DevOps is popular right now. So it should come as no surprise that organizations across all industries are eager to embrace the “DevOps culture.” However, unlike ITIL, implementing DevOps into an organization does not happen overnight.
Compared to companies such as Netflix or Amazon, most organizations do not have thousands of application deployments per day. In fact, it’s usually newer companies that are able to fully embrace DevOps, since all of their business operations rely on IT already.
DevOps Philosophy > Procedure
There are many articles out there that try to define DevOps, but DevOps is more of a philosophy than a procedure. If you polled 100 organizations on their experiences implementing a DevOps strategy within their existing business processes, you’d likely get 100 different answers.
An organization’s journey toward DevOps is usually unique, since there are so many different factors that influence a DevOps integration. These include the size and age of the company, what industry it’s in (banking/finance, retail, health care, e-commerce, education, public services), how sophisticated its technology is, the nature of its IT (data center or SaaS), organizational structure (siloed or integrated), development methodology (agile or waterfall), the nature of its mission-critical applications (Web 2.0, virtualized, client-server … ) and more. For most companies that exist outside of the startup ecosystem and rely on Web 2.0 and agile application development, Dev and Ops just don’t get along.
Dev vs. Ops
Trying to collaborate with Dev and Ops can feel like trying to mix oil and vinegar if the goals of each department are not aligned. As a result, IT’s ability to deliver maximum business value is greatly reduced. To efficiently drive the business forward, Dev and Ops must get along.
Most often, the conflict between Dev and Ops is because the focus of one department is at odds with the focus of the other, which creates tension when it comes time to collaborate with one another. While Development is focused on continuously delivering new products and/or features to meet business needs, IT Operations strives to preserve the availability and the stability of IT services and the IT cost-efficiency.
DevOps Can’t Be Limited by Tools
First, for a seamless collaboration to occur between Dev and Ops, both departments must use compatible tools. Mismatched toolsets create bottlenecks, misunderstanding and miscommunications, which result in so much wasted time that the implementation process ends up hurting the business.
Next, processes must align; compatible toolsets with conflicting processes are useless. For example, it’s not unusual to find the service desk is using a ticketing system which is separate from the application development tools used to manage product defects and enhancements.
Developers tend to rely on toolsets that are optimized for rapid development to provide fast feedback on code changes, to automate build creation and for application release deployments. In addition, the Dev team may be unaware of the runtime environment, which makes it difficult to adjust the code accordingly, whereas Operations uses solutions on the target runtime environment, where stability and performance outstrip flexibility requirements.
Since the integration process is unique to each organization, it’s key to find tools that are the right fit for your new processes and employees. Just because a team uses the latest application release automation tools to consistently drive repeatable deployments of application into production, does not mean they have adopted DevOps.
In fact, version control, application release automation and application auto-discovery of business transactions are all tools that help developers meet their objectives, but may not address the other portion of the equation: Operations.
At the end of the day, one of the most important decisions is choosing the right leadership team across your business—from your C-level executive team to the heads of your Dev and Ops teams. The integration process for DevOps can be difficult; to merge two separate departments and processes together to drive collaboration, both the Dev and Ops team need leaders with clear vision of the bigger picture and what’s needed from everyone to drive the company’s forward.
About the Author/Vincent Geffray
Vincent Geffray is Senior Director of Product Marketing at Everbridge with focus on IT Service Alerting & Communications Automation and IoT.
He has more than 14 years of experience in the information technology business, designing, promoting and selling Enterprise IT Operations Management solutions, including Critical Communications, Application Performance Management, IT Process and Workload Automation. He also has international experience, as he started his career in Europe. Vincent holds a Master of Science (Mechanical Engineering and Computer Science) and executive certificates from the MIT – Sloan School of Management.
Vincent’s LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/vgeffray
Vincent’s Twitter: @vgeffray