Hidden in the transformative shift to Cloud computing is DevOps, arguably an even more high-impact trend. While the cloud revolutionizes infrastructure, DevOps brings profound changes to the way that the actual cloud-based code is developed and deployed. DevOps (a contraction of “development” and “operations”) refers to the increasingly popular method of merging what used to be the separate processes of software development and IT operations. Today, rather than developers writing code and “throwing it over the wall” to IT ops for deployment, the two activities occur in parallel within a single team.

Done right, DevOps makes possible a far more rapid pace of iteration in software applications.  As such, it’s an enabling factor for increased agility. A DevOps team can churn out new features on a daily, if not hourly basis. In contrast, the traditional “waterfall” method of development could take weeks or even months to release new code. When combined with the cloud’s cost-effective, highly elastic self-service compute environments, DevOps empowers companies to rapidly respond to new market opportunities.

DevOps is growing in popularity because it solves two problems at once: It enables faster improvements to customer-facing technology while easing a traditional tension between developers and ops people. Historically, software engineers focused on improving products and adding features to improve the customer experience. Operations teams, meanwhile, were tuned into uptime and reliability. This dynamic created a tendency to resist the very changes developers were mandated to release.

Most of us have lived through this often dysfunctional relationship. Two groups- two different goals.  The misalignment of incentives might have delayed time-to-market and slowed innovation. Releases were periodic, white knuckle moments. DevOps was born out of the realization that the choice between “rapid feature development” and “uptime” was a false one. By blurring the lines across development and operations job functions, DevOps encourages groups to lead with value to the customer. The new process can deliver solid uptime, rapid delivery of new features and automation wherever possible, which leads to competitive pricing. Removing disparate and diametrically opposed goals embraces collaboration and standardization across smaller, cross-functional teams.

It Sounds Hard.  It is.

By definition, DevOps transforms how companies do business and differentiate themselves through software and IT. But, adoption is far from easy. DevOps is an organizational, as well as technological commitment.  Beyond tools and methodologies, organizations must prepare to adapt and change internal structures, goals, and objectives.

Realizing the potential of DevOps means getting to success in four key areas: Automation, Transparency, Talent, and Culture:

  •  Automation – Automation of the software lifecycle is essential to DevOps’ high-speed develop-to-deploy process the kind of continuous code integration that defines DevOps. Automation should also focus on improving quality, repeatability and guaranteeing precision. A number of toolsets now make it possible to automate many DevOps processes.
  • Transparency – As formerly separate teams collaborate closely on tight schedules and technically challenging deployment cycles, it’s imperative that key stakeholders have clarity on what others are doing. DevOps must have transparent that leads to accountability, openness and quality assurance.
  • Talent – DevOps succeeds by leveraging some new skillsets in tandem with traditional development and ops skills. Some new talent is needed, especially in emerging areas such as containerization, continuous integration, continuous deployment, agile methodologies, microservices and so forth. By building a strong talent pool, companies can be sure the right resources are placed on appropriate tasks.
  • Culture – Making the move to DevOps requires shifts in corporate culture, job functions and day-to-day performance. At a minimum, the reporting structures of the previously separate development and ops teams needs to be revamped. But, it’s more than that. Several facets of a corporate engineering culture need to be dismantled, and re-built. DevOps is a new way of thinking. You have to be willing to kiss a lot of excuses goodbye and become accountable for the rapid releasing of good code.

A knowledgeable partner can help align your operations to maximize the power of DevOps. CenturyLink has the experience and platform to jumpstart your move to DevOps. Our suite of cloud services allows both IT Ops and DevOps to maximize performance on a single platform leveraging Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS) in a secure environment running a multi-tenant cloud. This allows all cloud services to be managed from a central point of control via a single interface for high SLAs and administration. Our platform offers use of such essential DevOps tools as Jenkins, Chef, Ansible and Docker.

To learn how CenturyLink can get you started with DevOps, or move you further down the path to successful DevOps if you’re already on your way, contact us for a free consultation. A Free Trial of the CenturyLink Cloud Platform will also demonstrate how well we facilitate automation and transparency.

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