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3 practical steps to reining in costs with cloud and DevOps


DevOps.jpgI recently spoke with the CIO of a major Asian manufacturer, who relayed a familiar tale of woe: his developers aren’t able to release applications quickly enough to meet the demands of the business. After finishing an application, rather than moving on to the next project, the developers have to spend time in production fixing bugs and other problems. At the same time, business leaders are pressuring IT and the app dev team to release applications faster. To remedy the situation, the CIO planned to hire more staff, even though the extra resources would strain his budget.


There’s a better way, I told him. IT can release applications faster, at a lower cost, by aligning application development (Dev) with operations (Ops) and using cloud to supply elastic resources that can scale up or down on demand. The CIO was familiar with the term DevOps, but didn’t know how to implement it. He’s not alone — many customers I talk with are equally mystified. So how do you make DevOps happen?



Do it right the first time


It’s important for business and IT executives to think about effectively and efficiently developing, deploying, and managing applications, especially in a dynamic, virtualized cloud environment.


The first step is to build a relationship between Dev and Ops. If the Ops helps Dev understand the production environment, there’s a better chance applications won’t break in production and cause outages that could jeopardize company revenue and customer satisfaction.


If you think about aligning the teams from day one, Dev and Ops will need to spend less time fixing bugs and pointing fingers.



Standardize your environment


When you bring the teams together ask, how do I build and test my application? Dev and Ops should use the same test and deployment scripts. If Dev can simulate the production environment in the test lab and build the script based on the same environment, far fewer errors will slip through.


You also can’t have five different flavors of an application. By standardizing the application environment, you can produce portable, cloud-based, multitenant applications that users can run from almost anywhere. If a particular server or virtual machine fails, standardization enables you to spin up more resources instantly.


Once the deployment environment is standardized, you can automate application testing, which eliminates many manual, error-prone steps and greatly speeds up the pace of application development.



Standardize your processes


Companies these days need to update end-user applications constantly, whether they’re for a seasonal marketing campaign or for a new mobile banking initiative. That means DevOps isn’t a one-time thing — you need to use these processes over and over again, maintaining and updating applications on an ongoing basis. The cycle depends on the speed of your business.


You get efficiency by standardizing processes. You may evolve them over time, but you should try not to re-engineer processes for each update. The process becomes like a machine, so you can update every hour if your business demands it. If your processes are not standardized, you’ll have problems.


For more on how a DevOps approach can increase application release velocity, read my colleague Christian Verstraete’s post on transforming application management. To learn how a trusted partner can help your enterprise develop business solutions faster and at lower cost, please visit

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