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 that comprise the DevOps movement, however, also have the added benefit of providing a consistent, modular approach to developing and deploying applications and infrastructure. Those technologies also reduce friction between on-premise and cloud environments, and allow organizations to streamline operations across different platforms and operating systems.
“One of the biggest reasons for the increased interest in DevOps tools and practices is because businesses have to move and iterate faster today than at any other time in history,” declared Tim Zonca, director of product marketing for Puppet Labs. “So IT teams are pursuing DevOps flows, where development and operations practices, systems, and tools work in lockstep.”
As IT infrastructures become more complex, DevOps becomes more crucial. Expansion of IT across physical, virtual, and cloud environments make even minor inconsistencies into critical issues as organizations grow, and brings additional burden to address those problems.
Many DevOps technologies revolve around using virtualization to deploy applications inside pre-built environments, or modular blocks that can be deployed and re-used across various platforms and environments. These tools remove most of the chaos, and enable organizations to simplify deployment across virtually any infrastructure.
Docker is a great example of the impact DevOps is having. Docker containers enable developers to package an application, and transport it anywhere Docker containers are supported without modification to the virtual environment. As Docker continues to spread influence across Azure, Parallels, and other cloud and virtual platforms, it is asserting itself as an equalizing force that eliminates the need to even care what the underlying infrastructure or operating systems are.
Puppet Labs is another illustration of the equalizing force of DevOps. Zonca explained, “Puppet makes it easy to standardize and add consistency to your infrastructure so you can make fast, repeatable changes across physical and virtual machines, on premises or in the cloud. Because these tools create a predictable environment, you don’t have to worry about a simple update taking down an entire system your business relies on.”
James Bottomley, CTO of server virtualization for Parallels, suggests that even DevOps has its limitations, though, and that it could eventually get in the way of advancing productivity. “However, one cannot help thinking that DevOps, while a leveler, is also a separator because it is only accessible to developers with the Ops skill, not to all developers. Additionally, the utility of DevOps depends upon the availability of Infrastructure and, while IaaS is clearly the dominant Cloud technology today; it won’t be forever. At that point, one might imagine that the DevOps technique might impede rather than assist the next paradigm shift in the cloud.
For now at least, DevOps technologies enable developers and IT admins to take a modular, platform-agnostic approach to many aspects of applications and infrastructure to simplify and streamline regardless of the underlying environments or operating systems.