CIOs can accelerate innovation with DevOps

by Sohini Bagchi    Nov 20, 2013

CA interview

In simple terms, DevOps is an organizational approach to break down the silos that have built up between development and operational teams. In an exclusive interaction with CXOtoday, Sumal Karunanayake, VP- Application Delivery, Asia Pacific and Japan, CA Technologiesexplains for IT leaders looking to deliver greater value to the business, it’s time to look at DevOps.

How can CIOs accelerate innovation with the help of DevOps?

The proliferation of mobile devices and BYOD are compelling CIOs to adopt solutions which can be easily accessed on mobile platforms round the clock, with relevant content and are of superior quality. A well implemented DevOps strategy which focuses on service virtualization and continuous delivery, will help a CIO drive faster output of applications by compressing rudimentary testing and creating significantly better quality applications. As a result, the development function will take on a more business centric focus and will be able to provide applications which allow the business to drive innovation and competitive differentiation.

How can DevOps simplify and standardize application releases with better precision?

DevOps harnesses the objectives of both the development and operations functions into a unified purpose - faster time to market and enhanced quality. Assuming, the software development life cycle (SDLC) is run optimally, the notion of automating releases, takes a more heightened level of importance in achieving the objectives. Implementing continuous delivery allows the SDLC to run in a more efficient manner, thereby taking out errors in environment changes or configuration issues which may exist with each phase and infrastructure of the SDLC. It allows teams to be dynamic in the roll back of applications or more proactive in responding to rapidly changing business needs which are driven by market demands.

Can DevOps address the challenge faster recovery and service continuity? Please explain.

In today’s inter-connected and highly competitive world, as businesses live with expecting the unexpected, the two biggest challenges that continue to figure as CIOs top priorities are running businesses that require uninterrupted solutions and recovery with blinking speeds in case of downtime. We often talk about the concept of “shifting left,” where software development and testing teams work to bring higher degrees of quality – usually through testing – earlier in the software development life cycle. For a CIO to offer continuity of service through SDLC - one of the critical issues is the existence of constraints. These range from timely access to testing environments, subject matter expertise and other dependent systems which allow for the SDLC to do its job and not to mention the cost associated with these. Any company which implements DevOps must also embrace Cloud as a means to achieving service continuity in the form of test or dev clouds using IaaS or PaaS etc. Additionally, a fully automated release platform will allow CIOs to achieve service continuity. We believe that there are four core components to this. First, get rid of constraints in SDLC by implementing service virtualization. Second, automate the release of code through continuous delivery. Third, constantly monitor what gets released into production and finally, feed back the data captured in production back into the SDLC, to learn and optimize the app development process.

Organizations going for a scalable and agile infrastructure are looking at IT-as-a-Service and cloud scale environments. What role DevOps has to play in this aspect?

As much as embracing the Cloud provides a great deal of agility and cost efficiency it also introduces a more heightened requirement for development, the business and operations to be collaborative than ever before. The notion of embracing the cloud however, is critical especially where organizations are moving into agile development methodologies. Agile methodologies by definition are underscored by having access to dev and test environments which are available “on tap”.

Automation is the key word here. CIOs can help organizations achieve high efficiency with DevOps by bringing together the development and operations mindsets and organizing cross-trainings for both the teams to be well-versed in both the disciplines. With their vast experience, CIOs need to redesign IT strategies to sunset aging applications and automate as much as possible. For example, our enterprise-class  Nolio offers continuous application delivery and enables a fast, agile and scalable release automation for cloud and traditional applications.”

Why DevOps makes sense for Indian organizations? What benefits can it bring to them?

Today, India is one of the highly dense markets with continuously increasing mobile work force. Further, growing adoption of cloud and virtualization technologies have been resulting into greater demand for solutions to access content and applications. On the other hand, organizations are demanding more customized solutions in order to reduce overall capex in IT investments. DevOps offer opportunities for Indian CIOs to speed up the overall Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) to be more innovative through application innovation to cater to changing business requirements. The benefits are tremendous and seen in the form of lower operational costs, faster deployment and much greater flexibility to respond to business needs.