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Why You Can't Avoid DevOps

IT teams at enterprises of all sizes need to embrace the DevOps movement to deal with increasingly complex IT that needs to move quickly.

Some consider DevOps to be an almighty panacea, a highly cited firmament on which the ops world turns without friction in the unfathomable ether. Most network and application admins, however, take one of two positions: “Yes. DevOps is pretty useful, what’s the surprise?” or “Ugh, I don’t have the time, patience or the team for voodoo. We work here.” There are plenty of vendors showcasing how their wares accelerate all the DevOps, then jump right into Agile, continuous delivery for networks and more, without taking a breath to even build interest for enterprise IT teams new to DevOps.

When I look at our internal IT team at SolarWinds, which is one of the most conservative I’ve ever encountered, I realize it’s also possible for any IT organization to use DevOps to become a vital asset to business, not just close help desk tickets. And as it happens, you don’t really have a choice; it’s coming to enterprises of every size, like it or not.

IT slowness kills

With traditional, siloed, procedural IT, it’s not hustle, frenzied firefighting or even resource exhaustion anxiety that kills team enthusiasm. It’s projects moving at a snail’s place. What IT management often misunderstands is that we don’t spend a month getting new network racks online because we want to, but because monolithic, history-based or poorly designed projects incur risk, and the acceptable IT risk mitigation tool in most enterprises is work by committee. We’ve all been there: Projects that should take a couple of days to actually do, take weeks of roundtable meetings with a dozen or more attendees in the room, and as many more on the speakerphone.

Right about now those of you who already know how to swarm or work a  task board may be wincing, remembering the bad old days before you accepted Agile into your life. You’d say to network engineers, “Guys, create two-pizza teams for your major efforts, segment them into short-term chunks. You can do it!” But the majority of you may be thinking, “Okay, I’ll admit I’m beginning to hear my peers talk about DevOps, but we don’t even know where to start.” Fair enough.

Case in point

Our IT team is incredibly risk-averse, and as a result, very traditional. True, they have to manage a global operation, regulatory compliance and more, but in general, if it ain’t broke -- and there’s no benefit to the bottom line -- don’t fix it. So when they adopted DevOps practices of their own volition, I took note. Their first success was migrating the IIS server architecture in the co-los to continuous delivery.

Read more about Patrick's expereince at Network Computing.