What is DevOps, and More Importantly, Why?
Park Place: Hardware Maintenance
For those whose job function hasn’t yet overlapped with DevOps concepts, it’s a good time to catch up on what it is and why it’s attracting more followers among IT executives, developers, and personnel in operations, QA, and security.
The tech industry boasts an ever-evolving assortment of lingo and jargon. DevOps may date back to the mid-aughts, but as of 2017, one survey found it was “still considered a new phenomenon.” In 2018, that survey again uncovered some surprises—among them that 71% of DevOps practitioners remain unfamiliar with its best practices.
Clearly, many companies are still in the early stages of DevOps implementation. It’s a race to achieve the continuous deployment (CD) today’s digital transformation and rapidly evolving markets demand. As various security challenges increase, these same IT professional are being asked to manage DevSecOps almost before DevOps is truly adapted to their enterprise. That means we’ll likely be hearing more about these topics for a while yet to come.
For those whose job function hasn’t yet overlapped with DevOps concepts, it’s a good time to catch up on what it is and why it’s attracting more followers among IT executives, developers, and personnel in operations, QA, and security. After all, DevOps engineer was ranked as Indeed’s third best U.S. job last year for pay, availability, and growth, meaning it could intersect with anyone’s IT role soon. Here’s our take on the matter as a leader in infrastructure managed services.
Those who consult the trusty Gartner IT glossary will find that DevOps “represents a change in IT culture, focusing on rapid IT service delivery through the adoption of agile, lean practices in the context of a system-oriented approach.”
That’s quite a mouthful, so what does it mean? As the name indicates, DevOps is about bridging development and operations in an effort to kill off more siloes. (Those enterprise siloes are becoming endangered species, aren’t they?)
The idea is to foster collaboration among those responsible for coding, integration, testing, deployment and infrastructure. The creation of apps and software and the implementation thereof are to be unified under DevOps. When done properly, the release cycle can sometimes be slashed from months to just days.
Obviously, increased deployment frequency—and ultimately reaching continuous deployment—is the Holy Grail many organizations are chasing with DevOps, but there are often other advantages, such as:
- Lower failure rate of new releases
- Shortened lead time between fixes
- Faster mean time to recovery
- Enhanced software security
- Better application quality
- Increased ability to garner and respond to product feedback
- Improved business outcomes
DevOps can be a powerful force. The problem is that it represents a true, organization-wide transformation, requiring a new mindset and plenty of new tools.
Getting It Right
Steering a transition that requires cultural and technological shifts, not to mention a breakdown of traditional “lanes” within the business, can be difficult. In answer to the common DevOps failures identified by Techgenix, here are some tips for making it work:
- Determine the staff and resource needs by quantifying the expected workload at the team and individual levels. Be prepared to adjust from there and to use agile resourcing options, such as freelancers.
- Avoid making DevOps a formal department, as that adds red tape. DevOps is better understood as a process outside of existing departmental structures.
- Help teams deal with the panic response. When they are asked for 10 releases per week instead of one, individuals will feel the heat. Plan a phased transition that ratchets up frequency in stages, incorporating training and education along the way.
- Remain flexible. There are core DevOps principles but adjustments can be made based on internal benchmarking to suit the particular technology environment and business needs.
- Establish a management structure to oversee resources, budgets, goals, and progress.
- Really go for it, and don’t let pushback lead to a “hybrid” model where parts of IT are modernized and others stick to the old pace. It’s difficult, and often unsuccessful, to do DevOps only here and there.
There are good reasons to dive into DevOps, but it’s definitely a look-before-you-leap scenario. We’ll be covering various related topics here on the blog so as to point toward helpful resources that can make the transformation a little easier.