Corner OfficeExpert Opinion

Remote DevOps is here to stay!

By: Rajender Bhandari

Our individual digital footprint has grown manifold today, as we work and live in the new normal. This has put tremendous pressure on all organizations and consumer-facing digital firms. Take for example Netflix, the streaming service platform that added 15.8 million subscribers, more than double the 7.2 million that was expected — a growth of more than 22% year over year. This is sales of magnitude, faster than what just recently was business as usual – all due to the largest work from home experiment globally. So, how do you think they achieved digital perfection and ensured increase in efficiency and improved delivery time? The answer is DevOps!

It is shaping the world of software and becoming mainstream, owing to its high efficiency and faster deployment. With a mass exodus of the workforce towards a home setting, especially in India, the demand for skilled professionals in DevOps has dramatically increased.  A recent GitHub report, on the implications of COVID on the developer community, suggests that developer activities have increased as compared to last year. This also translates to the fact that developers have shown resilience and continued to contribute, undeterred by the crisis. This is the shining moment for DevOps which is built for remote operations. In a ‘choose your own adventure’ situation, DevOps helps organizations evaluate their own goals, skills, bottlenecks, and blockers to curate a modern application development and deployment process that works for them. As per an UpGuard report, on DevOps Stats for Doubters, 63% organizations that implemented DevOps experienced improvement in the quality of their software deployments.

Flexible and scalable capacity as the winning strategy

Delivering business value from data is contingent on the developers’ ability to innovate through methods like DevOps. It is about deploying the right foundation for modern application development across both public and private clouds.

The current environment is uncharted territory for many enterprises. Here, in-house developer teams play an important role in the ability of a business to pursue new revenue streams. By creating data services that help build trust between developers and operations, technology solution providers are aiming to provide the tools that, together with DevOps techniques and methods, enable companies to transform this paradigm.

Data-driven DevOps makes it faster and easier to accelerate new business opportunities by improving infrastructure utilization and flexibility and allow developers to take charge of infrastructure requirements, while operations team can maintain operational visibility. Businesses are increasingly adopting DevOps which, in turn, is one of the factors driving infrastructure modernization. DevOps demands functionality and characteristics that only a modern environment can deliver.

Support through Next Generation Data Center

For the seamless collaboration between developers and operations, an organization requires a software-defined, cloud-based data center approach where an end-to-end DevOps workflow automation takes place. Next-Generation Data Center (NGDC) enables infrastructure team to strategize and innovate; helps them build and run the technology platform, allowing software developers to use DevOps.

The NGDC includes three major environments: developer tools, platform software, and Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS).

Ultimately, developers are expected to create cloud-aware applications on NGDC using microservices architectures and containers which are infrastructure-agnostic designs and are cloud-portable between public and private cloud providers. DevOps and cloud work together to help businesses achieve their transformation goals. Cloud offers advanced tools and automation that help companies streamline and embed DevOps processes for greater efficiencies.

Achieving DevOps Success

With the successful adoption of DevOps, developers have increased focus on application development rather than managing tools and infrastructure. To reduce interruptions for developers, as they keep on moving between projects, a standardized DevOps platform with a finite set of tools, platform software, and infrastructure is of paramount importance. The foundation for successful DevOps is architecture. If done right, cloud infrastructure can be the basis for delivering this success. According to DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) research, teams that execute correctly and are truly in the cloud are 23 times more likely to be lead performers.

A core value of DevOps is customer satisfaction and faster delivery. DevOps teams provide business innovation and continuous process improvement. It encourages faster, better, more secure delivery of business value to an organization’s end customers. The highest-performing teams have 46 times more frequent code deployments and over 2,500 times faster lead times from committing to deployment. This speed allows organizations to be agile, satisfy customers, and keep up with compliance and regulatory changes in a dynamic business environment.

Building a Culture of DevOps

Organizations that rely on the power of their developer teams to succeed will have to adjust to a ‘new normal’. It will be important to create a culture of support and enable these developers to take risks to innovate, try new tools, and have a clear view of the impact of their work.

Meanwhile, digital transformation will remain an ever-evolving journey of improvement. To ensure a successful DevOps function, organizations must employ performance drivers like technical practices, lean processes, and forward-thinking culture. And most importantly, they must strategically use data and metrics.

The iterative approach and reuse principles of CI/CD produce massive amounts of data at every location. This data must be stored, managed, modified, protected, and analyzed, and the latest version must be accessible. The Ops challenge is to provide a stable storage platform that can be provisioned on demand to support data scalability and multisite collaboration.

It is in the DevOps nature to be nimble, reactive, and constantly plan around improvement as things progress. When an organization adopts a DevOps culture, it can surpass its goals in previously untapped ways. While the pandemic has accelerated the shift to remote working, we believe remote DevOps is here to stay. With the right technology and DevOps in place, an organization will have the ingredients to make bold, smarter, and informed decisions, supported by effective risk assessment, during and post the COVID-19 pandemic.

(The author is Director, Technology & Solutions at NetApp and the views expressed in this article are his own)

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