|By JP Morgenthal||
|June 1, 2014 10:15 PM EDT||
On May 13th, Rachel Shannon-Solomon wrote an opinion piece in the Wall Street Journal’s CIO Journal section entitled “DevOps Is Great for Startups, but for Enterprises It Won’t Work-Yet.” In this piece, Ms. Shannon-Solomon implies that DevOps—a loosely-defined IT initiative oriented toward creating higher quality and more resilient systems—currently faces too many hurdles to see broad-spectrum adoption. Unfortunately, this assertion is incorrect and based on some rudimentary mistakes individuals make about what defines DevOps and what is required to be successful with DevOps adoption.
First, I will address Ms. Shannon-Solomon’s premise and then propose alternative thinking from other industries that will work well for enterprises. Ms. Shannon-Solomon’s initial point that silod-structures and organizational change are necessary to institute DevOps is an area of debate and contention among many leading the DevOps charge. There is an entire school of DevOps influencers that do not believe silos are the enemy and, indeed, serve a purpose in large IT organizations for ensuring focus and a level of specialization needed to ensure that the prime operational mission—keeping the systems available and secure—is met. The issue Ms. Shannon-Solomon uncovered relates to organizations that have been indoctrinated into the school of thought that DevOps requires cultural change. One of her later points in the piece explicitly states that the hurdle many DevOps tools vendors are running into is related to attempts to sell this cultural revolution.
This entire line of thinking is spurred by the perspective that DevOps fosters greater collaboration between various facets of IT that need to work more closely to ensure successful completion of the tasks. Moreover, the cultural change is not revolutionary, but evolutionary, with regard to instituting accountability for the availability and security of the corporate assets across all of IT. The outcome being reduced finger-pointing, reduced outages and faster recovery times in cases where outages do occur (and they will).
Ms. Shannon-Solomon’s points around build vs. buy illustrates another common misunderstanding regarding DevOps, which is that tools are an essential element of adoption. It is true that a key element of DevOps is automation as it provides consistency and reduces configuration drift—the issue where application and infrastructure configuration changes are instituted with loose control leading, a leading cause of outages—and increases productivity through the reduction of time spent on repetitive tasks. However, there are a bevy of tools already deployed in enterprise environments that can be used to drive an end-to-end design-build-test-stage-deploy-operate process. Indeed, I, and other DevOps throught-leaders, have indicated caution with regard to tools adoption around DevOps as it can lead to new IT silos and a significant increase in code and scripts that require their own architecture and maintenance lifecycles.
Finally, with regard to her point about return on investment, Ms. Shannon-Solomon addresses, anecdotally, one aspect of the DevOps process focused on engineering and development. Specifically, she addresses a lack of ROI with regard to agile development projects, when it’s important to examine and measure impact on all facets of application delivery including those that touch security, network operations, data center operations and help desk, as would be expected of an effective enterprise DevOps strategy. However, the real value to any business in successfully adopting DevOps is the increase in focus on depleting backlog and supporting innovation that is currently lost to just keeping the lights on. As with cloud computing, the greatest value proposition to the business is increased agility.
Where I agree with Ms. Shannon-Solomon is that the same tactics used to institute DevOps in a startup will not work in an enterprise setting. These are very different environments with extremely different goals and requirements. She is correct in her assessment of enterprise as resistant to change and stymied by organizational structure. However, requiring a “rip-n-replace” approach has never been popular in enterprise settings and tearing down the silos to gain efficiencies or achieve IT modernization are simply utopian follies.
Interestingly, an answer to this problem domain can be found in military strategy. Armies are simply a group of individualized regiments each with a specific responsibility toward an overarching mission. Within each regiment, the commanding officers institute rules and procedures based on military guidelines and the specific situation on the ground. Each regiment carries out its assignment based on a specific timeline as part of a bigger plan that leads to completion of a whole mission. In this scenario, DevOps comprises the military guidelines plus the individual commander’s input.
The real hurdle that lies in front of enterprises is the lack of well-understood missions as defined by the executive office. Often when speaking with IT management I will ask, what are the top 3 initiatives of the CIO and CEO for this year and next. Quite often, the answer to this question is unknown or unclear. In some cases, they just haven’t been clearly laid out by the CEO, in other cases, the information does not get disseminated beyond a certain point of management. In lieu of of mission directives, the regiments will aimlessly execute the last known set of tasks. To those who have experience in enterprise IT organizations, this can easily be translated into, “because it’s the way we’ve always done it!,” which is a curse of death for adoption of well-intentioned DevOps initiatives.
