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5 ways devops can benefit IT

Devops advocates say the IT methodology can improve application quality, speed deployment, and drive revenue

By , Network World
September 19, 2013 01:05 PM ET

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When CA asked survey respondents if they’ve adopted a devops approach or strategy in their organization, more than half indicated that it’s on their IT agenda. Specifically, 39% of respondents have already adopted devops, and 27% plan to adopt. Among the remainder, 18% have no plans to adopt a devops approach, and 16% don’t know what it is.

The reasons for pursuing a devops approach are varied, but it seems the pressure to improve application delivery is coming from both within and outside the IT department. IT harmony is a key motivator, according to the survey, which ranked the most popular adoption drivers:

* A need for greater collaboration between development and operations teams (cited by 47%)
* A greater need for simultaneous deployment across different platforms (41%)
* Pressures from the business to release apps more quickly to meet customer demand or enter new markets (41%)
* Need to improve the end customer experience (39%)
* Increasing use of mobile devices (35%)
* Increasing need to develop and deploy cloud-based applications (31%)
* Increasingly complex IT infrastructure that is part physical, part virtualized, part cloud (28%)
* Need to reduce IT costs (16%)

Devops initiatives can be driven by the development side or the operations side of the house -- it depends on who’s more frustrated, says Mittal.

On the application development side, the people who are responsible for writing code, testing code, and getting it to production are under the gun to deliver new applications faster so that companies can stay competitive in dynamic markets. “They’ve been expecting 12, 18 or 24 months to get new critical functionality out, but they need to be in an environment of almost continuous delivery; they need to get things out in days, not months,” Mittal says.

On the operations side, IT pros are often frustrated by sub-par code that keeps them in fire-fighting mode. “Sometimes they’re the ones who lead the charge,” Mittal says.

Needed: skills, tools, processes

Adopting devops requires changing how IT organizations work. But there’s no scripted checklist of products to buy and steps to take.

There are tools associated with devops such as release automation (technology to help standardize and execute application releases with fewer errors); service virtualization (a means of simulating the behavior of real-world applications, data components and their interdependencies in a testing environment); and production data mining (using real-world production data to improve test scenarios during development).

In addition to acquiring tools, IT organizations need to cultivate the skills to master these tools. Process expertise is also required, to ensure companies are streamlining and automating the proper application-delivery processes.

Among respondents who have adopted or plan to adopt devops, 73% expect to invest in new tools, 71% say they’ll invest in training for development and operations personnel, and 53% foresee hiring new personnel with the necessary skills.

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