We live in a world of epic technological change! Over the past 5 years we’ve experienced an amazing confluence of emerging and disruptive technologies in the area of mobile, cloud, and collaboration. While all of this change is great for businesses and customers, new digital technologies are also creating unforeseen challenges for IT the world over. With the demand for instant software updates and real-time communications, IT shops have had to change their operations paradigm. It used to be that software release cycles would take upwards of 18-24 months or more. But with the innovations spurred on by the consumerization of IT and heightened customer demands, companies today are hard-pressed to get applications out the door as fast as possible.
IT has lead the charge in adopting quicker and more agile frameworks for managing software upgrades. Now the cycle for creating novel software apps from “soup to nuts” is about 3 months for an initial version and upwards of 6 months for the full feature set. And not only has the lifecycle shortened but apps have become much more complex and require cross-collaboration and integration between various IT constituents, such as Operations, Development, and Q&A in ways previously unimagined. The result has been a new discipline known as DevOps.
So the obvious question to ask is this: “How is your organization leveraging DevOps today?” When it comes to your IT infrastructure, what are you doing to ensure faster production cycle times, more efficient workflows, and better cost savings and revenue generation? With these questions in mind, let’s look at the most important things to know about DevOps right now.
DevOps is a Paradigm-Shifting Approach to Software Builds
DevOps encompasses a whole mindshift in the approach to rolling out software releases (someone has aptly called attention to DevOps as “Just the (Necessary) Consumerization of Software Development”) and is as much a cultural shift as it’s a technological one. DevOps is about excellent customer service, cost savings, and increased efficiency. But it’s also just as much about different business units being agile, adaptable, and flexible enough to work together to produce excellent products and services. DevOps is best summed up as a new way for people, process, and technology to work together in organic harmony.
DevOps is a Cultural Shift
DevOps is also about effective collaboration and communication across the organization. All of this gets at the importance of culture and cultural practices. Old habits die hard and if your organization is steeped in long-standing, traditional enterprise approaches to software development, then moving the needle on efficiency will obviously take longer.
As one source has well said, “You can’t directly change culture. But you can change behavior, and behavior becomes culture.” Start by creating an environment in which innovation and brainstorming are welcomed practices. Reward people for their ideas. Host a monthly innovation contest by providing a free lunch or $50 gift certificate to whoever finds the best solution to a manual, time-consuming process.
DevOps is all about Automation
The benefit of automating the testing and deployment process hardly needs explanation. With just a few clicks a continuous integration tool will run a series of unit tests, deploy the code to a new server, and then carry out a series of integration tests. The obvious takeaway is that continuous integration automation reduces cost and increases efficiency so that developers can spend their time writing code instead of tracking and fixing bugs.
Developing the ability to automate an organization’s infrastructure may seem like the most daunting of tasks, and it’s at this point that companies usually become their own worst enemy. However, there are a significant number of automation tools on the market now that can help make your build, test, monitoring, and deployment process efficient and effective. A tool like Monitis can give your organization a jump start on your DevOps strategy by providing continual performance, testing, and monitoring updates for your infrastructure.
DevOps is the First Step to Web-Scale IT
Gartner is predicting Web-scale IT as one of the Top 10 strategic trends for 2015. Web-scale IT is defined as “a pattern of global-class computing that delivers the capabilities of large cloud service providers within an enterprise IT setting. More organizations will begin thinking, acting and building applications and infrastructure like Web giants such as Amazon, Google and Facebook.” Gartner also goes on to mention that DevOps is integral to this process and represents the first step for many organizations to scale up their operations “to drive rapid, continuous incremental development of applications and services.”
DevOps takes Time
There is no quick fix solution to creating a DevOps environment; it takes time to get key stakeholders onboard and to change policies, attitudes, and practices. Be persistent though and the dividends will pay off!
DevOps is an epic transformation in the world of IT that’s creating a host of new opportunities for businesses to become more agile and efficient in the delivery of their products and services. If followed through, DevOps adoption can dramatically save your organization significant amounts of time and money while boosting efficiency at all levels. The DevOps train is leaving the station, but it’s not too late to get onboard. Get started today to see the differences DevOps can make in the level and quality of your business practices.