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Straight talk about DevOps

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DevOps diagram.JPG

 

By Sharon Eilon

 

Head of WW Strategy and Solutions, HP Software Professional Services. Follow him on Twitter at @EilonSharon.

 

Many people have been calling 2015 “The Year of DevOps.” And if the recent interest in DevOps at HP Discover is any indication, IT has shifted from seeing DevOps as a “nice to have” to a “have to have.” But even now, people grapple with different definitions of what DevOps really is. If you’re just getting started it’s easy to worry that you’re not doing it “right.”

 

One problem is that DevOps is one thing when you’re in a greenfield start-up or small team. It’s something else when you’re in a large enterprise with years invested in ITIL processes. We run up against this all the time when we hear from customers. For a DevOps webinar we did with Vivit, the HP user community, we received questions like, “Do I need to be doing Kanban to do DevOps?” There’s considerable anxiety over the right way, the wrong way—in other words, definitions and rules. Yet there’s no one size fits all.

 

So why don’t we do this: Instead of debating the fine points of DevOps terminology, let’s agree on the WHY. In everything we do we should be focusing on the end result, the business value we deliver. So it should be with DevOps. Whatever you call it, your aim is to remove the constraints that are slowing you down. You want to be faster without sacrificing quality. Even in legacy-process enterprises this is possible. 

 

5 changes to make for DevOps now

Wherever you are in your DevOps journey, here are five things you can do now to make the transformation successful.

 

1. Shift-left everything. Move everything to happen earlier. You want to shift-left monitoring, for example, so that you’re monitoring in the development phase.


2. Test constantly. If you’ve followed point 1 above, you’re testing earlier. You’re also going to test much more often. You’ll also shift-right testing and test in production. You need to do everything possible to make sure Ops feels comfortable with what’s getting released.


3. Automate. Automated testing is one very easy way to shorten time to market. What’s more, automation removes a lot of the risk of human error that happens in testing. Automate the provisioning of environments for testing and tie them to the development releases.

 

4. Use a framework. You want communication between tools and processes to be as seamless as possible. Again, DevOps is about removing the constraints that slow you down. In every enterprise I’ve seen there’s a proliferation of tools. You need to connect tools through a framework for a holistic approach.

 

 

5. Realize that it all comes back to culture. Of course the most significant change you must make is cultural. Communication and management of organizational change are essential to DevOps. You want teams to unite around making the organization as a whole faster and more competitive.

 

DevOps in HP IT

In HP IT there’s a significant DevOps initiative underway because the company is splitting. IT needs to be faster and more responsive simply as a matter of survival.

 

The good news is, we’re experiencing our own DevOps transformation journey and can then pass the lessons on to you. The story of DevOps at HP is material for a longer post. But I want to leave you with the message that if one of the largest IT companies in the world can do this, you can, too.

 

To learn more, see the DevOps webinar I mentioned earlier. Check out our DevOps toolkit, which includes a Gartner report on the seven critical steps to DevOps success (registration required), or watch our DevOps Videos on YouTube.

 

Related links:

HP Software Professional Services

Enterprise Agility and DevOps services

Video: An operations look at HP DevOps

Video: A quality assurance look at HP DevOps

Video: An applications look at HP DevOps

Blog post: Automate application release and ramp up release velocity

Blog post: How do you make DevOps a reality?

Blog post: 3 success factors you need for a DevOps transformation

Ebook: Deliver business value with the New Style of IT

About the Author

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