Cloud Computing helps to accelerate DevOps

By Nicole Miskelly | 29 July 2014

“DevOps” is one of those tech industry buzzwords that is mentioned everywhere but is often misunderstood. The term seems to have lost its true meaning and if you asked ten different industry professionals to define it, you would get ten different answers. Although a precise definition is still elusive, bobsguide provides greater insight into DevOps and how Cloud Computing is helping to accelerate its influence in the tech industry.

What is DevOps?

To many industry professionals DevOps simply means the fusion of development and operations teams which usually work in sync around a common set of tools. The concept is for developers and operations professionals to work closer together to benefit the business and the result of this union is tighter integration that allows applications to be developed more quickly with better quality results. Before DevOps was created, teams worked separately towards common business goals such as, developing code and automating systems. The DevOps approach encourages teams to work together to improve reliability, security and faster development.

Who are DevOps professionals?

DevOps professionals are in demand because organisations utilising DevOps are gaining benefits such as cost reduction, increased efficiency and greater flexibility. Developers are seen as innovators, they understand the software they are working with to develop programmes and write coding. Operations teams help to provide stability and are able to run different programs, reports and execute the appropriate commands. A developer or operations professional can acquire DevOps skills through experience and training however, not yet an official job title DevOps is more of a concept, a way of utilising and merging different skills together. Developers who become involved in deployment and network operations can be classed as having DevOps skills, as can system administrators that move into development.

According to Puppet Labs, DevOps attributes can be listed as:

  • Ability to use a variety of tools and open source technologies
     
  • Ability to write code and script
     
  • Experience with IT operations and systems
     
  • Comfort with incremental code testing and deployment
     
  • Strong grasp of automation tools
     
  • A strong focus on business outcomes
     
  • Data management skills
     
  • Comfort with collaboration, open communication and reaching across functional borders

How does Cloud Computing utilise DevOps?

Cloud Computing is already impacting traditional business technology spending patterns. According to a global market study by Gartner, worldwide IT spending will reach a total $3.7 trillion in 2014, which is a 2.1 percent increase from last year. This is in comparison to a 0.4 percent flat growth experienced in 2013. This forecast indicates major technology trends across the hardware, software, IT services and telecom markets. For more than a decade, global IT and business executives have based their business decisions on these quarterly reports to recognise market opportunities and challenges and according to Richard Gordon, (Managing Vice President at Gartner) this rise is down to a number of factors, including the growth of wireless customer spending and competiton for service providers to retain customers and also attract new ones.

The server market shows that businesses are migrating away from high-cost platforms toward lower-cost alternatives, such as cloud systems which provide a way of developing a DevOps union which is flexible, agile and adaptable without using a lot of time or resources. Companies such as Microsoft are accelerating DevOps through their cloud capabilities to reduce infrastructure complexity, simplify release management, and support end-to-end application visibility through all stages of a solution’s lifecycle.

DevOps makes it possible for operators to work simultaneously with developers and significantly reduces the amount of time it takes a product team to bring software code to deployment and release. It also helps to remove the virtual wall that exists between the code to deployment process and many industry experts, including companies such as Microsoft, believe that DevOps can only be truly realised in a cloud operating model.

What solution does it provide?

The core driver behind DevOps is the outdated view that developers are the “makers” and operations teams are “people that look after the programme after its development”. Many of the ideas involved in DevOps came from the Agile software development movement which identified that business teams should work closer together towards a common goal – to be more efficient and through a shared understanding of customer needs, product management and development, and even quality assurance (QA). DevOps take this notion one step further and proposes that product teams also need to prioritise service delivery and identify how applications (apps) and systems interact to provide a better product or service.

Flickr (a popular image hosting and video hosting website) developed a DevOps approach in 2009 to support a business requirement of ten deployments (several stages that make a software system available for use) per day. This approach was successful and is often used as an example of how Dev and Ops can work together without getting involved in traditional cross organisational conflicts.

Although the definition of DevOps may not be certain, one thing is clear, DevOps can be described as being about more than just automating virtual server deployment and configuration. According to DevOps.com, it’s not just about buying or implementing tools to manage your IT environment, it’s about instilling a culture that breaks down traditional barriers and enables developers and operations to work cooperatively and collaboratively.

 

By Nicole Miskelly, bobsguide Lead Journalist