ServiceNow Makes the DevOps Connection

ServiceNow today announced it is extending the reach of its IT operations management platform to integrate with a variety of DevOps platforms.

Richard Hawes, director of product marketing for ServiceNow, said ServiceNow DevOps will provide IT operations teams relying on an ITIL-based framework accessed as a software-as-a-service (SaaS) application visibility into DevOps processes and events occurring in on-premises environments or public clouds.

At present, ServiceNow DevOps is available for financial services organizations based in the Northeast region of the United States and the UK. The service gradually will be rolled out to additional ServiceNow customers over the course of 2020. ServiceNow DevOps initially integrates with Jira Software, GitHub, BitBucket and Jenkins, with more integrations expected to be rolled out periodically.

Hawes said ServiceNow recognizes that IT organizations are building and deploying applications at rates that are faster than existing ITIL-based approaches can track. However, ITIL-based frameworks provide the highly structured set of processes around which the bulk of IT environments are managed. ServiceNow DevOps enables IT teams to automate change management tasks such as planning, development, testing, deployment and operations via a single dashboard surfacing a common set of metrics, he said. He added in many cases, those preset rules and policies will eliminate manual processes that often conspire to slow the rate at which applications can be deployed and updated within any IT environment, said Hawes.

No developers need to be involved in those processes because IT operations teams can set rules and policies, and developers will see their code running in production environments in a matter of minutes regardless of what tools they employ, said Hawes. That approach also will make it easier to scale DevOps across an enterprise IT organization at a time when adoption of DevOps is still uneven at best, he noted.

At the same time, that level of integration should also make it easier for IT teams to audit DevOps processes using a common framework to capture events such as when code is checked into a DevOps platform, he said. That capability is a critical requirement for any company trying to apply best DevOps processes with the context of a highly regulated industry such as financial services.

Hawes said the majority of organizations that have adopted ServiceNow to manage IT have also adopted a DevOps platform. Overall, Forrester Research reports 56% of global infrastructure decision-makers now report that their organizations are implementing, have implemented or are actively expanding their DevOps initiatives. ServiceNow doesn’t expect DevOps processes to supplant ITIL-based frameworks as much as it anticipates both approaches co-existing as they continue to evolve, he said.

With the release of the latest version of the ITIL framework, it’s apparent that the proponents of ITIL have come to recognize that IT needs to become more agile to meet the needs of digital business. The challenge they face is finding ways to enable IT teams to become more agile without sacrificing the gains in stability achieved over the course of the last two decades. With the launch of ServiceNow DevOps, the effort to find a middle ground between those two extremes can now begin in earnest.

Mike Vizard @mvizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.

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