Getting an Integration Back on Track in 90 Seconds—Cloud Style

Channels:   Software Demos, Product Development

Building integration packs often requires that partners work closely to bring their products together. However, trying to get both parties together on a schedule can be tricky. Any hiccups along the way can quickly evolve from a few hours of lost time into a seriously long delay, which equals a ton of time in lost integration work. ​

I'm going to tell you a story of how I was able to save days, if not weeks, when things went off track while creating an important integration pack.​

In this case, I was working with a partner who has a cross-platform agent we are using. I was using Linux at the time for the agent on my end—I’m more comfortable there, while my partners were more comfortable with Windows. Things were going well, and we were making progress in our difficult-to-schedule meeting, when suddenly the custom integration agent stopped working on my Linux VM. ​

The partner thought we might have broken something in the OS itself, and recommended that we adjourn for the day. They wanted to reschedule for later that week so I could set up another VM. "No worries," I tell them. "We’ll be back up in 90 seconds." To pull that off, I ran through the following steps:​

  1. Logged in to Skytap Cloud.
  2. Went to my configuration.
  3. Stopped the broken VM. (I also removed it, though you don’t have to.)
  4. Clicked the Add VMs button.
  5. Searched for my template. (Tip: Always make templates out of your working configurations—you’ll be glad you did. You can always remove them later.)
  6. In the right pane called Choose VMs to Add, I cleared everything except my replacement VM. (Tip: When adding VMs from templates, you can select any number of VMs.)
  7. Waited about 30 seconds for the VM to deploy, then hit Start.

We went from needing a VM rebuild to up and running in fewer than two minutes. Work session saved. Taking these steps not only helped to keep our meeting going, it impressed the partners that I was able to accomplish it so quickly.

The session continued smoothly for a while, when abruptly, we broke the VM again. Now the partner was able to get the agent to work on their Windows machine, but not on my Linux VMs. And they didn’t know why.

They considered rescheduling for a time when they could get someone on their end with more Linux knowledge. Again, I asked for two minutes to see if I could get us unblocked. This time, instead of pounding our heads against the wall with the Linux VM, I repeated the above steps and spun up a new Windows VM that I grabbed from another template I’d saved for a completely different project. The Windows VM in that template was already activated and ready to go, so I used it. And just like that, we had a Windows VM up and running.

We were able to work through the rest of the integration without trouble.

In this one working session, there were several different points at which we might have needed to shelve and reschedule. However, thanks to the templates I had created in Skytap Cloud, and the ability to quickly spin up new VMs inside of a configuration, we were able to work through the entire session. If we’d had to stop, we could have spent days, if not weeks, working through all of the issues.

I’ve been able use this same Skytap Cloud functionality when demos suddenly misbehave; while doing research and development work where a VM or two have died; and during training when students have messed something up and needed to start again. With proper use of templates, you can usually recover just about any environment very quickly (Tip: Save templates often; you can always remove them later).

I hope this story and my tips will come in handy some day for you as well.

As always, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to get in touch with Skytap Support or your Skytap representative.

Until next time,

Matt

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