young company with limited resources, we must focus where we can add the most immediate value, based on our goals. Our primary objective is to operationalize Spinnaker within as many Global 2,000 companies as possible, so they can leverage Spinnaker to achieve their business goals with more confidence, safety and velocity. This means our initial focus must be on serving the immediate needs of our customers. And that means in the short-term Armory will have less ability to provide code contributions to the open source community. However, Armory is helping bring new passionate Spinnaker users into the community, and these Armory customers are also interested in contributing back to the open source project, which we greatly encourage.

We’ve also found that the best way to evangelize others to use Spinnaker is to bring the community together and celebrate its successes. You’ll continue to see us prioritize bringing together the current users of Spinnaker, people curious about Spinnaker, the developers of Spinnaker and media interested in learning about the Spinnaker trend, through unique events. Our agenda for these kinds of gatherings is to enable communication, question answering, and knowledge sharing across these groups.

Next: How Armory’s Focus & Priorities Evolve

Ultimately, our passion is to make Spinnaker as feature rich as possible. We believe that in order for Spinnaker to succeed, it must keep pace as an abstraction layer with the rapid innovation happening in the underlying cloud providers. New features like serverless, managed container services, and stateful databases are being created by cloud providers at an epic pace. The health and size of the Spinnaker community is vital to the long-term success of Spinnaker.

As we continue to show success with customers, we will grow our resources and turn to contributing new open source code for the community in addition to proprietary enterprise features. The challenge in unifying a deployment pipeline is massive. Engineers want freedom to pursue their desired deployment style, and finding a single solution that fits everyone’s needs isn’t trivial. In order to accomplish that goal we intend to stay close to customers, understand their problems and ultimately code a solution together that is adopted by a majority of their engineering teams. While the motivations of each team in large organizations differs greatly, we hope to be able to open source the common patterns we see across teams and companies to benefit the overall community.

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