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8/30/2018
08:00 AM
Bill Kleyman
Bill Kleyman
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Get to a State of Continuous Integration and Development

It's time to get control of your application development processes and stop the code creep with DevOps.



I’ve kept my head in the cloud for as long as I’ve been in the technology space. Today, that space is quickly being filled with ever more applications, new data requirements, and evolving business strategies. I’m seeing companies integrate more systems, leverage powerful APIs, work with new software development kits, and develop powerful customized applications and services to support a quickly transforming market and business landscape.

But what happens when you start to lose control? What happens when there’s too much data to handle? What do you do when there’s just too much code to control and code creep becomes a serious problem? What happens when your release cycle is random at best and has stopped following a good flow? What happens when innovation is stifled?

These are the growing pains of a digital transformation.

Image: Shutterstock
Image: Shutterstock

Consider this, Gartner recently stated that IT will be increasingly tasked with supporting complex, distributed applications using new technologies that are spread across systems in multiple locations, including on-premises data centers, the public cloud and hosting providers. This means you’ll need to adopt a better model to handle complex systems, services, data points, and applications. DevOps is a great strategy to get you there.

In my last post, I outlined DevOps 101 and how to adopt a culture of continuous innovation. In that blog, I discussed how DevOps isn’t just two words combined together. Rather, it’s all of the following:

  • cultural shift in how processes, code, and technology are delivered.
  • philosophy around continuous development and integration with users, business, and even market dynamics.
  • practice that continuously evolves.
  • tool to help deliver services and applications and market-ready speeds.
  • process to help companies innovate at a much faster pace than what traditional (or legacy) software tools and infrastructure could offer.

This means that adopting a "state of DevOps" isn’t just one platform environment. It’s an ongoing shift in the way that your entire organization thinks and behaves. Oftentimes, this isn’t something you can do alone. Working with a good partner can help you shift the way you think and operate around services, applications, users, access, data, and so much more. The good news is that once the DevOps process is started and is moving along, you begin to reap the benefits of continuous innovation. It’s like a business engine leveraging the most advanced services and application development structures.

A good DevOps practice allows an organization to have structured release cycles, often several times a week to ensure optimal performance and user experience. And, in a good model, these releases are transparent to the user. They simply see the benefit of innovation. Again, this doesn’t just have to be applications.

Let me give you a specific example. We were working with a global customer that was running an on-premise big data solution with HDFS. They did the storage and all processing onsite, until, it got really complicated. So, we helped them migrate the entire platform to Azure PaaS and leveraged the power of a data lake, as well as Azure data analytics to simplify the architecture while gaining the biggest benefits.

However, to get there, you’ll need to go on a journey exploring your own development process and, very importantly, your business. That said, in getting to a state of continuous integration, development, and innovation, here are a few tips and best practices to keep in mind:

  1. Don’t lose control of your apps and code. If you, have it’s critical to get yourself out of that hole now. Code creep can be a scary thing that really does sneak up on you. One day everything is working, and then you’re required to do a service upgrade and you realize just deep in the code hole you might be. The longer you wait to revolutionize your platform the harder (and more expensive) it will be. Start working on a better release and development process now; you’ll be grateful in the near future.
  2. DevOps: Continuous integration, continuous development, continuous innovation. DevOps isn’t just an IT engine. It’s a business engine designed to create competitive advantages and give you the capability to respond to the market. My biggest recommendation is to expand your thinking around DevOps and really understand how it can impact every aspect of your business.
  3. Just because you can do it on-premise doesn’t mean you should. Maybe you started on premise and maybe it worked for a while. Even if it’s still working for you, this doesn’t mean it’s bringing you much value. Limitations around expertise, varying priorities, and shifting business focus mean that on-premise solutions are laden with potholes and roadblocks. Working with cloud solutions allows you to broaden your DevOps capabilities by leveraging a platform that helps you continuously innovate.
  4. Learn how to revolutionize your data and key services. Data can be seen as the lifeblood of your business. And, the services wrapped around your data are critical to keep your business flowing. Don’t be afraid to evaluate all of those services to see how cloud and microservices can really help. For example, we helped an organization migrate their scheduling service, conferencing service, audit service, search service, and numerous other services into the cloud by containerizing them and leveraging microservices. They became a lot more agile, easier to manage, and way more beneficial to the business.

As you look at those four points, it’s important to note that DevOps isn’t just an upgrade to your coding and development process. DevOps has the capacity to impact almost every part of your business. If you’re at a point where managing applications, services, and data is a challenge, maybe it’s time to really look at DevOps and adopt a powerful cultural shift that can become your engine around digital transformation.

For more about DevOps trends, check out these recent articles.

ITIL, DevOps, Whatever – The Labels Don’t Matter

The Big Challenge for Sports Betting: Software Engineering

How Mid-Size Firms Can Overcome DevOps Challenges

DevOps Experts Share Advice on Measuring Success

Bill is an enthusiastic technologist with experience in a variety of industries. This includes data center, cloud, virtualization, security, AI, mobility, edge solutions, and much more. His architecture work includes large virtualization and cloud deployments as well as ... View Full Bio
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