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Why your IT Operations Bridge holds the keys to increasing velocity

MironMizrahi

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“Cloud drives agility.” “DevOps drives agility.”

These are two of the most common phrases you will hear in any discussion about how IT needs to transform itself to support its stakeholders in the age of The Digital Business. However, IT is a team sport, and unless every function is agile, you are not likely to maximize overall velocity.

One area you may not think of as critical to agility is your IT Operations Bridge. This is the hub meant to ensure that all the great features and services Cloud and DevOps allow you release with unprecedented speed are available, and that corrective action is taken—fast—when they are not. But is it agile? Can it cope with all these new technologies, especially now that services are being deployed faster and without IT Operations’ involvement? If you don’t treat your Operations Bridge as a partner in agility, you might optimize certain processes within your organization, but won’t increase overall speed.

 

Monitoring shouldn’t take a bench seat

Monitoring is one of those disciplines everyone takes for granted. It is the cornerstone of the Operations Bridge, but somehow always treated like a second-class citizen. Most DevOps implementations, for instance, focus on the “Dev” aspect but neglect the “Ops.” So even if you have the ability to release new code in a couple of weeks, how valuable can it really be if it takes IT a month to deploy monitoring? Even in a traditional project approach, monitoring is often thought of as something Ops will get to when Dev throws the app over the fence to them.

But just like any team sport, winning starts long before the first whistle blows. Consider this: In a DevOps world, developers are provisioning environments and deploying code without IT Operations’ involvement or knowledge. So even if you wanted to “throw it over the fence,” how can you do that when there is no one on the other side to catch it?

Of course, we can’t place all the blame on the Dev side. The old-school Ops approach to monitoring—siloed and technology-focused—created a situation where more monitoring didn’t necessarily translate to useful information or insight.

 

Start by shifting left

If your company wants to succeed in this fast-paced, dynamic, Digital Business world, you need an agile Operations Bridge. But what does that mean, exactly?

The easiest way to understand an agile Operations Bridge is to take a trip down memory lane to the early 90s. I might be showing my age here, but in those days, QA was regarded as a second-class citizen, too. Developers hated testers and vice versa, and testing was a task relegated to the end-of-the-process “if we have time” category. Eventually, application teams realized that you save time, money, and produce a higher quality product when you test early. Moreover, it’s even better to design with testing in mind. In DevOps parlance, this is known as “shift left.”

So, the agile Operations Bridge is basically about “monitoring by design.” It’s about “shifting left” and considering monitoring much earlier in the service lifecycle. By doing so, this ensures not only that monitoring can keep pace with development, but also that the monitoring outputs are actually delivering the insight needed.

At HPE Software Services, we developed a 3-step approach to the Agile Operations Bridge:

  1. Organize: Move toward a service-oriented approach by understanding and defining what the term “service” means to you and how to match data collection to event processing and reporting, which is driven by how different roles should be accountable to both provisioning and consumption of information.
  2. Standardize: Prepare for automation by consolidating tools and defining authoritative sources (i.e. tools) of information, standards for information presentation, the owners and consumers, monitoring, and responsibility for data collection.
  3. Automate: Accelerate the entire process—from demand to consumption—and improve productivity by automating deployment of monitors (data collection) and role-based report and dashboards (data presentation).

This approach is packaged into a service to help customers succeed. I will discuss each step in more detail in upcoming blog posts. In the meantime, for a great overview on what the HPE Agile Operations Bridge service offers, you can watch this short video on our website.

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MironMizrahi

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