DevOps Toolchain – Not Team — Revolution Gathers Momentum

With stats like these — 51% of IT problems are caused by human error (Ponemon Institute’s National Survey of Data Center Outages) and standardization and improved IT best practices can reduce overall outage risk by up to 85% (IDC) – it’s no wonder that DevOps is taking off. According to a recent survey of 1,300 IT leaders across 21 countries by CA Technologies, 66% are already implementing, or plan to implement, a DevOps methodology, and 70% believe the need for DevOps has increased significantly, driven by key business demands for more frequent application delivery, customers’ increased use of mobile devices and the need for an improved customer experience.

Largely based on the Agile Manifesto philosophy which emphasizes people (and culture) and seeks to improve collaboration between operations and development teams, DevOps is not just about outages and risks. The CA study found that the respondents who have already implemented DevOps report quantifiable improvements between 17% and 23% for key areas such as faster time-to-market, increased revenue, improved quality, enhanced customer experience and more.

“Really it’s about making existing teams work better, said Puppet Labs CTO Nigel Kersten. An IT automation software developer that just released Puppet Enterprise 3.1, has been with the DevOps movement since its start, he said.

Back in March the company reported that high-performing organizations deploy code 30 times faster with 50% fewer failures. The survey of more than 4,000 IT operations and development professionals in 90 countries found a 26% increase in the rate of DevOps adoption by organizations of all sizes, compared to 2011.

In a recent interview, Puppet Labs founder and CEO Luke Kanies said DevOps is about having shared goals that are tied to business goals. “Developers and operations have very different needs. Developers’ goal is to build new features, while operations is judged on whether downtime happens. But, developers don’t care if there’s any downtime because that’s not what they’re measured on.”

It’s especially important for companies that are looking for more agility, he said. “DevOps is about continuous delivery of your changes into production without having to have artificial barriers and six weeks of change control rules.”

At the start of the year VMware upped its stake in Puppet Labs with a $30-million investment, together with a commercial agreement to jointly deliver, market and sell their products. Two weeks ago Puppet Labs announced tighter integration with VMware vCloud Automation Center 6.0. “Together with VMware, we are providing the building blocks for software-defined infrastructure and delivering on the promise of cloud,” stated Kanies.

There has been a mindshift in the industry, said Kersten . Operations has evolved from it’s my job to make sure nothing breaks to it’s my job to make the company better. That’s a big shift from a “real fear of failure” that would often cause a reluctance to ship something with the potential for even a tiny little failure.

One potential hiccup on the road to DevOps, at least semantically, is the concept of DevOps teams. It defeats the primary purpose of fostering communications and collaboration by setting up another silo. Instead, organizations need to be focusing on a DevOps toolchain. Covering provisioning, configuration management, code check-in, orchestration, monitoring and metrics, it’s the approach that says developers and IT operations people must share responsibility for delivering software that answers business needs and goals.


Author: Steve Wexler

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