It’s no secret that software and applications drive business today — and the future is only going to be more app-driven. So, it’s imperative for businesses of all shapes, sizes and industries, whether cloud newbies or cloud natives, to be thinking strategically about how to develop their software. And to do that, business leaders need to be thinking about DevOps.
Yes, DevOps is a buzzword, but that doesn’t detract from its growing importance for business. To help our customers understand what DevOps is, we started a podcast, Simplifying DevOps.
To understand the importance of DevOps today, you need to know why the concepts and practices have become popular topics in IT departments. Over the last two decades, we’ve seen a proliferation of applications. Smartphones have accelerated the access to and expectations of the apps that individuals use in their personal lives and at work. This trend has led to organizations interacting with their customers more frequently through an application, and often exclusively through an app. Suddenly, traditional organizations were thrust into being software companies to make sure their customers had a good digital experience.
This shift of organizations into software companies accelerated the movement away from Waterfall and towards Agile methodologies. Development teams could no longer afford to spend months or even years, planning, testing, building and deploying critical applications. Development teams focused on getting a minimal viable product into the hands of the application user and then making iterative changes based on feedback from those users. This greatly increased the importance of implementing best practices for manufacturing a product. To do that, we look to Lean Principles, which were popularized several decades ago by auto manufacturers.
The Operations in DevOps
At the same time, there has been an evolution happening on the IT Ops side of the house. Operations has moved away from large expensive mainframes towards less expensive and virtualized X86 servers. This shift in infrastructure gives the operations teams the ability to scale out and pool resources to support the exploding growth of applications. Operations has also started to leverage the elastic compute resources offered to them by cloud providers. While the tools of the Ops department have transformed, the goal of reliability has remained.
Throughout this evolution, organizations have developed a greater reliance on their IT resources to support their lines of business. The stakes are high for the operations teams to deliver a vetted and reliable IT resource while also delivering the agility required to compete in the new fast paced digital age. If an application is fragile, it means that failures frequently occur when changes are made to them. This results in unplanned outages and unplanned work. Both Operations and Development teams are frustrated, and no one is happy — especially the customer.
App Development + IT Operations = DevOps
Today, both developers and IT operations are focused on delivering business outcomes, and that increasingly requires a strategy for application delivery. Everyone has a stake in the process. Some are focused on speed of delivery, others are focused on reliability. To make it all come together, we must have a realignment of culture, processes, tools and technology to drive better business outcomes as quick as possible. This is DevOps.
The goal of our podcast is to break down this fast-paced business process so that it is understandable for everyone, not just the practitioners. We hope you’ll check out our podcast and that it helps you and your organization improve how you approach your business challenges with the help of DevOps. Toward that, we’re sharing a few links below to give you an idea of what we’re talking about on the podcast.
Simplifying DevOps: Episodes
In a world where every business is in the software business, creating high-quality software quickly is critical. The software development lifecycle is the methodology and process of creating software and getting it into production and in the hands of the end user. We sit down to talk with Ken Collins, Sr. FSA at CDW within our Azure and DevOps practices, to learn more.
Which came first? It’s hard to talk DevOps without talking about cloud and their intertwining best practices. We also talk about the concept of Cloud-native, which is a lot more than just signing up with a cloud provider and using it to run your existing applications. It affects the design, implementation, deployment and operation of your applications. We spend some time chatting with Drew Shanahan from CDW’s Azure practice to break it all down.
Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is often considered a key attribute for enabling best practices in DevOps. Infrastructure as Code builds on the principles of automation to allow organizations to manage their infrastructure at scale and with better collaboration. As a result, developers become more involved in defining configuration and Ops teams get involved earlier in the development process. We interview CDW DevOps Field Solutions Architect and SAFe Agile Coach, Dave Roesch, on IaC.