DevOps is one of the most significant movements in IT of the past several years, and the same trends that are making DevOps so important – speed, automation, and iteration – are also opening up new opportunities for IT infrastructure management. DevOps, at heart, is a matter of adopting new philosophies of working as an IT team, while letting go of legacy processes and technologies that no longer deliver an adequate level of efficiency. DevOps is all about doing things in a more efficient, smart and cost-effective way by adopting the latest innovations, working across siloes to combine the strengths of different people on the team, and bringing different functions together to make a more responsive and effective DevOps organization.
In the same way, today’s IT operations analytics solutions are becoming more friendly to this spirit of collaboration, as infrastructure is becoming more complex and heterogeneous. DevOps teams have to work together in new ways, with different processes and different parts of the organization interacting in unique ways that might not have been expected just a few years ago. Similarly, today’s IT operations analytics world is evolving to run IT more smartly by taking advantage of new opportunities to manage the stack more efficiently.
Ultimately, the role of DevOps and the role of IT operations analytics are about developing competitive advantage. If your organization can use DevOps principles to build packages or release code faster or more accurately, you’re going to be ahead of the game compared to your competitors. If your organization can harness the power of the latest IT operations analytics innovations, you will similarly have a competitive edge because you will have a higher degree of control and visibility into what’s happening within your infrastructure. IT operations analytics can serve as an ideal complement to DevOps – because it helps to reinforce and protect the competitive advantage gains that are realized by DevOps.
Here’s what I mean by that statement: DevOps does a great job of combining speed, automation, and iteration. But as a practical issue, creating competitive advantage is more than new features, the apps you deliver must be reliable and high performance or customer expectations will not be met. IT operations analytics serves as a complement to the speed and agility of DevOps by identifying new innovation opportunities and providing “wow!” moments for the customer. With better IT operations analytics, you can exert better control over your IT infrastructure – and better control leads to bigger innovation opportunities, because you can keep the control in-house without having to rely on an outsourcer for identifying your innovation opportunities.
There are several market segments where the link between IT, the customer experience, and revenue are quite obvious. Optimizing online game play using real-time analytics is a great example, but the trend is much broader than that. With so much of the customer experience determined by IT systems, we are seeing more and more large customers moving to: (a) Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery to accelerate delivery and (b) IT operations analytics as the way to ensure service delivery. IT operations analytics helps create the stable foundation for the high-speed and dynamic innovations of CI/CD.
With DevOps opening up an unprecedented level of speed, it’s important to have the right tools in place to process significant volumes of data. This is another area where IT operations analytics serves as an ideal complement to DevOps – because today’s IT operations analytics tools are powered by Big Data and machine learning, making it possible to achieve new levels of scalability. Unlike just a few years ago when getting a Big Data system up and running required significantly more resources, companies can get a lot more Big Data bang for the buck today than was possible even 3 years ago.
Now, companies are focusing on the analytic applications on top of Big Data, which is how businesses will find the optimization and innovation opportunities. Companies like Netflix are leading the charge in how Big Data can be used, not only to ensure service levels but also to create great customer experiences. While customer data may be the “crown jewel” of a corporation, IT operational data is the “diamond in the rough” that companies will be mining for the next big wins. We are just barely scratching the surface of what is possible with Big Data analytics of IT operational data – by drawing upon a fuller picture of what’s happening within the stack (various applications, servers, shared services, etc.), today’s IT operations analytics tools are going to help IT managers identify new insights and innovation opportunities that would not have been possible in the pre-DevOps era.
Another lesson of today’s reality of DevOps and IT operations analytics is that the divide that used to exist between customers and IT is almost gone. The future of IT is represented by the Internet of Things (IoT), where every system and behavior is monitored and analyzed in real-time, triggering operational processes from turning off a light to delighting a customer. Everyday objects, from household appliances to cars, are going to get exponentially “smarter,” and our IT processes need to evolve along with them to continually analyze, evaluate and respond to the ever-shifting ocean of data that is silently speaking to us. While DevOps and CI/CD define the trend to more rapid innovation, the collection and analysis of the reams of data generated by systems and customers will be the key to finding and maintaining competitive advantage.
This is where IT operations analytics will have an ever-more-important role as a complement to DevOps – with Big Data analytics and machine learning tools becoming more responsive and integrated into the life of overall IT operations, our IT admins are going to have more powerful insights at their fingertips each day. The convergence of IT operations analytics and DevOps will be a virtuous cycle of enhanced speed, smarter automation, and better control of IT operations for more reliable service and more delightful customer experiences.
About the Author/Omer Trajman
Omer Trajman, Co-Founder and CEO of Rocana. Omer’s fifteen years of front-line business and technical experience guide his vision for Rocana. Leading teams responsible for some of today’s largest modern database management system deployments, Omer has worked with customers and partners to identify where Big Data technology solutions address business needs. Omer’s experience in Big Data includes responsibilities as Vice President of Technology Solutions at Cloudera, focusing on Cloudera’s technology strategy and communication. Prior to this role, Omer served as Vice President of Customer Solutions at Cloudera, which included responsibility for Cloudera University, Cloudera’s Architectural Services and Cloudera’s Partner Engineering team. Before joining Cloudera, Omer was responsible for the Cloud Computing, Hadoop and Virtualization initiatives at Vertica. Omer received his Bachelor’s degree in Computer Engineering from Tufts University and was a visiting scholar at Oxford University reading in Computation and Electrical Engineering with a focus on large scale distributed systems.