Today’s on-demand networking realities are creating new challenges for the enterprise, forcing them to take action and implement new advanced networking and software platforms. That’s why many enterprises are already implementing DevOps concepts, says Karl Horne, Ciena’s CTO for Asia-Pacific. Here are 5 key characteristics of successful DevOps deployments.
A new global study indicates that 69% of enterprises in the Asia Pacific and Japan region have implemented DevOps. DevOps enables better collaboration and thus improving operational efficiency, speeding innovation, and accelerating "concept- to-revenue" for new services.
With the advent of on-demand applications, cloud, content distribution, 5G, and the Internet-of-Things, the age of static networks and static software is over. These technologies will put added pressure on the network, creating new challenges for the enterprise, forcing them to take action and implement new advanced networking and software platforms. To maintain a sustainable advantage in the web-scale and on-demand economy, enterprises must reset their IT practices to innovate and react faster to competitive threats.
DevOps facilitates collaboration between product development, IT development resources and operations staff throughout all stages of the software development lifecycle for creating and operating a communication service. This is different from the past where hard lines were drawn between the responsibilities of IT and operations.
Enterprises across APAC are using DevOps to create, modify, test and validate software and achieve the following: first, to quickly offer differentiated, revenue generating services for their end users and second, to achieve effective control of any physical or virtual device on the network.
From the small startup to the large enterprise, teams are embracing DevOps culture to push their applications forward and respond to changes quickly. But the secret to DevOps success lies not just in its toolkits but in the way it is deployed and applied. Here, then, are 5 key characteristics of successful DevOps deployments:
1) Respect the organisation's culture
The most fundamental success factor for DevOps deployment is the organisation's people, and the way that they work together. DevOps is a fundamental change in the way the organisation functions. Unfortunately, it is considerably more difficult to bring about cultural change in an organization than it is to adopt a handful of new software practices.
A collaborative and respectful culture must be created across the company's entire IT organization - with Development (Dev) and Operations (Ops) collaborating productively together. A fundamental philosophy of DevOps is that developers, operations staff, and support teams must see one other as important stakeholders and actively seek to work together.
2) Take small steps
Moving to a DevOps organisation is easier and meets with much less resistance if it is implemented through 'baby steps': with simpler and more frequent deployments, rather than one large change, which is always much harder to adapt to. Smaller deployments are easier to test, and carry a much smaller risk.
3) Use system orchestration to get the benefits of automation
While implementing DevOps, companies must be aware of creating new potential silos as they implement domain-specific deploys. A central coordination service is needed that provides end-to-end visibility of the way the different aspects of the network system is deployed while allowing each domain to manage itself autonomously to reduce management complexity and functional duplication. Multi-domain system orchestration enables services to be managed and manipulated from end-to-end, from a central point and at a high level of abstraction.
4) Accommodate legacy systems where necessary
Large enterprises, particularly in sensitive sectors such as financial services and healthcare, for example, often have complex legacy infrastructure constraints.
Implementing DevOps on one business practice might impact another application, or have legal ramifications. These organisations must think about new ways to incorporate the DevOps mentality into their standard processes.
Enterprises like these must be pragmatic about legacy systems: heterogeneity is a fact of network life. Such organisations might consider what Gartner refers to as 'bimodal IT' - balancing the need to maintain legacy processes in some areas, while automating where possible to achieve both IT agility and stability.
5) Adopt a DevOps toolkit and then do it themselves
The DevOps toolkit that an enterprise chooses is the enabler to develop new, virtualized services quickly, customize them and differentiate them. Rather than outsourcing to big integrators to the extent that they might find themselves dependent on them, enterprises must choose a toolkit that empowers them to take control after having someone take them through the initial startup and training. Ideally, the toolkit must allow enterprises to either build services themselves or utilise a professional services team to do it - but they should not be constrained by either approach.
In today's fast evolving business environment, the 'old way' of doing business is unsustainable. A DevOps software offering choice, openness, empowerment, and self-service must be combined with a development approach that combines pragmatism with strategic thinking. This model will allow enterprises to integrate their product development, IT and operations to create an interconnected ecosystem that reduces the time required to offer new services and quickly adapt to changing market needs.
This article was originally posted on CIO Asia.