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DevOps & On-Demand Flexible Consumption
The use of “as a service” technology is not new; as far back as 1954, John Backus at MIT was defining the use of “time-sharing” of “big computers” as a way for small machines to access technology on demand. This has evolved today to the use of Hybrid IT, where businesses seek to balance the benefits of cloud via its flexibility and pay-per-use charges with the control and security of on premises infrastructure. Customers can now consume as much technology as their appetite and affordability will allow them. IDC in its report “As a Service” IT Consumption Model for Digital Business Innovation noted that by 2020 (only a couple of years from now) “as a service” and/or pay-as-you-go hybrid computing will be the norm. This model of technology consumption will continue to evolve even further with agile and flexible software development methodologies such as DevOps.
Hybrid DevOps World
But what will the CIO do to manage such a mixed bag of internal and external technology services to maximize value for its business?
For decades CIOs have been really good at managing supply – because normally it never changed. All that was needed was a good alert and threshold system to provide a warning when capacity was running low. Planning was all about moving thresholds to ensure IT never ran out of supply. However, the world has changed with “as-a-service” offerings, whether they be SaaS, IaaS, DaaS etc. being spun up at anyone’s whim – directly by both business units and more dangerously Shadow IT sections, bypassing the CIO/IT department. Consequently, a CIO can perceive that true governance due to as-a-service cloud trends can be rather nebulous.
However, it is still essential for the CIO to gather a deep and continuous understanding of demand across the enterprise in order to ensure their hybrid infrastructure is fit-for-purpose “on average” and then purchase services through a cloud to address peaks in demand when needed. – ie a hybrid consumption based environment and its services that allows CIOs to manage spikes in business demands.
With a DevOps culture it becomes easier to understand demand profiles for different applications as there is a greater amount of collaboration between developers and operations staff. Additionally, there is a need to ensure that capacity planners are part of the design, build, and run application lifecycle to ensure continuous capacity management.
Furthermore, the need for CIOs and business leaders to understand and map demand properly means that by using automation and creating just-in-time computing services, they can manage peaks and troughs accordingly and only pay for what they consume. Experience demonstrates that capacity management and demand planning has been one of the most difficult issues to manage for CIOs. Oftentimes it feels as though a crystal ball is required to predict what capacity the business needs.
DevOps, flexible cloud services, and continuous delivery have all simplified this issue for today’s CIO. As DevOps practices help organizations speed up the continuous delivery cycle of designing, building and running new application instances, the demand for compute power and storage is constantly changing. Making sure that your infrastructure strategy supports an “as a service” business model means that it must scale with business demands, perform with low latency, allow mixed workloads, and ensure cost efficiency.
The hybrid IT world has unfolded in this way – in-house technology services coupled with pay-as-you-go services. This is the compelling proposition of HPE GreenLake solutions, such as Flex Capacity. With HPE GreenLake, CIOs gain the flexibility to pay for what the business needs today through a consumption-based payment model that aligns the CIO’s revenue and capital flow to actual usage. In addition, experts from HPE Pointnext perform active capacity management to ensure there is always capacity ahead of demand and help the CIO forecast future needs.
The diagram below shows how it works. HPE works with the CxOs/CIOs to project their capacity needs and set a minimum commitment level. Then HPE creates a local buffer of IT resources that the CIO can dip into as needed. Contrast that with the traditional approach to infrastructure procurement where resources acquired to cover future capacity needs end up sitting idle, tying up capital that could be used to benefit the business. As well, long procurement cycles hamper the line of business owners’ ability to take advantage of new opportunities, to react quickly to gain advantages in the market.
With HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity, the CIO can smooth out surges in capacity requirements, paying only for what they use.
The freedom to flex in terms of the consumption requirements gives development teams the ability to move faster. DevOps culture and its methodologies for development, test, release and delivery will thrive even further with the freedom to innovate by trying new ideas quickly as “the required capacity” is on tap. This will require a closer collaboration between DevOps teams, QA and operations, aided by predictive analytics from the data collected in the test environments to analyze future needs. Production environment teams will be able to identify potential threats to services due to insufficient capacity and take action before any disruption to business occurs. The key is to “flow” through the end-to-end process from requirement, DevOps process, supply chain and delivery to the customer – as Bruce Lee says - Water can flow, or it can crash. Be water, my friend.” – Bruce Lee
Careful capacity and performance planning and governance are especially necessary in hybrid virtualized world. By powering up your DevOps processes with insight from this continuous analysis of capacity data across development, QA and operations, you can ensure true agility rather than just speed.
This “linkage” between DevOps and Flex Capacity can (and very likely will) nurture and increase empathy to value chain, improve faster feedback/automation and continual growth through real value to customers.
In summary – traditional monitoring tools were not designed to be shared across multiple teams within an organization, nor were they designed for applications that change constantly. DevOps solutions must consume data from end-users as well as from their IT infrastructure colleagues. They must ensure they understand multiple cloud providers and on-premise data centres that provide IT services across the whole IT service stack (presentation, applications, integration and data layers). DevOps teams must be able to correlate the transaction path from the point of customer interaction all the way through to the IT infrastructure that supports it. And of course it must be easy (intuitive!) to use in order to quickly diagnose problems, data source disparities and be able to continuously deliver business-ready applications. The symbiont integration of DevOps and HPE GreenLake has come of age.
And this change means that the way organisations deliver these services and operate the DevOps methodology has to change. So be prepared for organizational change, re-training, and adopting new ways of working.
For more information on HPE GreenLake and how it can assist CIOs in managing their Hybrid Environments please click here.
Also, for further information in the development of strategic roadmaps for DevOps within the enterprise and the effective use of HPE GreenLake Flex Capacity, engage in an HPE Transformation Workshops via the following link: https://www.hpe.com/uk/en/services/consulting.html
or DevOps Transformation Experience Workshop through our Strategic Customer Engagement Centres: https://www.hpe.com/uk/en/about/executive-briefing-centers.html
and more specifically our DevOps Workshops, include DevOps Awareness:
“If I have the belief that I can do it, I shall surely acquire the capacity to do it even if I many not have it at the beginning”
– Mahatma Gandhi
WW Strategic Transformation
Hewlett Packard Enterprise
Previous blogs by Mario Devargas:
CIO Advisor, World Wide Strategic Transformation, Governance & Operations CoE -- Mario is sixty+ year-old Spaniard with English undertones – living in Preston, North West England. He has worked in the Information Technology field for over 35 years, most recently in the Public Sector as IT Director for a Northern UK Metropolitan Council and as CIO for the second largest Police Force in the UK. As a Senior Executive he majors on advising organisations on Corporate IS Strategy, Enterprise Agile, DevOps, Collaborative Shared IS services and building and leading high-performing IS teams.
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