Much of what is written about current computing and IT trends centers around the need or businesses to stay competitive, and the critical role that technology now plays in this. DevOps is one of the biggest buzzwords around the IT industry, and it presents a significant challenge to CIOs and heads of IT as they try to understand, adapt, and embrace these developments. Many are still unsure of what DevOps actually is meaning there can be a real reluctance to embrace DevOps and allow developers to run their own operations.
DevOps aims to enable enterprises to respond quickly and adapt to changes in the market. How? By joining up all IT architecture, activities and functions of a business, from start to finish, so that a seamless process is created. DevOps is all about seeing the delivery of IT services and products as being just as important as the back office activity. This isn’t about the end goal, but about the process and philosophy behind it. In order for a DevOps strategy to be successfully implemented, there needs to be full buy-in from the CIO. He or she needs to break down the traditional barriers between the IT teams of development and operations, and bring them together to work in harmony on one end goal.
Microservices And IT Management
Microservices architecture is the key to achieving the ideal DevOps scenario in any business. The notion of modularity may have been around for some time, but microservices create a more flexible approach when compared to traditional IT architecture, allowing enterprises to remove, change or add individual services whenever they want, without the need for any major downtime. This means that more than one DevOps team can be focused on their own tasks without fear of interference.
Microservices are about providing a company with the IT architecture to allow business changes at the very smallest level, wherever they are required. What does this mean? It eliminates bottlenecks and organizational dysfunction and allows the optimization of the business structure.
The Pros and Cons of Microservices
There are of course pros and cons to the microservices approach. The major advantages are manifold. For example, microservices allow small teams to work alongside each other, in parallel, in order to develop new (and maintain existing) services. This allows the business to scale down large, monolithic teams, and create a more dynamic way of working. The approach also allows the use of many different technologies within the IT architecture, and increases critical fault tolerance. It also means that an enterprise can replace legacy code and historical systems with new, more effective solutions. These solutions are far more scalable. The major bonus from a people perspective is one of motivation – IT teams tend to have a lot more fun, with a more manageable workload, keeping them happier, more likely to stay, and more likely to come up with productive, innovative ideas.
The cons? Mainly issues around investment and expertise – you will need a lot of experience from developers and architects, and businesses will need to think about putting systems in place to monitor the infrastructure. Because the systems must now be coordinated across a multiple services, it can be complex to manage at times. However, with the right management, you can overcome these issues and be well on your way to achieving a key technological milestone for efficiency.
In a recent article, DevOps was likened to the car industry: there aren’t many successful car companies left that still assemble their cars by hand. Those that continue to do so – Maserati, Rolls Royce, etc – are high end, and for a very niche customer base.The assembly line enabled the mass marketing of the automobile on a scale that was previously inconceivable. DevOps is the computing world’s answer to the assembly line in terms of how software is developed and created.
It is not necessarily enough to develop microservices and DevOps. The business needs to get as much as possible out of these technologies, and that means establishing a robust platform strategy that has buy in across the organization. Not just the operating system and the underlying hardware, but every element of the software that the application developer builds and runs on. As was asserted in Container Journal: ‘Having a platform in place enables microservices to have a solid base to scale from without putting too much strain on the enterprise. The automation of tests, the delivery pipeline, developer sandbox and scanbox provisioning, among other actions, are ones that can benefit from automation to help increase the speed of production.’
Ultimately, if a business wants to be able to be flexible and react to changing circumstances quickly, then it needs DevOps and microservices. They are key to enabling businesses to stay ahead of the competition and reach their goals. This is the time to welcome a workplace culture that can take you to the next level of digital transformation. If you’re not in, prepare to be left behind.
Check out our latest whitepaper: Building a DevOps Organization and Culture
Market Research Team, RapidValue