The Armory Manifesto

Software is the highest-leverage way to improve humanity

Which also makes software the highest-leverage way to unlock enterprise value for companies.

Armory helps software teams ship better software, faster.

We have a high leverage opportunity:

  • Software makes human lives better. It's the highest leverage way to improve humans' quality of life, happiness, and effectiveness [1].
  • Netflix and Google have codified the best-practices that put their software delivery sophistication a decade ahead of most other companies. That codification is through OSS Spinnaker, the continuous delivery workflow orchestration tool that powers the Open Core of Armory's Platform.
  • Our Platform helps software teams build better software and have more impact.

Armory's Platform automates software delivery. This makes engineers happy and productive.

Developers are unproductive and unhappy when:

  • Repeatedly woken up at 2 am to fix applications failing in production.
  • Their pull requests sit un-merged for days or weeks.
  • They need layers of approval to get their code into production.
  • They work on low impact features/products that suck up a lot of time.
  • They are given little to no network access, and expected to solve bugs.
  • There is no transparency into how their work impacts the company.

We're in an exploding market:

  • The move from data centers to public clouds is the biggest single shift in computing we’ve ever seen [2]. In order for large spenders of IT to adopt public clouds, they need to first containerize their workloads, and in order to do that, they need a sophisticated orchestration and deployment management platform that can migrate workloads from current production environments to the ones they aspire to use, like Kubernetes.
  • Armory is building the Platform that enables companies to successfully make that shift, with a tactical focus on accelerating deployment velocity through automation, safety and transparency, and a strategic focus on driving developer happiness and efficiency, enabling companies to innovate faster and leverage multiple clouds in an optimized way.

Armory makes developers more productive.
Productive developers are happier.
Happier developers create impactful software.

Our approach to the market:

  • Every decision each of us at Armory makes -- from strategic decisions, to product feature prioritization, to daily execution -- is made with a focus on improving the impactfulness of developers working in our customers' software teams.
  • Our automated software delivery Platform accelerates deployment velocity so software teams can ship better software, faster, enabling our customers to unlock enterprise value and innovate faster.
  • Efficient and effective output is at the core of happiness for software engineers. The happier and more productive we can make developers through our Platform, the more impactful they can be in their jobs, and the more successfully our customers will be able to innovate.

Armory's Platform as a Service (PaaS) Approach

Want to go deeper?
Watch our CEO's 35 minute video detailing Armory's Platform Roadmap.

We're building a platform that makes developers happier and more productive so they can create more impactful software. It's comprised of four layers. Each layer builds off the one underneath it:

  • The Open Core layer provides the software delivery tooling a company needs to get to Stage 3 in our Software Evolution chart. The Core is open-source, and incorporates a suite of best-in-class developer tooling, such as:
    • Spinnaker for Continuous Delivery: Spinnaker was created and open-sourced by Netflix and Google. Spinnaker is a multi cloud-native software continuous delivery & infrastructure management tool for deploying safely & continuously to AWS, EKS, GCP, Kubernetes, Azure, OpenStack, DC/OS, Oracle's BMC & others. Importantly, Spinnaker deploys infrastructure, not applications -- aka immutable deployments.
    • Integrations into Jenkins, Travis and Circle CI for Continuous Integration.
    • Vault or Cerberus for Secrets
    • Consul or similar for Properties Management and Service Discovery
  • The Integrate layer connects the developer tooling your company is likely already using today -- services like Github, Jira, Datadog, New Relic, Locust and many others. Integrating this tooling into Armory's Platform enables you to get net new value from the tools you're already using, like our Jira Stage integration into the Core.
  • The Understand layer helps software teams, managers and executives get a new level of understanding of what is slowing them down from getting to Stage 5 in our Software Evolution chart. We surface metrics these audiences have always wanted, but never had access to. Things like: Which services and teams have the highest (and lowest) number of deployments and failures? The fastest (and slowest) time to release to production? Where is the most time spent in software delivery cycle? The least (and most) unmerged pull requests? How does a company's velocity compare to its peers by industry?
  • The Optimize layer leverages the first three layers in an intelligent and automated manner that helps software teams move faster. Barometer, for example, leverages the insights from integrations with Datadog, New Relic or Elasticsearch to promote or kill the Core's canary deployments in an automated manner.

Maxims We Live By

We have three maxims we live by at Armory. You’ll hear us saying these around the office on a regular basis:

  • “Why are we building this? Do we need to build this now?” It’s our goal to build technology that solves meaningful problems for our customers. We have an experimentation culture. We retrospect internally with our tribe, and even externally with our customers. A key element of our culture is to constantly ask ourselves these two questions. It keeps us focused on delivering value to customers.
  • “The tribe is not built from 9 to 5.” A company’s culture is its operating system. As CEO, one of my four core responsibilities is to ensure the creation of a strong tribe culture. We wrote an entire blog on this topic called Work Somewhere Awesome.”
  • “One hour of talking to customers is worth 8 hours sitting in the office.” We strive to be in front of customers, listening, as often as we can. We put a premium on the learning we can get from customers, and we prioritize that time over being in the office. Our CPO Ben Mappen worked under Steve Blank, and one of his favorite sayings is “there are no facts inside the building.”

[1] Software Makes Human Lives Better

Software makes human lives better in very tangible ways. Not just a bit better, but a lot better. Some examples:

  • Automobiles: The car has been around for over 100 years. But each year, 1.25 million people die in car accidents -- that's a human life every 25 seconds. In the past few years, software has started driving cars, and they are literally orders of magnitude safer than human-driven cars. It's likely that future generations will find it incomprehensible that humans used to slaughter each other on roadways when software can do the job so much better. Additionally, software-first companies like Uber, Lyft, Turo and Getaround are re-defining the very essence of car ownership by turning cars into an on-demand commodity.

