Bernard Golden, a technology visionary who has been called as one of the 10 most influential people in cloud computing by Wired.com who is on the Simplilearn Advisory Board and CEO of Navica shares his thoughts on DevOps and their role in transforming businesses.
How is Cloud computing complimenting to the rising demand of DevOps?
Cloud computing has dramatically accelerated the availability of computing infrastructure. It used to take months to get a virtual machine or a server installed, but now it takes minutes. And what that means is that cloud computing exposes all the inefficiencies in the rest of the application life cycle, in developing processes and operational practices.
Usually, when a developer makes a code change, it depends on how fast he can get through various stages of processes required to get that code to production. All these things have traditionally been manual and take a long time. Now that the infrastructure is so fast to be put in place, those earlier practices are exposed as being primary bottlenecks in terms of the speed to market. Now an organization will need to figure out how to accelerate development operations practices. This is why DevOps is replacing manual practices with automated practices.
How is DevOps helping organizations on the whole?
DevOps helps both IT organizations and larger businesses. It’s an efficiency practice in IT organizations with making changes, processes much more regularized, so one doesn’t have mistakes made in configuration by manual practice. So, it’s efficient and reduces errors. From the business perspective, it helps because it enables new functionality to get into the marketplace quickly. This helps in extending offerings or responding to competition much more quickly. So, DevOps helps both the IT organization to be sharper and the overall business to be more successful.
Is DevOps best for the born-in-the-cloud businesses? Or can it catalyse the traditional businesses?
DevOps can be used by both born-in-the cloud businesses and traditional businesses. It’s a set of practices that can be applied in any kind of IT setting. But I must add that the line between born-in-the-cloud businesses and traditional businesses is quite blurry, as traditional businesses today need to be much more like born-in-the-cloud businesses. For example, Capital One, a U.S based bank works a lot with credit card transactions and they have really adopted born-in-the-cloud business practices. They have heavily invested towards cloud computing and are offering new services through Amazon Echo. This makes them looks a lot like a born-in-the-cloud business. So, the line between traditional businesses and born-in-the-cloud businesses is actually much blurrier than one might anticipate. And DevOps is appropriate whether you are deploying applications out in a cloud environment or if you are deploying an internal data center. It’s really about how you manage your development processes and operational practices no matter what the center is.
In your opinion, what are the typical challenges IT organizations experience in moving to cloud?
One typical challenge is that organizations think of a cloud environment like outsourced infrastructure and bring traditional architectures and practices to the cloud environment. Though there are servers in the cloud, it operates on a different paradigm. It’s designed to be agile, help in scaling up and down quickly, and can be automated. When we use the same practices that are appropriate for a world where everything was done manually, you are not taking full advantage of the cloud computing capabilities.
The second issue is that many organizations find it challenging to taking on the opportunities for innovation that cloud computing offers. When resources are available, you only pay for what you use, and start launching things much more rapidly while you experiment. You can shut things down if they don’t work. You start to envision new uses and that’s a challenge that many IT organizations have as they don’t have the vision to take on the opportunities for new offerings and innovation.
The third challenge comes when you start to modify the way you operate and think about the opportunities differently. You need to make sure that your organization is up to speed in terms of using those cloud technologies and that means employees need to be skilled and have hands-on knowledge. Organizations have faced this with the rise of personal computer and the shift to the internet, and this is a new environment that they have to get used to, build skills and so forth.
What are the key reasons that digital enterprises make cloud computing a critical foundation for next-gen apps?
Cloud computing makes resources available within minutes and even seconds. It’s highly scalable, so you could build an application and get ten times the user base. If you need ten times the data that you envisioned, it’s not a problem as the pricing model is pay-for-what-you-use. Experimentation and rapid changes sort of enables innovation so those kinds of capabilities are the basis of the offerings of digital enterprises. So, going back to that example I used about Echo, when Capital One launched it, they didn’t know if a hundred people would use it or a hundred thousand. And, if they use the traditional model, that would have been a real problem because of the number of servers you buy. With cloud computing, you scale the resources according to the load. So, a firm like Capital One can launch a new offering confidently and no matter how it goes, they will be able to respond to customer demand.
What are the ways in which you are contributing to the enhancement of the cloud curriculum in Simplilearn?
I believe that skill based employment will be the way of hiring in future, with demand for re-skilling increasing. With Simplilearn, I have been working a lot on their curriculum to make sure that we cover more than six certifications in emerging areas in cloud computing. Innovation in cloud computing is quite rapid and they are way ahead in the market when it comes to certification processes. I have worked with Simplilearn to map out what the curriculum for the cloud category, including their Devops course. Given Simplilearn is increasing focus on the enterprise training segment, I help them understand the enterprise market place and help them more effectively tune their offering for this market.
What are the key technologies Simplilearn has adopted to increase its mass appeal?
One of best things about Simplilearn is that the training is available online through its blended learning model. Students can pick courses on their own or they can attend a course delivered by an expert. Students are not tied to a physical location or a particular place, and that gives lot of flexibility. Simplilearn has adopted internet technologies and has built labs around course assignments so that individuals can apply what they have learnt which is very important to reinforce. The use of video and other kind of course elements like quizzes, practice tests help professionals adapt or learn technologies better. So, they are equipped with a set of internet capabilities and videos laboratories that helps in improving a student’s learning of technical matters.