ServiceNow this week, as part of a massive Paris update to its core software-as-a-service (SaaS) platform for managing IT operations, has extended its DevOps integration efforts by adding connectors for Microsoft Azure DevOps (ADO) and Atlassian Jira platforms.
Pablo Stern, senior vice president for IT workflow products at ServiceNow, said those connectors are the latest in a series of moves that ServiceNow is making available to bridge the divide between traditional IT service management (ITSM) and DevOps processes.
ServiceNow this week also announced it adding a Process Automation Designer tool to its App Engine platform for building applications on the ServiceNow platform. IT teams will be able to use that tool to create workflows spanning ITSM and DevOps processes, noted Stern.
In addition, ServiceNow announced enhancements to its Flow Designer and IntegrationHub tools to simplify the building of workflows, and unlocked a Source Control function across its application portfolio.
Finally, Service Now is now bringing third-party data into the ServiceNow Service Graph and Configuration Management Database to make it easier to integrate ServiceNow tools with those from partners such as SolarWinds.
Stern said the ServiceNow strategy is not to build a DevOps platform, but rather to foster interoperability across what has become a broad DevOps ecosystem. Most IT teams are now trying to create workflows that span traditional ticket-based approaches to manage IT processes and DevOps teams that routinely leverage programming tools to automate those processes, so the goal is to enable each organization to strike a balance between those approaches as they best see fit, said Stern, citing JP Morgan as a customer using ServiceNow connectors to DevOps platforms to achieve that goal.
Very few IT organizations are relying on DevOps processes end to end to manage IT. Organizations have been managing IT using processes based on the ITIL framework for several decades. The challenge they face is ITIL-based processes are not often agile enough to support digital business initiatives that typically require rapid responses to any event, especially when the application involved generates revenue for the business. Every second of downtime or sub-optimal performance impacts the bottom line. Minimizing disruptions to those applications requires more reliance on both automated DevOps and DevSecOps processes.
Naturally, the arguments over the merits of DevOps versus ITIL approaches to managing IT will remain unabated for years to come. Proponents of ITIL approaches often note there are applications that are so critical to the business that a more deliberate approach to rolling them out and updating them is an absolute requirement.
Regardless of IT philosophy, it’s clear IT and DevOps processes will be employed side-by-side for many years come. The number of IT operations professionals who have the programming skills required to automate IT processes is still fairly limited compared to the total population of IT administrators. As such, IT teams might want to focus less on the debate itself in favor of determining where they are on the maturity curve when it comes to managing IT. Once that’s determined, it then becomes a lot easier to discern the next step in their IT journey.