Ms. Shannon-Solomon’s perspective is greatly skewed by her association with those attempting to sell DevOps; those is attempt to implement change through the introduction of new tools and cultural revolution. This approach is akin to Woodstock. It produced great music, raised awareness of what was happening in Vietnam, but did little to dramatically change the lives of the majority of individuals living in the United States. Impact on the scale of the enterprise occurs through accountability, incentive, and management directives. The cultural change is one of constant improvement. DevOps initiatives approached with this as a goal and following something akin to the regiment model can achieve great strides in delivering on the larger mission and obtaining the known benefits of agility.
The term culture has had a polarizing effect among DevOps supporters. Some propose that culture change is critical for success with DevOps, but are remiss to define culture. Some talk about a DevOps culture but then reference activities that could lead to culture change and there are those that talk about culture change as a set of behaviors that need to be adopted by those in IT. There is no question that businesses successful in adopting a DevOps mindset have seen departmental culture change, the question remains, is culture the leading edge of this change? I posit that in large enterprises,...
Nov. 25, 2014 05:45 PM EST Reads: 773
High-performing enterprise Software Quality Assurance (SQA) teams validate systems that are ready for use - getting most actively involved as components integrate and form complete systems. These teams catch and report on defects, making sure the customer gets the best software possible. SQA teams have leveraged automation and virtualization to execute more thorough testing in less time - bringing Dev and Ops together, ensuring production readiness. Does the emergence of DevOps mean the end of Enterprise SQA? Does the SQA function become redundant? In her session at DevOps Summit, Anne Hungat...
Nov. 25, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 815
Enthusiasm for the Internet of Things has reached an all-time high. In 2013 alone, venture capitalists spent more than $1 billion dollars investing in the IoT space. With "smart" appliances and devices, IoT covers wearable smart devices, cloud services to hardware companies. Nest, a Google company, detects temperatures inside homes and automatically adjusts it by tracking its user's habit. These technologies are quickly developing and with it come challenges such as bridging infrastructure gaps, abiding by privacy concerns and making the concept a reality. These challenges can't be addressed w...
Nov. 25, 2014 04:30 PM EST Reads: 1,401
Our expectations for buying all sorts of consumer goods has gone through a radical transformation we now take for granted. Why should we not expect this same level of service from IT businesses? We accept the status quo for how software delivery exists today but would reject it without hesitation if it were applied to pretty much any other online consumer experience. Take pizza delivery as an example. Fifteen years ago ordering a pizza meant trying to choose an item from a grease-stained menu somebody shoved under your door. You'd make a phone call and end up speaking to somebody who sounded ...
Nov. 24, 2014 11:00 PM EST Reads: 2,339
The 4th International DevOps Summit, co-located with16th International Cloud Expo – being held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY – announces that its Call for Papers is now open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the world's largest enterprises – and delivering real results. Among the proven benefits, DevOps is correlated with 2...
Nov. 23, 2014 12:30 PM EST Reads: 1,878
Leysin American School is an exclusive, private boarding school located in Leysin, Switzerland. Leysin selected an OpenStack-powered, private cloud as a service to manage multiple applications and provide development environments for students across the institution. Seeking to meet rigid data sovereignty and data integrity requirements while offering flexible, on-demand cloud resources to users, Leysin identified OpenStack as the clear choice to round out the school's cloud strategy. Additionally, the school sought a partner to provide OpenStack infrastructure deployment and operations expert...
Nov. 23, 2014 08:00 AM EST Reads: 1,867
We are all here because we are sold on the transformative promise of The Cloud. But what good is all of this ephemeral, on-demand infrastructure if your usage doesn't actually improve the agility and speed of your business? How must Operations adapt in order to avoid stifling your Cloud initiative? In his session at DevOps Summit, Damon Edwards, co-founder and managing partner of the DTO Solutions, will highlight the successful organizational, process, and tooling patterns of high-performing companies that have reshaped their Operations to enable the business to get full value from their Clo...
