Getting to DevOps Nirvana-Putting DevOps Management Front and Center

Eric Hoffman, VP, EastBanc Technologies and Oleg Chunikhin, Chief Software Architect, Technical Partner, EastBanc Technologies
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The adoption of DevOps processes is often touted as the cure-all solution for silo-centric enterprise IT cultures where business units and teams operate as individual entities, and processes and information are kept close to the chest. Yet the promise of DevOps—that of an agile relationship between developers and the rest of IT–is still a complicated one that continues to pose release management challenges.

Today’s IT environments are complex and heterogeneous. Even in the DevOps world, these IT systems must still be monitored for compliance and availability, secured and scaled, load balanced and configured, without interruption.

Pre-DevOps Habits Hamper Success

The problem for the DevOps enterprise is that there’s no universal, easy set of tools to address these essentials. With a team mainly focused on development, it’s almost impossible to manage DevOps software problems out-of-the-box. Implemented incorrectly or poorly managed, many pre-DevOps habits have the risk of being carried over.  As problems arise, such as release management glitches or broken disaster recovery processes, they are dealt with then and there or ignored until they reach critical mass. Moreover, it is a time-consuming process that is repeated again and again.

‚Äč  Instead of focusing on manual fixes, the forward-thinking enterprise must put DevOps management front and center on the radar  

It’s a painful cycle that gnaws away at the very promise of DevOps–the ability to meet customer demand for services through agile, fast, and stable workflows that ensure the optimal running of software, with minimal glitches.

It’s Time to Give `DevOps Management its Due

Instead of focusing on manual fixes, the forward-thinking enterprise must put DevOps management front and center on the radar. By streamlining, standardizing, and unifying mission-critical IT functions (such as backup and disaster recovery) organizations will save money, and ensure business continuity.

However, it takes awareness and exploration to reach this state of nirvana. Most deployments are architected in unique ways. Re-architecting your infrastructure is painful, costly, and fraught with risk. At the same time, a lack of repeatable solutions for infrastructure-level problems is still a source of inefficiency.

So re-architecture is off the table. And without an off-the-shelf, standardized solution, what are the options?

A number of trends are emerging that aim to tackle this discrepancy–but they come with a big fat disclaimer—none check all the boxes. Let’s take a look.

Cluster Management Software

Cluster management software, such as Docker Swarm and Kubernetes, is developing as an important and required component of DevOps architecture – they also play especially well with cloud technologies, but aren’t contingent on it. By opening a way to abstract out common aspects of software operations, such as backups, efficiencies are introduced into highly complex systems deployment and management tasks.

Containerization and PaaS for SaaS-like DevOps Management

Another trend is driven by the convergence of IaaS, PaaS, and SaaS. As organizations seek the flexibility of IaaS, along with SaaS-like time-to-market, new DevOps approaches are evolving that satisfy this need. One such approach combines containerization technology and PaaS to provide SaaS-like characteristics for custom software (faster service delivery, out-of-the-box production quality, reliability security, disaster recovery, etc.).

By reducing the need for custom software development, lowering maintenance costs, and streamlining previously complex approaches, the SaaS and PaaS cluster management market is advancing to satisfy the need for out-of-the-box quality functionality while relieving the pressure on DevOps teams. It’s an approach that also introduces automation (across the board). With many of the DevOps processes now automated, organizations will also realize cost reductions as less expertise is required for over-arching DevOps workflows.

Quick Action Can Help CIOs Realize DevOps Upside

It’s important to recognize that there are no quick fixes here and no one-size fits all approach. But recognizing the problem, before it’s too late, can help smart CIOs realize the true upsides of DevOps.

You can’t buy DevOps. Yes, there are tools and products that help, like the ones discussed above. But every quick fix tool or solution must be integrated to back-end systems and compatible with existing environments—something that’s difficult in increasingly complex hybrid environments. Everything must work together to create that seamless, unified DevOps experience.

It’s not all doom and gloom though. Many CIOs are exploring and investigating DevOps. They’re uncovering ways that DevOps concepts and challenges can fit in their organizations. They’re looking to eliminate the burden of non-repeatable cycles, and strike a balance between the demands of the business and the need to operate in a compliant, stable, and secure environment.

The trick is to act now before such co-interdependencies become unmanageable. Before processes are broken and critical systems are out of synch.

Supercharge your DevOps Efforts

Where does the future lie? With no one-size-fits-all, the best advice is to look for a solution that is based on modern leading technologies, that unifies and simplifies containerized software management. A PaaS solution can provide many benefits because it provides pluggable infrastructure services that are extensible and ready-to-use, making it easier to configure new services, introduce development efficiencies, and take care of the majority of operational concerns that arise on the road to DevOps. DevOps automation and cluster management technologies also augment cloud strategy and multiply its benefits by an order of magnitude.

Bringing it all together, a solution that combines best practices and modern open source DevOps, containerization, and cloud technologies provides a powerful platform for robust, production quality, elastic, scalable infrastructural services (security, backup, disaster recovery, logging and monitoring, scaling up or down, portability, continuous delivery, cost optimization, and more).

It’s a smart approach that compliments and unifies your DevOps efforts—streamlining custom software development and delivery and giving your IT team the freedom to build great software and deliver business value. With inherent flexibility of the cloud and open source, you can also supercharge your DevOps automation with the option of pre-packaged, production-ready, open source software components such as identity management, single sign-on, business intelligence and analytics, data storage, etc.—all of which can be readily integrated into existing infrastructures.

So while the future may seem uncertain, it’s important to recognize and leverage the transformative power of DevOps. Done well (and managed with forethought), DevOps breaks down the walls that stall application roll-out, drives more productive collaboration, and puts products into the hands of your customers, before the competition is even out of testing mode.

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