There’s always a sexy new tech buzzword flying around, and it’s easy to fall into the trap of assuming that if a concept or technology is hot you need to hurry up and jump on board so you don’t miss anything. DevOps is hot, and seems to be almost ubiquitous these days. But that doesn’t mean that every organization should rush out and embrace DevOps.
Defining what it is exactly that you think you’re embracing can be a challenge. The concept of DevOps is a bit broad and ethereal in the first place. The number of vendors calling their products or services “DevOps” just because it’s sexy marketing muddies the waters and makes it more difficult to figure out what DevOps is, and how it’s supposed to benefit your organization.
Even if you think you have a fair grasp on what DevOps is, though, it still isn’t necessarily right for every organization. It CAN be right for most organizations, but there’s some introspection, and due diligence that has to come up front. More precisely, it isn’t necessarily right for every organization without a solid foundation of the right skills and resources, and an understanding of what you hope to accomplish, and how you plan to get there.
Nathen Harvey, community director at Chef, shared some insight on this topic. “Through immense feedback from our community, customers and contributors we’ve learned a lot about how and when an organization should begin a DevOps transition. In short, everyone should not immediately jump on the DevOps bandwagon.”
Harvey added, “DevOps is full of big ideas and big changes and therefore development and operations teams need to be prepared to work together through challenges and to collaborate toward a common goal.”
James Bottomley, CTO of server virtualization at Parallels, cautions, “DevOps processes are supposed to be accessible to anyone. However, since current DevOps lifecycles are based on virtual machines, they are really only accessible to those with the skills to manage virtual images and, to make use of the live VM, administer base systems and platforms.”
Bottomley explains that larger organizations often have the necessary skills available, and just have to marshal them toward a DevOps strategy. Small and medium businesses, on the other hand, often lack the appropriate resources.
“If you are a SMB you should consider carefully whether you have the necessary Ops skills in-house and if not, how you are going to obtain them (whether from a [service provider] or other form of management). Ongoing Ops skills are vital to proper VM maintenance (fixing security issues and the like), so you have to make sure you have an ongoing Ops capability, not just a one-time one when the virtual system was created.”
According to Chef’s Harvey, there are three specific areas organizations need to consider before embarking on a journey to embrace DevOps. They are the “Three C’s”: Character, Communications, and Community.
· Character requires trust, respect, empathy, learning and perseverance.
· Communication is meant to align objectives—such as setting metrics for everyone, and sitting close enough to easily collaborate with one another.
· Community can take many forms, whether engaging in podcasts, conferences, sharing code and more.
Don’t make the mistake of jumping on the DevOps bandwagon prematurely just for the sake of jumping on the DevOps bandwagon. It will be a frustrating experience almost doomed to fail and leave a bad taste in your mouth. Instead, take the time necessary to understand what DevOps means to you, figure out what you hope to accomplish by embracing DevOps, consider whether or not you actually have the skills and resources to make it happen, and develop a plan that includes the “Three C’s” so your DevOps journey can be a successful one.