Three Cheers for DevOps!
DevOps for customer-centricity
Transformation has put the customer front and center, and only truly innovative, purposeful and memorable experiences will ensure that continues. Businesses today must respond to changing customer needs at a faster pace than ever before. And quality must never suffer. The need to be more agile and deliver solutions faster with higher quality at a lower price is paramount.
Enter DevOps. Around for about a decade, DevOps grew from applying Agile, Lean and Design Thinking approaches to operations work. Today, it is rapidly becoming the dominant approach for delivering new applications and services. Comprised of an evolving set of tools, practices and methodologies, and relying heavily on automation, DevOps is proven to be faster, more efficient and more reliable than traditional software development methodologies.
Speed and adaptability are DevOps hallmarks. Agile and continuous workflow comprised of short sprints and frequent releases is executed in unison by highly-collaborative, cross-functional teams, bringing new services and products to market faster and with more reliability than ever before possible.
Close collaboration between development and operations is at the core of DevOps, which brings IT and business together to investigate new technologies and trends, define the specific business opportunities they make enable, and continuously and quickly deliver iterative releases of multiple applications that delight end users and advance business.
Most importantly, because DevOps is all about increasing the feedback loop from idea to customer and back again, customer-centricity remains the focus and guides continuous improvement.
DevOps for cloud migration
If you are in business today you are in the cloud. To varying degrees, of course, but in the cloud now and forever. Wherever you stand with your migration strategy, adopting a DevOps model can improve the speed and ensure success of all future migration initiatives. In fact, the overwhelming majority of cloud development projects employ DevOps.
The secret to a successful migration lies in a well-defined, phased and iterative approach that not only streamlines the process but also accelerates the outcome — making DevOps ideal for all your migration needs.
Automation is the key ingredient of DevOps and spans the entire lifecycle – enabling continuous integration, continuous testing, and continuous deployment, including application performance monitoring. This level of automation – the speed and efficiency automation engenders – is driving DevOps use among organizations in need of migrating applications to the cloud as quickly and affordably as possible.
DevOps automation helps address the needs of a successful cloud migration while improving the operational efficiency of the services. This includes both infrastructure and application deployment automation.
In a ‘Lift and Shift’ project (or what we at AST call ‘Move and Improve’), DevOp tools automatically set the infrastructure or deployment environment (networks, virtual machines, etc.) to the needed configuration, along with automating installation and patching of required products.
If you are re-factoring monolithic legacy apps for the cloud, DevOps is absolutely vital. Large-scale IT projects and the traditional, rigid, sequential and lengthy ‘waterfall’ model of IT delivery no longer make the grade. It takes too long, costs too much and, crucially, fails too often to deliver the expected benefits.
Speed, flexibility, accountability and value are the new guiding principals in re-designing core applications and business processes to leverage emerging technology. As such, businesses are fast-tracking DevOps initiatives to improve speed-to-market while ensuring quality.
DevOps for security
CEOs, CIOs, and business leaders need only scan news headlines to understand the potentially dire consequences of a security breach. Digital business moves at a faster pace than traditional business, and traditional security approaches designed for maximum control will no longer work in the new era of digital innovation. Clearly, security needs to undergo its own transformation.
All the while, the threat landscape is transforming before our eyes with malware, ransomware, and phishing attacks all rising rapidly. Regulatory changes such as GDPR that hold those with weak security and privacy processes financially accountable add even more pressure.
Most organizations run a complex web of legacy security technologies that don’t properly protect them from employees who now access work information across a mix of devices, locations and cloud apps. It is no surprise that many struggle to protect data and remain vigilant against threats. Too many tools operating in silo at once — and failing to communicate with each other — is a recipe for disaster.
A 2019 Symantec survey on cloud security threats reports that 65% of businesses in the cloud still aren’t using multi-factor authentication. The same survey also notes that an astounding 85% of Symantec’s cloud customers aren’t employing security best practices.
DevOps, more specifically its strict adherence to the ‘shift-left’ movement, incorporates continuous security and performance testing during every phase of the application lifecycle – from development to deployment and maintenance. By safeguarding the entire DevOps environment through strategies, policies, processes, and technology, security is both ‘baked-in’ and continuously enforced. In fact, many organizations trust in the support of service providers skilled in DevOps for automated, cloud-based, 24×7 security monitoring.
As DevOps and cloud continue to prove their collective value for enterprises, more and more CIOs are embracing the practice. However, DevOps demands much more than lip service. Many companies are quick to boast of DevOps implementation, but slow to demonstrate actual DevOps adoption.
After analyzing data collected from 603 global enterprise respondents responsible for their firms’ DevOps strategies, Forrester learned that firms with the most mature DevOps practices do several key things differently:
- Allocate proper testing budgets and focus on upgrading their testing skills
- Implement Continuous Testing to meet the demands of release frequency and support continuous delivery
- Include testers as part of their integrated delivery teams
- Automate end-to-end functional testing
- Shift-left testing to earlier in the development life cycle
According to the report, only 26% of non-CXOs reported that their organization was following all five of these best practices — but 57% of CXOs believed that they were. This is an important distinction. While many CXOs and high-level decision makers believe they are ahead of the pack, Forrester’s research shows that only the small fraction of firms that follow these best practices have more advanced Agile and DevOps practices compared to their peers — and their behaviors and attitudes support that assertion.
According to the report, “while most Agile and/or DevOps firms have implemented some of these five core testing practices, few have actually implemented all of them — only about a quarter of respondents say they somewhat or completely agree with all five best practice statements.”
We see it all the time at AST — companies are adopting the tooling but not the process changes or the cultural changes that underpin DevOps success. Beyond its many tools, DevOps is a culture or even a philosophy that fosters new levels of cross-functional team communication. DevOps is not easy. It requires top-down support, buy-in across the enterprise and mastery of its many tools to truly flourish.
If you want to implement DevOps in your organization, tap a trusted DevOps partner such as AST to help you understand its many advantages and use cases.
Contact AST today and let our DevOps experts help you speed up application development and cloud migration.