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Bridging from DevOps to Central Ops-Challenges and Solutions

It takes a lot to migrate a DevOps project built on the public cloud to central IT. Below are the focus areas which need more thinking while we plan to move DevOps projects:

  • The cloud is the natural home for computing.
  • Agile is the key for development and maintenance.
  • Engineers should think of better customer experience while they are doing the implementation.


Predictable Pitfalls

While DevOps has plenty to offer, it can't simply replace traditional IT. Even the best-intentioned DevOps professionals sometimes lack the deep expertise needed for such typical IT responsibilities as secure access to legacy services, business continuity requirements, organization-wide identity management, cost-effectiveness, and so on. 

DevOps migrations also make an interesting contrast with shadow IT. Shadow IT, where departments buy services from public providers rather than their own central IT, is a well-documented fact of business life. DevOps projects differ from the usual shadow IT in that they're much less likely to result in the frightening technical debt often seen in shadow IT: spreadsheet-coded graphics, shared passwords, bizarre backup schemes, and so on. Independent DevOps projects are like shadow IT, though, in that their budgets, security, data, and management are outside the control of central IT.

The DevOps emphasis on continuous improvement—buttressed by continuous deployment, continuous integration, and so on—contrasts with more episodic IT traditions. There's no easy solution for uniting agile, continuous-improvement styles with waterfall or near-waterfall management approaches. 

Migration of DevOps project needs explicit business requirements and goals. At a high level, typical business requirements for a DevOps to IT migration includes-

  • Integration with legacy services
  • Isolation from the hazards of off-premises computing
  • Integration with existing backup, disaster recovery, and business continuity practices
  • Compliance and governance considerations
  • Cost control


Bridge DevOps and Central IT

One starting point for discussion, then, is a private cloud. Central IT can set a baseline by pricing a private cloud and migrating the existing DevOps project on-prem with minimal technology changes.

Ideally, this approach should eliminate the cloud as an ideological battleground. With a clear vision of private cloud as a baseline, all the other alternatives become implementation details that DevOps and central IT can constructively consider and analyze together.

Another typical rift between the DevOps and central IT perspectives has to do with scaling in time, service scope, and development style. DevOps often takes a matter of faith that workloads handled by multiplying virtual servers, micro-services, and so on. Central IT often has more experience sizing needs realistically. Central IT also realizes that some services—even mission-critical ones—are lightweight enough to run on a monolithic or not particularly scalable architecture. The best way forward is to emphasize the business requirements highlighted above and let the implementation teams fulfill them with technologies they trust.

A third common tension between DevOps and central IT—related to the first two, inevitably—is that DevOps pros often regard themselves as more technically sophisticated and fast-moving. DevOps sees IT as stuck with legacy assets and comparatively uninterested in learning the latest. You can avoid this conflict by pushing both sides to focus on requirements and use common metrics. The pursuit of a common goal of meeting migration requirements encourages DevOps and IT to collaborate. Ideally, both sides contribute to solutions to meet important goals.

Finally, conventional DevOps culture often becomes so computationally "transactional" that it undervalues persistent data. IT typically has more experience with data management perspectives that prize data as long-term assets. Data management is a specialty distinct not only from DevOps, but also from system administration, network management, hardware, security, user experience, and all the other domains IT typically juggles. IT needs to be on the lookout to pair DevOps contributors with data managers who can advocate for persistence and other data virtues the DevOps practitioners otherwise ignore.


Collaboration and looping back the feedback is the key

Indeed cloud is the prime focus. The migration team must pass disputes about the cloud, and who and what is in it. Further, we need to forcefully express business goals and requirements, and promote their measurement and calibration. Once the implementation team unites DevOps and IT practitioners and perspectives, they can constructively collaborate on, rather than resentfully comply with, the migration. Make the most of DevOps' broad perspective on cooperation between development and operations, and IT's strengths in costing, data management, business continuity, and compliance.


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