At the Dell EMC World 2017 conference this week, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger waded into an increasingly heated DevOps debate by suggesting that most developers are too “lazy” to be really interested in IT operations.
At a time when factions within the DevOps community are making the case for developers to be responsible for DevOps on an end-to-end basis, Gelsinger contends that most developers want to get out of being involved with IT operations as quickly as possible so they can spend more time developing applications.
The VMware approach to DevOps is closely aligned with Pivotal, a sister company operating under the Dell Technologies umbrella that curates an instance of the platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment developed by the Cloud Foundry Foundation.
Gelsinger notes that the two primary reasons developers have shifted workloads to public clouds is perceived costs and the fact that invoking infrastructure as a service (IaaS) via an application programming interface (API) is simpler. To combat both those issues, Dell EMC has been rolling out preintegrated converged and hyperconverged infrastructure that, for certain classes of workloads, is less expensive to own over multiple years. Those systems are optimized to run either VMware or Microsoft virtualization software within a software-defined data center that exposes IT infrastructure resources via APIs. In effect, Dell EMC is applying a cloud operating model on top of IT infrastructure deployed inside the data center to close what Gelsinger describes as an “easy gap” between public clouds and internal IT operations. As those systems are more widely deployed, Dell EMC and VMware jointly contend that IT organizations will be in a better position to inject more agility into their DevOps processes.
Many IT operations professionals have a vested interest in the outcome of those efforts because developers have been doing an end run around internal IT operations teams by deploying applications directly on to a public cloud. The challenge VMware recognizes, says Gelsinger, is that the entire DevOps space currently is chaotic. Each IT organization not only has a different view concerning to what level of DevOps integration it wants to achieve, but none of them are at the same point in making that DevOps journey. In fact, there’s a raging debate over the merits of PaaS environments versus lighter-weight container-as-a-service (CaaS) environments.
Dell EMC, in collaboration with VMware and Pivotal, has invested heavily in a Cloud Foundry platform that it makes available as a Pivotal Cloud Foundry (PCF) offering is increasingly automated, from an IT operations perspective. The latest version includes a rolling update capability that requires no human intervention. Pivotal claims one financial services customer has deployed 10,000 application containers on an instance of PCF that is managed by only four IT operations people. Couple that level of automation with the automation that VMware and Dell EMC are driving into the underlying IT infrastructure, and it shows that DevOps will be profoundly different than today. Less clear is who inside the IT organization will be exactly managing what.