Inside Look at State of DevOps Report: Q&A With Puppet Labs

Last week Puppet Labs released the analysis behind its annual study of DevOps and continuous delivery practices in the 2015 State of DevOps Report. Now in its fourth year, the report offers an in-depth look at the findings of the team on what it means to be a high-performance IT organization—the cultural characteristics these organizations share, the lean engineering practices they engage in and the technical architectures they depend upon.  Like last year,  however, the report tends to be a bit of a black box when it comes to actual statistical findings. While some figures do make it through, for example the oft-flogged statistic of high-performance organizations deploying 30 times as fast with 200 times the lead time of low performers stands pat, the report itself is somewhat oblique about the statistical basis upon which the designators of low-, medium-, and high-performance were determined. DevOps.com spoke to Nigel Kersten, CIO ...

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Deliver faster, but don’t sacrifice quality

Developing applications, and deploying servers faster are great goals. Being agile and streamlined can give an organization a clear competitive advantage. However, faster does not equal better, and being speedy for the sake of being speedy can lead to avoidable mistakes. Faster is only better if you can achieve greater speed without sacrificing quality. At the same time companies are racing to be faster than their rivals, they’re also dealing with an increasingly complex IT infrastructure. IT environments are becoming highly heterogeneous—merging physical, virtual, and cloud platforms, and combining legacy systems with cutting edge technologies. The challenges of managing such a diverse IT infrastructure simply add to the potential issues that can arise as organizations try to work faster. That is where DevOps plays an important role. DevOps tools and technologies establish a process chain between development and deployment. It enables organizations and IT admins to reliably track and understand ...

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Equalizing IT infrastructure with DevOps

IT is getting more complex. Managing on-premise servers, cloud servers, and hybrid environments that span various operating systems and standards creates challenges for IT admins. DevOps technologies and platforms, however, can be an equalizing force among the cloud chaos—making it easier for organizations to deploy servers and applications quickly and consistently regardless of platform or environment. Once upon a time most organizations were fairly standardized. Servers were located on-premise in some sort of closet or data center, and IT admins knew exactly what operating system they were working with. Now, those servers may be physical or virtual, on-premise or in the cloud, Windows or Linux, Azure or Amazon, and in many cases IT admins are dealing with an infrastructure that amounts to an all-of-the-above approach. As the name implies, the core of the DevOps movement is to remove the barriers between developers and operations. Many of the tools and technologies ...

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Microsoft determined not to get left behind by DevOps

Microsoft is a massive company—a behemoth with a lot of inertia, and a lot of bureaucracy in place that make it difficult to adapt quickly. Under Satya Nadella, however, Microsoft is striving to re-invent itself, and—to the extent that it is possible—become more agile. For evidence of Microsoft’s new philosophy, look at how Microsoft is aggressively embracing concepts like open source and DevOps that used to be viewed as pariahs. I wrote recently about the partnership between Microsoft and Docker. Microsoft added support for Docker containers in the Azure cloud platform within Linux virtual machines earlier this year, but then it upped the ante by announcing that it will support Docker natively in the next version of Windows Server, and that it is working closely with Docker on an open source project to drive development of the Windows engine for Docker. “An important aspect of this announcement is the noticeable ...

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Trolling PuppetConf: Surveying Configuration Management

Troll (Internet) In Internet slang, a troll (/ˈtroʊl/, /ˈtrɒl/) is a person who sows discord … by starting arguments or upsetting people,[1] by posting inflammatory,[2] extraneous, or off-topic messages in a… community …with the deliberate intent of provoking readers into an emotional response[3] or of otherwise disrupting normal on-topic discussion.[4]  -Wikipedia When I stopped by the Chef booth at Velocity Santa Clara this year Nathen Harvey was out of XL t-shirts. I happened to have a Puppet shirt on at the time too, but it was just a lucky coincidence. Nathen’s always advocated using something (anything) to automate your infrastructure, as the ‘A’ in the CALMS model for devOps stands for automation, but the look on his face when I crossed his line of sight was as delightfully awkward as it could have been. Nathen told me he’d get me a Chef shirt if I got him my address back ...