Nov. 23, 2014 02:00 AM EST Reads: 1,620
Software-driven innovation is becoming a primary approach to how businesses create and deliver new value to customers. A survey of 400 business and IT executives by the IBM Institute for Business Value showed businesses that are more effective at software delivery are also more profitable than their peers nearly 70 percent of the time (1). DevOps provides a way for businesses to remain competitive, applying lean and agile principles to software development to speed the delivery of software that meets new market requirements. IBM's new DevOps Innovation Services help address the challenge of s...
Nov. 22, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 2,045
Docker offers a new, lightweight approach to application portability. Applications are shipped using a common container format and managed with a high-level API. Their processes run within isolated namespaces that abstract the operating environment independently of the distribution, versions, network setup, and other details of this environment. This "containerization" has often been nicknamed "the new virtualization." But containers are more than lightweight virtual machines. Beyond their smaller footprint, shorter boot times, and higher consolidation factors, they also bring a lot of new fea...
Nov. 22, 2014 06:45 PM EST Reads: 1,796
The move in recent years to cloud computing services and architectures has added significant pace to the application development and deployment environment. When enterprise IT can spin up large computing instances in just minutes, developers can also design and deploy in small time frames that were unimaginable a few years ago. The consequent move toward lean, agile, and fast development leads to the need for the development and operations sides to work very closely together. Thus, DevOps becomes essential for any ambitious enterprise today.
Nov. 22, 2014 05:45 PM EST Reads: 1,871
ARMONK, N.Y., Nov. 20, 2014 /PRNewswire/ -- IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced that it is bringing a greater level of control, security and flexibility to cloud-based application development and delivery with a single-tenant version of Bluemix, IBM's platform-as-a-service. The new platform enables developers to build ap...
Nov. 22, 2014 05:30 PM EST Reads: 2,063
SYS-CON Media announced today that Aruna Ravichandran, VP of Marketing, Application Performance Management and DevOps at CA Technologies, has joined DevOps Journal’s authors. DevOps Journal is focused on this critical enterprise IT topic in the world of cloud computing. DevOps Journal brings valuable information to DevOps professionals who are transforming the way enterprise IT is done. Aruna's inaugural article "Four Essential Cultural Hacks for DevOps Newbies" discusses how to demonstrate the value of DevOps behaviors, tools and processes. She states: "DevOps is not only hot it's the approa...
Nov. 21, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 1,614
"Our premise is Docker is not enough. That's not a bad thing - we actually love Docker. At ActiveState all our products are based on open source technology and Docker is an up-and-coming piece of open source technology," explained Bart Copeland, President & CEO of ActiveState Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at Cloud Expo®, held Nov 4-6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Nov. 20, 2014 10:30 PM EST Reads: 1,684
DevOps Summit 2015 New York, co-located with the 16th International Cloud Expo - to be held June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY - announces that it is now accepting Keynote Proposals. The widespread success of cloud computing is driving the DevOps revolution in enterprise IT. Now as never before, development teams must communicate and collaborate in a dynamic, 24/7/365 environment. There is no time to wait for long development cycles that produce software that is obsolete at launch. DevOps may be disruptive, but it is essential.
Nov. 20, 2014 09:00 PM EST Reads: 1,918
At first glance, it might seem that the goals of DevOps and regulatory compliance are inherently at odds. Whereas much of the buzz around DevOps advocates delivering software at dizzying rates, compliance and security are concerned with proper oversight of the change management process to ensure that the enterprise isn’t opening itself up to potential vulnerabilities. With the tedious amount of rules and regulations that enterprises are subjected to, compliance can end up being a governor on the release process, defeating the potential benefits from adopting DevOps practices.
Nov. 19, 2014 10:00 PM EST Reads: 1,670
SYS-CON Media announced today the IBM, which offers the world’s deepest portfolio of technologies and expertise that are transforming the future of work, has launched ad campaigns on SYS-CON’s numerous online magazines such as Cloud Computing Journal, DevOps Journal, Virtualization Journal, and IoT Journal. IBM's campaigns focus on application testing, improving application development processes, common challenges in testing composite applications, continuous testing as part of the DevOps lifecycle, and deploying higher quality software faster through continuous integration testing.