  • Retail: The customer relationship is being wrestled away from brick & mortar retailers by software-first platforms. Shopping via Instacart, Google Shopping Express, or Amazon renders the retailers solely as distribution centers to fulfill the user's software experience. The convenience afforded by having goods and groceries show up at a consumer's front door is hard to beat.

  • Hospitality: Airbnb and other software-first hospitality companies are competing in hospitality in entirely new ways. They don't have the burden of owning and managing real estate, or the complexities (nor overhead) of the staff required to run these properties. Airbnb now has 36% more room listings than the largest hotel chain -- without owning a single hotel room.

The examples of software-first companies re-defining entire industries (and competing in new ones) is becoming obvious, and yet it's just beginning. A recent New York Times article describes "The Decline of the Baronial C.E.O." -- how companies like General Electric and Whole Foods are facing activist boards that are becoming impatient as these companies try to adjust to a software-first world.

[2] The move from data centers to public clouds is the biggest single shift in computing that we’ve ever seen.

This seismic shift is being driven by technology, and specifically, by a company's ability to re-tool its core business to leverage the additional value that can be unlocked by delivering software, faster.

This chart shows the general trend since the Industrial Age -- private companies making human life better through the output of goods and services. Things like railroads, the automobile, the airplane, container ships, refrigeration, home appliances, etc:

But in the past decade, software-first companies have shown that it's possible to unlock orders of magnitude more value via software-first approaches, across industries.

Extreme software competency is one of the reasons Tesla's market cap rivals Ford & GMs, even though it produces 1/100th as many vehicles. It's also what's driving Amazon to purchase Whole Foods. Amazon will unlock additional value in the grocery industry by applying software to the vertical.

Why Is This Sea Change Happening Now?

In the past, companies did not need a strong core competency in software to thrive. In the year 2000, the average cost of running a top web property was $150,000 per month. Outsourced technology teams and slow release cycles were driven by a focus on minimizing costs.

By 2016, that cost had dropped to $1,500/month. This 100x drop has lowered the barriers to entry, ushering in an age where anyone with an idea and the ability to write software can harness technology to solve not just business problems, but more broadly, human problems.

Software is becoming the competitive differentiator for companies that want to thrive and unlock shareholder value over the next decade. But the very first step a company must take in its journey to become software-first -- or at least competent in software -- is to be able to deploy that software to its users continuously, in the background. The best boardroom strategy becomes useless talk and no action without becoming world class at this first baby step. The leading software-first companies deploy software to their users multiple times per day, continuously in the background like running water. In contrast, the average low-performing large enterprise deploys software just once every other month, and each deployment is an 'all hands on deck' event fraught with the peril of breaking SLAs and customer trust with every deployment. The contrast between the best performers and the average performers is stark-- average high performing software-first company releases over 200x as often:

The rapid release cycles of these high performing companies provide 45x to 208x the learning opportunities of their competitors:

Companies today ship buggy software that causes downtime, breaks customer trust and breaks SLAs. Software deployments are scary for many companies. Their code velocity is painfully slow. They’re facing a new breed of software-first competitors that are playing by different rules and using software to wrestle the customer relationship away. They are having trouble staying (or becoming) compliant in a cloud-first world.

A company is now only as agile as its ability to get its code in front of customers. Gartner recommends companies evolve their software practices to optimize delivery, invest in automation and strive for increased agility.


How does this trend play out?

Over the next decade, we expect that a move to public and private clouds by the Global 2,000 will mean an abstraction of infrastructure from applications running on it (just like the creation of electricity became abstracted from our use of it 100 years ago with the invention of power grids). But the move to the cloud is just the first step — we expect to see a further abstraction of the data center from applications with technologies like Kubernetes, containerization, microservices, automation and serverless computing.

Virtual machines will commoditize the price of hardware and higher level value-add services will arise from cloud providers, like machine learning and artificial intelligence as a service. These services bundled into cloud infrastructure offerings will provide the value businesses will actually pay for. Machine learning will become commonplace and will serve as a thirsty beast to drive even more data collection demand.

A company’s ability to write, deploy and manage software will define its competitiveness not just against competitors in its industry, but also against the entry of software-first platforms playing by different rules.

[3] The Core of Armory's Platform enables companies to get to Stage 3 in our Software Evolution diagram:

As enterprises break monoliths into microservices, containerize their workloads and deploy to public, private, hybrid & multi-cloud environments, they'll need Armory's cloud-native software delivery platform, which accelerates deployment velocity through safety and automation, leading to greater developer happiness.

Armory's Core optimizes every part of the software development lifecycle, enabling sophisticated multi-cloud deployment strategies that leverage advanced features like: 1-click rollbacks, automated canaries, certified deployment pipelines, automated load testing, SLA-driven rollouts/rollbacks, red/black deployments, chaos engineering and flexible deployment pipelines. This enables organizations to deploy up to 600x more frequently. Code is released to users faster, allowing the business to innovate faster.

Stage 3 means a company is deploying immutably, with confident rollbacks and a service ownership culture.

(A PDF of this chart is available here )


Learn More:


How Companies Go Digital: We highly recommend O'Reilly's free PDF e-Book about migrating toward cloud-native technologies and practices by shifting from monolithic onsite architectures to applications designed solely to operate on cloud computing platforms. Get the highlights here.

DROdio

I'm the CEO of Armory. We help software teams ship better software faster. Learn more at http://www.Armory.io