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Harvard Business Review Survey: IT responsiveness predicts business success

Increasingly, the C-suite is finding that the speed with which companies today are able to take advantage of new technology and exploit their IT operations determines the success of the entire business. A new survey out by the Harvard Business Review and Oracle this week shows that IT responsiveness stands as a huge arbiter of overall business agility, which starts with CIO leadership and trickles down into the way organizations leverage processes and technology. The results can be seen as a testament to why DevOps practices are gaining momentum in so many organizations, as respondents report a nearly one-to-one relationship between IT’s ability to react to business demands and overall business performance. “Leaders are focusing on speed and broadening their view of where IT begins and ends,” the report explains. “They’re rethinking roles and relationships—and their own value proposition. And they’re making sure their company doesn’t miss opportunities because the ...

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Q & A: Puppet Labs CIO Nigel Kersten

We recently spoke with Nigel Kersten, CIO at Puppet Labs, regarding high-performance IT and trends he sees in continuous integration in his role at Puppet Labs. Nigel joined Puppet Labs from Google HQ, where he was “Puppet Master” and responsible for the design and implementation of one of the world’s largest Puppet deployments. Kersten is also an experienced Linux and Mac deployment sysadmin. In case you aren’t familiar, Puppet Labs provides IT automation system configuration and management software, which is used by start-ups to very large enterprises. Here is our discussion with Nigel, where we talk the recent Puppet Labs DevOps report and high-performance organizations. DevOps.com: In the 2014 State of DevOps Report, there seems to be a relationship between high-performance IT and high-performance companies. Can you see the causation and what correlation is there? Is it high-performance companies driving high-performance IT, or is it high-performance IT driving the high-performance ...

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Microsoft bridges the gap between Azure and DevOps

DevOps can be easy for a startup. Many of the concepts and principles of DevOps come quite naturally to a fresh company just getting started. It’s a different story, however, for large, established enterprises trying to wrap their arms around this DevOps thing. For IT admins working in Microsoft’s Azure cloud platform, though, things just got a lot easier thanks to the integration of Chef and Puppet Labs. Many organizations are heavily invested in the Microsoft ecosystem. IT teams and administrators are familiar with Windows domains, Active Directory, Hyper-V, and Azure. They know how to write scripts and leverage PowerShell to get things done, but they’re much less familiar with the core principles of DevOps, or common DevOps automation tools like Chef and Puppet Labs. One of the driving forces of DevOps is the ability—or perhaps necessity—to automate those tasks that can be automated so IT resources are freed up ...

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DevOps Dirty Little Secrets

By all outward appearances DevOps is gaining real velocity within IT shops worldwide, Duh tell you something you don’t know. I have read much on this topic as I am sure you have, but I never seem to read much with hard data results, other than we are doing great with some very broad  metrics. What are the hard numbers as compared to the legacy IT shop?  So my search begins; where in the world are devops metrics in Fortune 500/Enterprise organizations? What got me thinking about this were a couple of recent AppDynamics blogs “Measuring your devops success” and   “Quantifying the value of devops”.  Both blogs do an excellent job at breaking down DevOps to the implementation level. Hard data creates metrics that set a baseline with the legacy system that is the critical measurement component, without a baseline there is nothing to compare or measure against. This approach ...

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Partnership Between Tufin, Puppet Labs Indicates Need for Security Baked Into DevOps

A recent partnership between the IT automation developers at Puppet Labs and the security policy orchestration gurus at Tufin Technologies could start setting the pace for how orchestration of security policies can more easily be baked into DevOps practices. Announced at last month’s RSA Conference, the partnership yielded an integration between Puppet Enterprise and Tufin Orchestration Suite. This will make it possible for joint customers to streamline the configuration and provisioning of security policy changes to iptables, a host-based firewall commonly found on physical and virtual Linux servers. “We expect Security Policy Orchestration to become a core requirement for our customers,” says Nigel Kersten, CIO at Puppet Labs. “Integrating with Tufin enables our customers to quickly and effectively address connectivity requirements across the enterprise without compromising security.” The integration is an indication of the market’s need for better tools to help DevOps shops speed up the pace of application and ...

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