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The seven secrets of DevOps

During the CA IT Management Symposium 2014 at Vodacom World in Midrand yesterday, Chris Rowett, technical sales director for service virtualisation, EMEA, at CA Technologies, outlined what he believes are the seven secrets of DevOps.

According to Rowett, DevOps is a methodology that combines separate and sequential processes of application development and operations into continuous and collaborative processes.

To discover the secrets behind the use of DevOps, he said, research firm Vanson Bourne surveyed 1 300 senior IT decision makers at enterprise organisations across 21 different countries in the Americas, Europe, Asia and Australia.

Secret 1

Most companies are already doing DevOps, or will be doing so soon, said Rowett. He noted that 66% of the survey respondents revealed that they either have a DevOps strategy or are planning to implement it.

Some 39% of the organisations have already adopted DevOps, while 27% plan to adopt, he noted, adding that 18% plan to adopt, and 16% do not know what it is.

Secret 2

Customer issues is what's driving the need for DevOps, said Rowett.

From the survey, he said, 41% of the respondents adopted DevOps because of the need for simultaneous deployment across different platforms while the other 41% pointed to pressures from business to release apps more quickly to meet customer demand.

On the other hand, Rowett added, 39% indicated that they have adopted DevOps mainly because of the need to improve the end customer experience, while 35% noted that they want to increase the use of mobile devices.

Secret 3

Organisations are not adopting DevOps primarily to save money, said Rowett.

Only 16% of the respondents indicated that reducing IT cost was a key driver for their need for DevOps and most businesses use external metrics to judge success with DevOps, he noted.

On the success of DevOps, he also pointed out that 49% consider external factors like increasing revenue, faster time-to-market, improved competitive positioning and enhanced customer experience.

Meanwhile, 38% factored in internal factors like lower costs, fewer bugs, improved efficiencies, better ROI and improved collaboration. Some 13% have not yet decided.

Secret 4

The biggest obstacles to DevOps are people and processes, Rowett revealed.

Some 35% of the respondents pointed out that the top obstacles to implementing DevOps are organisational complexities like people, departments and interdependencies. The other 28% cited roles and responsibilities across developers and operations being not aligned.

Secret 5

When it comes to the implementation of DevOps, business skills trump technical skills, according to Rowett.

The respondents revealed that the top three skills needed for DevOps include knowledge of business, priorities, strategies, or metrics (47%); knowledge of current business processes (42%); and communication skills (32%).

Secret 6

According to Rowett, IT automation is the most important component of DeveOps.

Secret 7

DevOps benefits are real and quantifiable, he noted, adding that 23% of the respondents increased collaboration between departments after deploying DevOps, 22% witnessed improved quality of their deployed applications, and another 22% saw increased numbers of customers using their software/services.

Action plan

For the DevOps action plan, Rowett urged organisations to designate an executive-level DevOps evangelist.

"Organisational complexity is a key obstacle to success with DevOps, and it demands executive leadership," he said.

"Also appoint DevOps-focused team members from each required domain who understand the concepts around DevOps, but also the practical applications of processes and technologies to make it a success. Make a must-have skills list, assess existing resources, and consider additional training programmes."

He also urged organisations to streamline processes to incorporate input across development, QA/test and operations and budget for talent and technology, particularly in the areas of application delivery, service virtualisation, IT automation and release management.

"Identify the trouble-maker applications – start with an application that has been causing problems across production and creating headaches for developers trying to work out the code defects," he concluded.


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