Nov. 19, 2014 08:15 PM EST Reads: 1,939
Considered by many as the next step beyond Agile, DevOps has proven to be effective at accelerating development cycles, improving performance, reducing bugs and overall improving the innovation and velocity of development teams. There are a couple ways to look at DevOps: first, DevOps is a development methodology based on continuous integration and continuous delivery supported by set of configuration management tools such as Chef, Puppet, Salt and Ansible. We can also think of DevOps as a simpler set of principles that guide development and deployment practices – automate everything, monitor...
Nov. 19, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 1,879
Cloud computing started a technology revolution; now DevOps is driving that revolution forward. By enabling new approaches to service delivery, cloud and DevOps together are delivering even greater speed, agility, and efficiency. No wonder leading innovators are adopting DevOps and cloud together! In his session at DevOps Summit, Andi Mann, Vice President of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies, explored the synergies in these two approaches, with practical tips, techniques, research data, war stories, case studies, and recommendations on how to: Embrace, source, consume, and expose shared...
Nov. 17, 2014 10:00 AM EST Reads: 2,049
Software is eating the world. Companies that were not previously in the technology space now find themselves competing with Google and Amazon on speed of innovation. As the innovation cycle accelerates, companies must embrace rapid and constant change to both applications and their infrastructure, and find a way to deliver speed and agility of development without sacrificing reliability or efficiency of operations. In her Day 2 Keynote DevOps Summit, Victoria Livschitz, CEO of Qubell, discussed how IT organizations can automate just-in-time assembly of application environments - each built fo...
Nov. 17, 2014 09:00 AM EST Reads: 1,927
AppDynamics is the next-generation application performance management solution that simplifies the management of complex, business-critical apps. No one can stand slow applications - not IT operations and development teams, not the Chief Information Officer, and definitely not end users. With AppDynamics, no one has to tolerate slow performing apps ever again. AppDynamics customers include TiVo, AMICA Insurance, Expedia and StubHub.
Nov. 2, 2014 10:00 PM EST Reads: 3,057
Roger: Could you explain for our audience the significance of containerization, and how it differs from virtualization? Ben: Traditional virtualization was created over a decade ago, when applications were long-lived, monolithic, and deployed to a single server. In this world, when the problem to be solved was proliferation of single purpose physical servers – e.g. one server for Microsoft exchange, one server for Mac Print, one server for a custom Unix inventory -- it made sense to turn all of those single-purpose physical servers into single purpose virtual servers. The VM was created, whi...
Nov. 2, 2014 08:00 PM EST Reads: 7,394
Founded in 1997, ActiveState is a global leader providing software application development and management solutions. The Company's products include: Stackato, a commercially supported Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) that harnesses open source technologies such as Cloud Foundry and Docker; dynamic language distributions ActivePerl, ActivePython and ActiveTcl; and developer tools such as the popular Komodo Edit and Komodo IDE. Headquartered in Vancouver, Canada, ActiveState is trusted by customers and partners worldwide, across many industries including telecommunications, aerospace, software, fina...
Nov. 2, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 2,649
In today's application economy, enterprise organizations realize that it's their applications that are the heart and soul of their business. If their application users have a bad experience, their revenue and reputation are at stake. In his session at 15th Cloud Expo, Anand Akela, Senior Director of Product Marketing for Application Performance Management at CA Technologies, will discuss how a user-centric Application Performance Management solution can help inspire your users with every application transaction.
Nov. 2, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 4,204
In his keynote at DevOps Summit, David Tesar, Microsoft Technical Evangelist on Microsoft Azure and DevOps, will discuss how Microsoft teams who have made huge progress with a DevOps transformation effectively utilize operations staff and how challenges were overcome. Regardless of whether you are a startup or a mature enterprise, whether you are using PaaS, Micro Services, or Containerization, walk away with some practical tips where Ops can make a significant impact working with the development teams. Operational teams and functions are increasingly more important as the industry delivers so...
Nov. 2, 2014 07:00 PM EST Reads: 2,404
The recent trends like cloud computing, social, mobile and Internet of Things are forcing enterprises to modernize in order to compete in the competitive globalized markets. However, enterprises are approaching newer technologies with a more silo-ed way, gaining only sub optimal benefits. The Modern Enterprise model is presented as a newer way to think of enterprise IT, which takes a more holistic approach to embracing modern technologies. This model makes use of Composable Enterprise framework put forward by Jonathan Murray of WMG.
Nov. 2, 2014 06:00 PM EST Reads: 2,341