As the cloud becomes the more prevalent and preferred architecture – having a succinct, automated process between Development (Dev) and Operations (Ops)— DevOps—will be a critical success factor for IT shops. During my research for Visible Ops Private Cloud and Client4Cloud – it became clear that IT shops that automated bad processes or did not have processes in place – only got into trouble faster. The less process and more rigid controls IT put in place for the business the more the business would work around IT to circumvent policies that inhibited productivity.
The agility, flexibility, and dynamic nature of cloud computing provides significant ROI to the business but only if IT can create and automate processes that provide compelling value to overall productivity of the company. As IT Ops becomes the "Cloud Broker" and is able to create virtual environments within minutes – Dev will need to automate the packaging, handoff and analysis to keep up. One individual interviewed for Visible Ops Private Cloud indicated that although it was great that IT could provide the virtual environment within 15 minutes it still took them over 9 days to have critical applications installed and running due to poor processes for software licensing, procurement, analytics, and change management. (2011, ITPI)
Many senior development and operations executives I have spoken to are focused on – how to create a cloud environment that provides Infrastructure as a Service (IaaS) for the business. It became apparent during many discussions that DevOps is the next logical step. Meaning, once the infrastructure is in place and automated – business will require IT to automate the rest of the process to reduce the overall time to value for the organization. Successfully automating the handshake between Dev and Ops will be a critical success factor in companies realizing the true value of cloud computing.
Key elements to consider on your DevOps journey:
- Development workflow that enables collaboration across multiple geographies, groups, and departments.
- Secure source code repository with branching that also have a sound disaster recovery and security controls to reduce mistakes and malicious activities.
- Automated packaging and provisioning of applications across physical and virtual paradigms leveraging current backend systems for Asset Management, Configuration Management, Change Management, and Service Desk.
- Automated test and dev that are cloud enabled to provide both depth of scale but also ability to burst across various cloud environments.
- In depth analytics on application and feature level usage along with software license entitlements to ensure that not only technically can you deploy in the cloud but legally can you.
- Automated software licensing handshake across hybrid clouds – also known as licensing as a service to enable lifting and shifting of workloads without the drag of manual approvals for bring your own software licensing policies of 3rd party cloud providers and ISVs.
DevOps is coming of age and will be more critical for both development and packaging moving forward. The key is automating the handshake and processes now as part of the overall cloud implementation.