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DevOps for everyone

  • Posted on May 7, 2015

In my previous post, I talked about the potential for DevOps to accelerate your business and the scenarios it can enable.  But, these scenarios may not apply to everyone.  Let’s say you’re working hard on a project to upgrade an aging system. Or maybe the project is the development of a brand new enterprise application you intend to deploy once, and then, perhaps, include phase two features next year, then you may be thinking, “why should I look at DevOps at all?”

In part, you’d be right.  The vast majority of IT applications out there don’t need the high-frequency continuous deployment systems that DevOps can provide.  But while this has been one of more publicized features, it is but one of many benefits that adopting a DevOps culture can provide.

“Aim for the stars and hit the moon,” that’s how I’d summarise why everyone should be looking at DevOps.  Even if you don’t need high-frequency deployments, the disciplines embedded in DevOps can benefit everyone:

  • Reduce the risk of deployment failure
  • Increase application maintainability
  • Improve application insight

Reduce the Risk of Deployment Failures

Whether your application is being deployed once every minute or just once, DevOps can reduce the risk of deployment failure that could otherwise set you back weeks or cause you to miss an important deployment deadline.

Flawless deployments are mandatory for continuous delivery, but are equally important for point releases. A huge amount of effort can go into organising and scheduling a production release and often these are the first time the code and configuration has seen the production environment.

By giving the deployment requirements higher priorities, good DevOps can de-risk that process and make it far more likely that the event will be successful.

Increase Application Maintainability

Many IT systems can fail to achieve their business goals because not enough attention has been paid to operational or maintenance needs. Onerous processes, stability issues and other challenges making routine changes can add cost and can impact the return on investment (ROI).

When application maintainability is given as much consideration as application functionality the result is a much smoother transition and a better ROI.  Collaboration with operations and support teams during the application development process helps streamline these post-production processes and allows us to capitalise on operational tools and expertise.

Improve Application Insight

Even if there are no plans to continue to improve an application once it has been deployed, good application insight can help to identify issues, validate business goals and provide a platform for future innovation.  Even the simplest metrics on operational incidents can dramatically improve the maintainability of a solution.

The DevOps culture blurs the boundaries between development and operations teams when it comes to active monitoring and resolution. Some responsibilities that were solely with operations now sit with development or support teams.  This direct access to production metrics, for example, decreases the turnaround time for defect detection and resolution and provides the platform for pro-active maintenance, such as monitoring for performance degradation.

So, even for lumbering enterprise applications, there is something to be gained from the adoption of the DevOps culture.  In my next post, I’ll talk about how an organisation can start the transformation process.

This blog post is part of a series about DevOps by author David Jobling. Check back to read the latest installment.

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