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Implementing DevOps? You need a single source of truth


shamim ahmed.jpgBy Shamim Ahmed


Shamim Ahmed has over 20 years of experience in large-scale application architecture, design and development, product research and development, large multi-shore project/program management, organizational quality management, and IT consulting.


When I describe DevOps, I tell my enterprise clients to think of it as continuous everything: continuous integration, continuous release, continuous deployment, and continuous operations. Continuous processes enable your business to be agile and keep up with demand, but they can also introduce chaos because of the many different levels of change involved. To prevent that chaos from wasting resources, undermining reliability, and hurting revenue, you need to keep an integrated single source of truth for every aspect of your system, including business.


The backbone behind continuous everything

To enable continuous everything, in HP Software Professional Services Agility Services we use a model we call continuous architecture. When customers think about enterprise systems, they should consider architecture from multiple perspectives:


  • Business
  • Applications
  • Data
  • Infrastructure


These are all different aspects of a system, viewed through different lenses. You have to continuously keep this architecture updated, whenever conditions change in any of these categories. Changes can happen from both the business side and the technology side, and from the top down and from the bottom up. For example, if there's a new technology that's going to make your systems more efficient, your application and/or your infrastructure architecture could change.


If you don't have a reference architecture against which changes are made, things tend to break down. Let's say you make an innocuous change in your production environment, like swapping one server out with another. That architecture change might impact not just the systems that are running, but also things that are in the pipeline. If developers are not made aware of the change—and 99 percent of the time they're not—then their application will break in production, because information was lost in translation.


A continuous architecture serves as your single source of truth from which you can drive changes to different parts of the system, be it business, application, data, or infrastructure. Any change that you make tells you the impact of that change at a global level. To take a deeper dive into using DevOps in your enterprise, sign up for the DevOps Transformation Workshop at HP Discover Las Vegas June 10-12.


Keeping Apps and Ops aligned

I've written previously about the way agile developers coordinate releases across hundreds of development teams. HP Agile Manager and ALM provide a solution to capture the metadata from all of these different teams as they do their work, so that you have one source of truth to understand where things are and to manage the work and quality control. This serves as the “Apps Hub”.


To know what's going on in your operations, you also need an “Operations Hub” that integrates data from multiple tools and provides a single source of truth. A universal configuration management database (UCMDB) enables you to keep track of meta-data from all those tools, as well as any changes you make to your infrastructure.


By tying together the Apps hub and the Ops hub, you can synchronize the two systems, so that any time there is a change in one, the other gets updated, and people can react and remediate their systems.


For example, now operations analytics let you track how frequently users are using an app and what they're doing with it. You can start to capture these analytics and feed them back directly into the next cycle of development, so that you're continuously improving the system. Traditionally organizations take a long time to react to operational data, and the next cycle of planning that adds all those ideas in is probably too late.


Keeping business aligned

Business alignment is also a key imperative in DevOps. In a continuous-everything world, business ideas and changes get constantly prioritized and fed into the backlog of initiatives that roll to development and operations.


To learn first-hand how we can help your company incorporate DevOps, sign up for the DevOps Transformation Workshop at HP Discover Las Vegas June 10-12. And read this white paper for an overview of how DevOps can unify app delivery.


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