Jeff Sussna, founder and principal of Ingineering.IT, succinctly states the interdependence of the Internet cloud and Devops and its continuing evolution: “Cloud computing, Agile development, and DevOps are interlocking parts of a strategy for transforming IT into a business adaptability enabler. If cloud is an instrument, then DevOps is the musician that plays it. Together, they help IT shift its emphasis from asking questions like ‘how long can we go without an outage?’ to ‘how often can we deliver new functionality?’ or ‘how quickly can we deploy a new service?’”
While cloud computing originated to utilize the internet and central remote servers to maintain data and apps within three primary segments of “application” “storage” and “connectivity,” DevOps is exceeding the initial intent of this technological mega space with efficient app deployment and seamless updates. In the eight years since the introduction of DevOps, cloud platforms have made incomparable strides in not only making the cloud commonplace, but through integrating DevOps as a seamless part of the services they offer. Here are some ways that major cloud platforms are bringing DevOps to the masses (in order of usability):
- AWS – For small businesses and those who are unfamiliar with DevOps, AWS has created an incredible start-up guide that helps you through the beginning stages step-by-step. They have a great support system in place with their helpful AWS DevOps Blog chock-full of screenshots and relevant topics, developer tools which include AWS CodeCommit (private Git hosting), AWS CodeDeploy (deployment automation), AWS CodePipeline (software release orchestration), AWS Elastic Beanstalk (run and manage web apps) and microservices that involve Amazon EC2 Container Service (production Docker platform) and AWS Lambda (serverless computing).
- Azure – While AWS is more user friendly to someone who is just starting to integrate DevOps, Azure provides tools to help companies “better understand your current DevOps practices and where to focus next.” A DevOps Self-Assessment test is requested to, “help you assess your current methods as well as ways to scale.” You may also want to utilize the Microsoft Virtual Academy which is a free and on-demand resource which teaches how to incorporate a variety of tools offered by Microsoft catering to a plethora of skill levels of operation. Additionally, DevOps Dimension is a “show” patterned after YouTube presentations created for anyone beginning or continuing the DevOps journey. These contain interviews with DevOps experts and business professionals who are integrating these tools.
- IBM Bluemix – I want to support IBM, really I do. I mean, their history is fascinating and dates back to the 1880’s. It’s as American as Coca-Cola. But what Coke has done and IBM fails to do is appeal to the masses and seamlessly integrate with the changing times. Pertaining to DevOps, finding the right page to research my options took about as many clicks as Christmas shopping on Amazon. As a small business owner or someone not completely familiar with cloud technology, it would be hard to find IBM Bluemix which is their answer to the DevOps question. Once you finally find the right webpage, then the options look pretty good. The delivery pipeline “automates unit tests, builds and deployments, test execution, and configure build scripts.” You can “create stories, tasks, and defects to describe and track project work, and use agile planning tools for the product backlog, releases, and sprints.” IBM Bluemix also allows you to release “a new version of your software with no down time. Finalize new versions only when they have been shown to work properly, or revert to the original.” The tools are there but I can’t help but to judge this book by its confusing cover.
- Google Cloud Platform – Much like Indiana Jones on an archeological dig, I found myself hunting for something that had to do with DevOps on this site. I dodged partners offering tutorials and hit the back key after several dead ends until I found a page of Google tutorials on how to incorporate DevOps on this platform. The “How to Use Google Cloud Platform” page was somewhat helpful, but only if you have a few specific questions. Definitely not for the beginner. Your best bet is to watch the 48 minute YouTube video that was filmed at a conference and features Google developers describing their services.
Although there are several cloud platform options available to support DevOps, the most important thing to remember is that DevOps is first grounded within your company. “A common pitfall is to focus on the technology, rather than the cultural elements,” says Stevan Arychuk, DevOps expert on Datamation. “DevOps is about trust and collaboration between the various engineering and operations teams; the tools and technology are really servicing that goal.”
“Most technology teams believe that tools can solve all problems,” adds Tim Buntel, vice president of products at Xebia Labs. “While tools are absolutely important for DevOps transformations, they won’t be any help unless accompanied by real cultural change. Think about your business objectives, think about trust and communication, think about why. Only after working on how to start the cultural shifts should you invest time and energy in a technical solution.”
DevOps is changing the way apps are deployed and updated and isn’t something that happens without a strategy. However, adopting this method of production and quality assurance is certainly in the best interest of your company.