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Software Development Reset – DevOps Epiphany

 

Resistiré - Para seguir viviendo, Soportaré los golpes y jamás me rendiré, Y aunque los sueños se me rompan en pedazos, Resistiré, Resistiré Resistiré   --  by Dúo Dinámico

Introduction

In such an uncertain times with the tragic outbreak of Covid-19, the disease that has been traveling the world for weeks, spreading panic and destruction, our world will radically change. This crisis is not just another crisis, but a crisis that involves society as a whole because it forces it to leave its comfort zones and adopt new ways of work, study and relationships. 

It’s too early to say precisely how Covid-19 pandemic will impact work and of course, the IT Sector, but when this terrible pandemic passes, IT will not be the same, because the world will not be.

As a result, it is obvious that many organizations are going to have to re-engineer its business and IT processes and how they are consumed plus redefine its ways of producing their products and services. The now well-known slogan in every country of “Stay-at-Home” may be a consequence of this crisis in the future with working from home becoming a norm rather than an exception (as Gartner in a recent post suggests)

Within many software development environments in many organisations, software design, creation and testing is done “on-premise” and behind the corporate firewall with operations and development working in an office environment. DevOps teams although perhaps they are using the principles of DevOps are still working within the four walls of an office environment.  Also many organisations aspirational goals to adopt DevOps working practices is still perhaps a pipe-dream. 

Nonetheless, with the new reality of working from home, DevOps practices are going to be looked at in reducing the development cycle through continuous integration and delivery but remotely.

I believe as a consequence of this dreadful crisis, the need to produce more web-enabled products and services at speed will become a priority for many more organisations who will therefore look to get their applications to be “cloud-enables or even cloud-native”.

Hence embracing DevOps processes, strategy and cultural ethos in the remote working environment can ultimately safeguard companies going forward by harmonizing remote agile, collaboration and automation tools and practices throughout its development environment. This end-to-end process can bring together users, developers and IT operations through the applications of Continuous Integration, Delivery and Testing processes within automation pipelines.

A well-defined structure for remote work, paired with good remote tools can ensure that development team’s productivity remains high, speed is embraced plus the quality of code is maintained through static and dynamic code analysis tools.

Virtual DevOps Team-Work throughout the nightVirtual DevOps Team-Work throughout the night

Three Steps to get to Remote DevOps

I suggest that the following three basic remote DevOps principles needs to be considered when approaching DevOps Remotely

 

  • Remote Teamwork is essential.  Sitting down with a colleague at their desk is not available, you will need to use remote communications tools to chat and collaborate. But in this remote world it is essential to explain the problem comprehensively with well-thought-out descriptions and documentation. Eye contact and body language will not be the key to understanding, documentation will be.  As last developers will be forced to document their software.   

 -  Obviously, remote working provides better work-life-balance in terms of the flexibility of work and when to work in a 24hr period; but it will mean that working from home cannot be an island and needs to be integrated fully into the corporate ethos and standards through effective communications and contact.  Additionally, the Corporate security policies need to be maintain end-2-end through effective security tools, encryption and policies – for example through HPE’s GitHub repository teams can securely share code safely with the appropriate fine-grained access controls and effective two-factor authentication 

 

  • Corporate Continuous Integration within a Remote World is mandatory. Developers writing code like the young hackers in the bedrooms will require secure access to the corporate environment so that they can spin up a container, run their code and start testing.  But within a CI pipeline automated services will take that code, spin up a container and run all the needed tests and standards (formats).  This pipeline will provide the results back to the users in seconds, provide a repository for all code (like HPE's GitHub) and all in an automated way.

 

  • Corporate Continuous Deployment within the Remote World is mandatory where code is automatically merged safely into the master production environment by wrapping the code in a bundle, creating a new container and deploying it.  IT Production and system administration staff (also working remotely) can instantly not only view it but support it.

 

Fundamental to these three steps towards remote DevOps is the need to have an effective Cloud working experience that developers can trust and use/consume.  This Cloud service must be designed with DevOps in mind in terms of the required performance for a development environment, a true Platform as a Service (PaaS) provision.

Which means that it must go over and above the basic well known marketing terminology of cloud services, ie elasticity (which we need to provision the right cloud services on request), agility (for rapid testing and experimentation environments), self-provisioning (for dynamic service utilization within an auto-scaling environment) and security (for appropriate access, firewalls, VPNs, Secure Endpoints, etc)

Through a Cloud service DevOps developers will get the level of redundancy needed to continue to work, all their work will be automatically backed up and there will be a minimizing of process interruptions.

 

Conclusion

This is a start to remote DevOps working world but you could even go further and automate many of the administration jobs by setting up measurements and metrics that will auto-manage the space and performance requirements of the containers, servers, etc which in turn could lead to a NoOps nirvana

DevOps will come of age after this frightful crisis with in particular the basic norm of collaborative working within a remote environment a mandatory condition.  It is always been said that transitioning to DevOps is, first and foremost a cultural shift, and then a process and organisational shift.  The need for remote working has highlighted the need to work differently – with open collaboration, trust, working to an output not a time, reduction in the human touch which have always been part of the DevOps Culture. 

Finally, in this period of change that this terrible virus has plunged the world in, we must not have fear, as Seneca states “we mustn’t remove fear,we simply need to change our relationship toward it”.  Leader must stand out and work in what I term “the olive style” – bearing fruit without the display of flowers. Leaders must orient themselves in navigating through uncertainty. As I have advocated for many years now, strong leadership and advocacy is critical for DevOps to evolve and bear fruit, in addition to shifting-left culturally in a changing world. BUT more than ever we cannot “take time”, it must be done now. Speed of change is essential

 

“Change is the only thing that is permanent” – Albert Einstein

 

 

Gets started with DevOps and your transformation today by visiting our HPE Pointnext Website.

 

Mario Devargas
WW Strategic Transformation, Governance & Operations Practice - Strategic CIO Advisor
Hewlett Packard Enterprise

 @MarioDevargas2
 mario-devargas 

Article reviewed by: Mark Wilkinson

Previous blogs by Mario Devargas:  DevOps – It’s an IT thing, isn’t it?

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About the Author

MarioDevargas

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.