Eric D. Schabell: Portfolio Architecture Examples - Automation Collection

Tuesday, April 5, 2022

Portfolio Architecture Examples - Automation Collection

Figure 1: The portfolio architecture process
For a few years now we've been working on a project we have named Portfolio Architectures. These are based on selecting a specific use case we are seeing used in the real world by customers and then finding implementations of that case using three or more products from the Red Hat portfolio.

This basic premise is used as the foundation, but many aspects of open source are included in both the process and the final product we have defined. There is a community, where we share the initial project kickoff with a group of architects and use their initial feedback from the start. We also present the architecture product we've created right at the end before we publish to ensure usability by architects in the field. The final publish product includes some internal only content around the customer projects researched, but most of the content is open and freely available through various open source channels. 

This article is sharing an overview of the product we've developed, what's available to you today in our architecture center, and concludes by sharing a collection of architectures we've published.


The basis of a portfolio architecture is a use case, two to three actual implementations that can be researched, and includes the use of a minimum of three products. This is the ideal foundation for a project to start, but we encountered a problem with use cases containing emerging technologies or emerging domains in the market. To account for these we've chosen to note the fact that these are opinionated architectures based on internal reference architectures. 

The product has been defined as complete for publishing when it contains the following content:

  • Short use case definition
  • Diagrams - logical, schematic (physical), and detail diagrams
  • Public slide deck containing the use case story and architecture diagrams
  • Internal slide deck containing both the public deck content and the confidential customer research
  • Video (short) explanation of the architecture
  • Either a technical brief document or one or more articles covering the solution architecture

Note that the items in italics are all available to anyone  in the Red Hat Portfolio Architecture Center or in the Portfolio Architecture Examples repository.

Figure 2: Logical diagram design template
Tooling and workshops

The progress towards our products required a good idea of how we wanted to diagram our architectures. We chose to keep them very generic and simple in style to facilitate all levels of conversation around a particular use case without getting bogged down in notational discussions. 

A simple three level design for our architectures was captured by using logical, schematic, and detail diagrams. All of these have been integrated in open source tooling with pre-defined templates and icons for easily getting started. Furthermore, we've developed a tooling workshop to quickly ramp up on the design methods and tooling we've made available. It's called Designing Your Best Architectural Diagrams, has been featured in several conferences around the world.

Automation collection

The collection featured today is centered around automation architectures. There are currently six architectures in this collection and we'll provide a short overview of each, leaving the in depth exploration as an exercise for the reader.

automation collection
Figure 3: Automation architecture collection

In each of these architecture overviews you'll find a table of contents outlining the technologies used, several example schematic diagrams with descriptions, and a link in the last section to open the diagrams directly into the online tooling in your browser.

Cloud adoption

As enterprises adapt to public and/or private clouds, it is important to provide automation to manage and scale server deployments and to provide the capability to transition servers between data centers and cloud providers. This provides flexibility and portability.

cloud adoption

The use case is accelerating cloud adoption with effective automation for deploying and managing workloads across multiple cloud infrastructures according to performance, security, compliance, and cost requirements.

Cloud factory

Instead of buying a cloud, large enterprises want a cloud factory, being able to deploy and manage the cloud in a modern and automated manner. This architecture covers deploying in an automated manner multiple instances of an OpenStack and Ceph based cloud, following the principles of Infrastructure as Code.

cloud factory

The use case is deploying multiple private clouds based on the same (infrastructure as) code using different parametrisation.

Near zero downtime maintenance for SAP

This architecture covers Near Zero Downtime Maintenance for RHEL servers hosting SAP workloads. SAP workloads are critical in the company and the maintenance windows are very strict, sometimes making it difficult for the system administrators to finish the update tasks properly in time. This solution allows for application of OS patches, fixes, updates, DB patches and new versions and SAP kernel updates while users can continue to work inside SAP, not perceiving any disruption.

near zero downtime maintenance for SAP

The use case is minimising the downtime of the maintenance on SAP hosts so that users and processes can continue to work without perceiving any interruption.

Remote server management

This architecture covers remote server management. As more and more enterprises are deployed across different data centers and public and/or private clouds, it is important to provide consistency and security in an automated way across all of the servers in order to reduce risk and costs.

remote server management

The use case is providing remote management for a consistant server estate across hybrid cloud and data centers with remote management, security, and data protection for full lifecycle.

Self-healing infrastructure

Modern application infrastructure has, in many ways, gotten more complex as it has become more powerful and easy to consume. Keeping that infrastructure safe and compliant is a challenge for many organizations. One of the most powerful approaches to infrastructure management today is the combination of using historical data-driven insights, and automation tools for applying remediation across a scaling estate of hosts in a targeted and prioritised manner.

self-healing infrastructure

The use case is managing security, policy and patches for a large number of servers in data centers or public/private clouds.

Smart management for SAP

This architecture covers Smart Management for RHEL servers hosting SAP workloads. SAP landscapes are usually very complex with a high number of servers and lots of dependencies. Besides, SAP workloads are really performance demanding and new recommendations need to be applied whenever a new release of the OS or the workload is certified. Maintaining all the servers in these landscapes aligned and up to date with the latest recommendations can be really challenging. On the other hand, being such critical systems the need to prevent potential issues is of the utmost importance. The combination of Red Hat Insights with all its SAP specific rules to detect potential problems, Red Hat Automation Platform to remediate them before they occur and Red Hat Satellite to manage the servers' lifecycle is a very powerful and robust tool to make sure that the SAP workloads will be healthy and operate smooth and performantly.

smart management for SAP

The use case is managing security, policy and patches for all the servers in the SAP ecosystem (on-premise, public, private and hybrid cloud), making sure they are compliant with SAP and Red Hat’s recommendations through their entire lifecycle.

If you are interested in more architecture solutions like these, feel free to explore the Portfolio Architecture Examples repository. More architecture collections include:

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