The DevOps Disruption

Welcome to the application economy, where organizations need to roll out apps with the shortest possible lead time. How does one do it? The answer lies in DevOps

DevOps. This is the hottest tech term in town now. Enterprise computing is at the center of a major disruption and a nexus of forces are ushering in significant changes and separating leaders from laggards. The leaders obviously are the early movers of tech and have already started reaping in the harvest. In the past we have seen major disruptions like cloud to big data – that has opened up a new premise in solving business problems by using a new style of IT.

In that order, as we look at the last few months, one of the trends that is getting heightened momentum is DevOps. Lets try and decode what exactly is DevOps and why it will play a significant role in shaping enterprise IT in the days ahead.

Why DevOps? 

Today its an ‘apps’ centric world. Enterprise IT organizations need to build elastic and agile IT infrastructure so that they can satisfy the demanding stakeholder SLAs- that is, enabling IT to achieve business objectives and positively impact organization productivity and higher bottom-line.

Reflecting on this a Forrester Research on DevOps said, “ Organizations have for years sought a means of more quickly delivering business value in the form of working software. Inspired by innovations in agile software development and the application of the lean principles of continuous improvement, development and operations have been chipping away the obstacles that have prevented faster delivery. Joining together, the movement, called DevOps has been gaining momentum and achieving impressive results.”

Industry experts aver that the walls between development, operations, and the business are coming down, ushering in a new age of collaboration that, in leading organizations, is already proving itself in delivering real business value faster and more frequently.

DevOps is not a technology per se. It’s a combination of best processes, policies and technologies that makes for agile parallel development that enables high quality software delivery. As some analysts like Gartner puts it, “One specific focus of DevOps for some IT organizations is the shift towards configuration as code. In this context, DevOps borrows from the fact that as developers’ code applications with business logic, the infrastructure can be coded via configuration logic or directives.”

Quips Ashok Vasan, Vice President, Application Delivery, Asia Pacific & Japan, CA Technologies, “ DevOps helps build manageable, reliable, scalable apps faster and deploy to production with less effort and fewer errors. At the same time it assures good business user and customer experience.”

Companies like CA Technologies believe that DevOps makes for shared responsibilities, metrics and goals that are business driven. Moreover it enables to capture and convert tribal knowledge, constant collaboration and feedback. And the best part is one can learn from failure, trust in each other, technology and process.”

Agrees Amy DeMartine, Senior Analyst serving Infrastructure & Operations professionals, Forrester Research. She says, “ DevOps concisely captures an organizational philosophy already employed. DevOps is not so much a destination- its a journey, a kind of fitness program that can help you transform your business into a world-class competitor. Like any fitness program, it will be difficult and, at times, painful. The end result, however, is a lean, nimble, and muscular technology management organization that will allow your business to vanquish its foes.”

OVERCOMING CHALLENGES

DevOps is not a technology. It’s a practice. So a lot of factors and actors need to come together to make a value chain. It’s a symphony orchestra, where each member of the ensemble has a specific role to play. And its easier said than done and it has many challenges.

Adds Kurt Bittner, Principal Analyst serving application development & delivery professionals, Forrester research, “Dev and Ops often sit on opposing sides of a great divide, separated by a gulf of misunderstanding. Without good interpersonal harmony, your business cannot adapt to the changes in the competitive landscape. As long as these stereotypes continue to exist, they will remain a barrier that will prevent you from achieving greatness.”

The reality is that neither Dev nor Ops really understands what the other does, and what they don’t understand, they can’t respect. Reflecting on this Kurt Bittner says, “ Therefore, your first step as a leader is to broker some ‘relationship counseling’. Just getting Dev and Ops talking can be a good start, but it’s not going to be pleasant, at least at first. The best place to start is with a shared mission. Today, Dev is rewarded for delivering code into testing environments, while Ops is rewarded for keeping apps running with acceptable performance and security.”

Road Ahead

The road to DevOps has already begun for some and many others will be a part of it this year. Enterprises are recognizing that DevOps will enable them to develop faster, better quality applications, and more importantly, better align with their overall business objectives. As Ashok Vasan says, “ We believe that while 2014 was the year DevOps gained widespread recognition, 2015 will be the year where DevOps will take center stage and enterprises will take necessary measures to make it a pivotal part of their strategic business objectives. “

The Need for DevOps 

  • Ushers in more business value and better alignment of IT
  • Makes software development collaborative and breaks down silos
  • Brings in the ability to address the demands of Application Economy
  • Ushers in a elastic and agile software enabled IT infrastructure

Dev and Ops often sit on opposing sides of a great divide, separated by a gulf of misunderstanding. Without good interpersonal harmony, your business cannot adapt to the changes in the competitive landscape.” – Kurt Bittner, Principal Analyst Forrester Research 

“DevOps is not so much a destination as a journey, a kind of fitness program that can help you transform your business into a world-class competitor. Like any fitness program, it will be difficult and, at times, painful” – Amy DeMartine, Senior Analyst , Forrester Research

“ The DevOps movement is the result of customers increasingly asking for programmable IT infrastructure’ – Sajan Paul Director – Systems Engineering – India & SAARC, Juniper Networks