It is time to set the record straight about DevOps for the benefit of the uninitiated, before diving deeper. DevOps is NOT a specific technology, it is a philosophy, a culture, wherein a set of tools are used in a shared environment to make application development and IT operations work in tandem. Application development and IT operations are famously boxed in by silos, which lowers visibility of the problems that may develop, and the agility of the development process. DevOps promotes a collaborative/shared approach to processes which is a panacea to development complexities.
Four distinct advantages of DevOps that tackle complexities
Because of a combination of various complexities, processes took time, and organizations ended up losing business opportunities. There are four clear distinct advantages that DevOps offers in tackling these complexities – flexibility, agility, faster application delivery and lower costs. A Gartner study pegs Application Development at 35% of total IT spending in functional areas. With DevOps it is possible to improve business outcomes while slashing these development costs. Disruption spares none as businesses transit to complete business transformation. One of the dimensions of this transition is the need for flexibility and agility in processes. No business can expect to survive in intense competition if processes are rigid.
DevOps lends the edge of agility to processes, making businesses more flexible. This is achieved through Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. Prior to DevOps, processes typically involved a separate environment for testing & development, followed by release of application. With DevOps, the processes merge into one continuous and dynamic process. Development and deployment is streamlined and continuous, with shared responsibilities and greater visibility of the entire process, helping identify and foresee issues beforehand.
Standout advantages of DevOps
- Various teams understand the roles, responsibilities and challenges of other teams that work upstream/downstream. This helps the teams to acquire cross functional abilities, helping in better cohesion during development.
- Enhanced communication between development and operations, streamlining processes.
- Better incorporation of automation in delivery pipeline as a result of the shared approach.
- Complete visibility of development stages. One of the outcomes of visibility is greater control over the consequences – both positive and adverse.
- Faster rollout of applications at lowered costs.
The narrative is in the metrics
The success of any new process/workflow/product lies in the metrics and the ability to track the performance. While DevOps is not technically a framework, it is possible to create metrics and KPIs to assess and track performance. There are four specific KPIs that can be used to co-relate metrics to actual business outcomes and these will give an accurate measure of the performance.
- Time to Market – A business that can slashed the time to market, can consider itself as having become more responsive and nimble. The ability of an organization to leverage automation and smash silos in processes results in faster time to market.
- Quality – Applications need to be superior in terms of quality. There can be no compromise on the quality of the development. For instance, the need for speed or lower costs should never have any impact on the quality.
- Collaboration – The whole concept of DevOps hinges on collaboration, and it is essential to understand if the concept is put into practice, and its effect on the business outcome. This needs to be measured through the transformation in approaches and the manner in which Development and Operations blend into each other.
- Efficiency – There are different metrics in place to measure efficiency – TCO, TBO, ratio of servers/admins, staffing ratios etc. By looking at ratios that are customer centric, it is possible to directly relate DevOps to business outcomes.
Incorporation of DevOps is pivotal to organizational success. The need to adapt to the DevOps methodology and embrace the practices through learning and training continues to gain widespread acceptance across industry.