To operate uniFLOW Online smoothly the combined efforts of all NT-ware departments is necessary. However, at the center of our service delivery is NT-ware Operations, a global team dedicated to monitoring and managing uniFLOW Online.
Who are we?
NT-ware Operations is a global group of people responsible for the smooth running of uniFLOW Online. We have team members in Europe, the APAC region and USA including support specialists, Azure infrastructure specialists and developers (Dev Ops), amongst others, carrying out a wide range of activities both proactive and reactive. Additionally, this team is responsible for building, maintaining and expanding the infrastructure which supports uniFLOW Online.
What do we do?
uniFLOW Online is monitored 24/7 by industry-leading tools provided on the Azure platform itself and log analytics engine Elastic. NT-ware Operations uses these tools, together with other monitoring systems to aggregate data and conduct analysis to diagnose, dissect and pre-empt situations, allowing a fast reaction to alerts and providing quality feedback into our 'development and improvement lifecycle'.
Responsibilities of the NT-ware Operations team go well beyond the monitoring of uniFLOW Online. The team is tasked with all deployment-based activities for uniFLOW Online as-a-service and the supporting Microsoft Azure infrastructure. We work directly with other NT-ware departments acting as an escalation point for issues raised by Support and Development and Architecture teams to ensure the growth of uniFLOW Online.
With such a large group spread across the globe, we leverage industry-leading tools to support our communication, ticketing and incident management and documentations needs. These systems must be very secure and provide high availability. To achieve this, NT-ware uses Microsoft Teams and other Microsoft communication platforms to maximum advantage. Supporting our ticketing and documentation requirements, NT-ware utilizes Atlassian Jira Software and Confluence in the cloud.
How do we handle incidents?
No one wants to see an incident occur but it will happen so how quickly we respond and learn from them is key. The NT-ware Operations team is responsible for all incident management and follows a defined incident response process. This is built on industry best practices and many years of field support experience:
More information on our Security Incident Management.
What is our development and improvement lifecycle?
Developing a service to the scale of uniFLOW Online is a big undertaking. Before we even deploy new features and improvements they are subjected to rigorous internal testing. The development and improvement lifecycle are built into our Jira development pipeline with checks at every critical stage. The NT-ware Operations team follows the product lifecycle to ensure monitoring and performance metrics are fed back into the ‘continues development’ process.
NT-ware Development follows processes of Feature Driven Development (FDD) in four phases which allows teams to update the project regularly and identify errors and potential problems quickly.
The four phases can be described as:
Safe deployment practices
NT-ware deploys updates to the service through a process which some organizations refer to as the ‘Ring’ deployment approach. The general idea is simple; a given release should be disclosed initially to only to a small group of users with the highest tolerance for risk. Then, if the release is working as expected, it can be released to a broader group of users. If it is still on track, the process can continue on to broader groups of users or in stages. The following stages form part of our development process:
uniFLOW Online deployment updates/ upgrades
uniFLOW Online deployment updates/ upgrades are carried out without any downtime or impact on customers and end users. Microsoft Azure provides the possibility to deploy within a staging slot, next to the production slot, for the services and components uniFLOW Online is utilizing. This includes the uniFLOW Online application and configuration elements. Having everything ready within the staging slot ensures that all functionalities and scaling are all available before being transferred to production. Traffic redirection is seamless, and no requests are lost during the transfer operation.