Tips to make DevOps the newest best practice in your organization

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In the application economy how does Development mesh with Operations?

LittleBlogAuthorGraphic  David Hodgson, September 15, 2014

DevOps describes an IT culture for developing new application features and rolling them out to the user base at a rapid pace without disrupting operations.

It probably represents a profound change in your organization’s IT culture, a change that adopts agile and lean practices and requires breaking down operational silos so that constant changes can be coordinated to avoid catastrophe.

I am in the middle of a four-part series on how to best navigate your journey into the application economy, drawing allusions with my daily walk to work and back. I introduced four principles and so far we have covered:

 

In this post I’ll discuss the importance of DevOps to your success in this new era of IT.

On my morning walk up 5th avenue I like to keep moving rather than starting and stopping, and yet I have to cross 28 streets. To do this I must look ahead, predict what the next traffic lights are doing and I adjust my pace so I never stop walking.

DevOps is a bit like this. The challenge is to ensure that an application rollout is never prevented by an operational limitation and operations are never impaired by the rollout of a new or changed app.

Mainframe applications are alive and still running the economy

Since one focus of this blog post is the role of the mainframe in today’s IT, it is worth noting that few companies are doing new application development on the traditional mainframe.

A few are starting to write new Cobol and Java apps to run on z/OS, but these are the progressive minority who are taking advantage of the huge improvements in System z. Most are maintaining their Cobol base, amending it as needed to adapt to business needs.

All IT groups are focused on mobile apps and distributed systems that frequently send transactions back to the mainframe or link to the heavy lifting, mainframe applications. Even without major new application development, Mainframe applications are alive and running the economy.

CA AppDev or DevOps strategy for the mainframe focuses on solving the problems of rapid change in distributed applications that send transactions to be processed by backend application code and transactions on the mainframe.

Relationships are based on communication and understanding

The number one DevOps problem we have heard from mainframe customers is that the development groups working on mobile and web apps do not understand the impact of changes on the mainframe.

Worse, once something is rolled out, the potential bad effect may not be seen for a few weeks until a peak load when the mainframe CPU spikes and causes a failure somewhere else. The root cause is much harder to find in that situation.

It is imperative that such changes are tested with tools like CA LISA Service Virtualization so that impacts to the mainframe are known in advance. It is important that code changes across platforms are coordinated (between Harvest and Endevor for instance) and can then be packaged and rolled out in a controlled way with a tool like CA LISA Release Automation.

What customers really need is end-to-end workflow coordination of the develop, test, rollout and maintain lifecycle. This means clearly communicating among the different groups so that everybody knows what has changed and has the same understanding of the impact of those changes.

And of course you need to be free to choose your tools for this to allow you to use multiple tools or have the agility to change if you want to.

I hope you can join us at CA World this year because we will be showing you where we are with delivering on this DevOps dream and I think you will be surprised.

It’s as clear as a bell

As St. Thomas’s bells chime 8 a.m., I cross over 53rd and into the office. The harmony reminds me of all the parts working together and the sound reminds me of that expression, “It’s as clear as a bell”.

To achieve your DevOps vision you need organizational clarity and effective communication.  If you have solutions that help Development integrate tightly with Operations, I would love to hear about them in comments below.

In the new world of the application economy, we are all learning from each other and sharing will help the industry accelerate.

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