Solve the DevOps Challenge with Orchestrated IT
The trend toward greater collaboration between development and operations pays off
The DevOps movement is a push from the modern software industry to inspire better interaction and productivity between development (dev) and IT operations (ops). Applications are at the heart of DevOps, as each is vital to how businesses meet their requirements. Improving communications and integrating processes between these long-divided groups is a goal the entire IT industry should be working toward. This is particularly urgent because the delivery speed software requires is always increasing and, at the same time, the tolerance for application errors is decreasing.
The rise of new development methodologies—including Agile, Scrum and Kanban—has allowed developers to boost their productivity and meet these changing business requirements. But these methods have their own impacts on the overall process. Challenges still remain around how demand for application functionality and updates are managed within the business, and how this new development work is deployed into production.
These junctions—where requirements meet developers meet operations—are where hand offs are fumbled, often resulting in delays and added costs.
Barriers to DevOps
The first barrier organizations often face when working toward a cooperative DevOps environment stems from the traditional business versus IT mentality. A few organizations have business leadership that doesn’t appreciate the business value of IT, but generally, IT is no longer viewed as a mystic and arcane practice in the back office. As a result, understanding is growing around how to maximize technology to increase business agility, revenue and profits.
From an IT perspective, development is the driver of new business value, while operations is the steward of running the business. Operations must deliver high availability while simultaneously making the changes to the production environment that the business requires for agility, revenue and profit. At the same time, IT professionals have had to learn how to express themselves in business terms and how to think through business requirements in more detail. As IT and business begin to speak the same language, they bridge this gap.
The second barrier to overcome is the hand offs between different stages of the development and delivery of application releases. While many businesses have invested in automating their development, few have the ability to smoothly connect the critical components of the application lifecycle in order to bridge the gap between application development and IT operations. Delivering applications successfully requires organizations to marry the creation of better apps with improved processes to put them into the hands of users.
As teams grow and face larger volumes of software, siloed paper-based practices for the management of each stage of development and operations are evolving into more automated and interconnected processes. This orchestrated approach to application development does not mean throwing out all of the existing tools and solutions; instead companies should integrate what they already have.
This leads into the third problem customers struggle with: manual processes. This is the greatest challenge, as developers typically focus on how applications can streamline their business services while not taking sufficient advantage of automation themselves.
Release management is a prime example: Instead of automating the process and release tasks so that each lovingly crafted application is deployed properly, companies too often rely on manual deployments or scripts that are manually updated each time, or both. In any case, time and effort are wasted in the release process, and increased potential for errors and botched deployments results. Application lifecycle-management processes and best practices in release management must be considered as integral to the entire process. Working together, release management and service management can further help DevOps.
Tracking and improving visibility into these and other key performance indicators is essential for any development organization.