Dispose of DevOps Delays with IT Automation
September 01, 2017

Jim Manias
Advanced Systems Concepts

By definition, DevOps encourages communication and collaboration between development and operations teams – but if not done properly, it can cause friction. This resistance is due to conflicting priorities: developers prioritize speed so they can accelerate rollouts and increase innovation, while operations professionals prefer to be a bit more cautious, with accuracy being of the upmost importance.

Achieving greater synergies between the Dev and Ops teams doesn't happen overnight, but it is possible to fast track the process with the right technologies in place. One such technology is IT automation. With IT automation, it is possible to automate tests, orchestrate automated notifications to initiate the next manual intervention, and even leverage change management tools to maximize the efficiency of those manual interventions.

However, in order to reap the benefits of IT automation, the key is to implement automation from the start, not as an afterthought. This is what we call taking a systematic approach to automation.

Implementing IT Automation Early

Organizations tend to not think about ways to leverage automation to improve processes until after they're already in progress, or even after they're completed.

Ronni Colville, a VP and distinguished analyst for Gartner, explained this problem in a webinar on automation: "Organizations are taking an ‘opportunistic' approach to IT automation by identifying individual automation opportunities as they arise and implementing platform-specific tools to solve a specific problem."

She goes on to explain how this "opportunistic" approach leads to unnecessary complexity and wasted money and resources. In reality, if automation isn't thought about in the beginning, it gets pushed aside and it falls to the bottom of the list.

The alternative to this opportunistic approach is taking a top-down, policy-driven automation strategy, also known as a systematic approach. When IT automation is incorporated at the onset, disparate systems and processes are able to be connected more seamlessly, and it is possible to gain a centralized view of operations at the project, organizational and enterprise level. This not only allows for processes to be expedited from start to finish, but it also leads to stronger governance and greater scalability.

Automating the Right Processes

Automation should be implemented at the beginning of processes, but that doesn't mean it should be applied to all processes.

Discussing which processes should be automated, Gartner research VP Cathy Tornbohm said, "The way I think about it is: If I had an army of people, what could I do better?"

She advised organizations to start by automating back-office activities that would be impractical and laborious to handle manually. This includes routine processes, such as maintenance, testing and cleanup tasks. Automating these time-consuming processes relieves the burden from the IT team, allowing IT staffers to focus on mission-critical infrastructure projects and other higher-level tasks.

In addition to routine processes, automation can also expedite many of the steps required to move from code to production – a key reason why IT automation is so valuable in DevOps. For example, IT automation can trigger a build, deploy the build to the test environment, run the test suite and, given the testing meets the criteria that is predetermined to be acceptable, promote the build to production. In case there are issues during any of these processes, IT automation solutions provide automated monitoring and alerting capabilities that can send the notifications mentioned above to the person / people responsible for handling the issue. This minimizes delays, improves collaboration and ultimately leads to more efficient rollouts.

While IT automation is only one piece in the puzzle of effective DevOps, it's a critical tool for managing the teams involved and more quickly achieving successful rollouts – a common priority for all.

Jim Manias is VP at Advanced Systems Concepts

The Latest

February 15, 2018

Organizations are focusing investments on security and analytics, while actively researching emerging technologies such as machine learning and artificial intelligence, according to the 2018 CIO Tech Poll: Tech Priorities survey ...

February 14, 2018

With so many other initiatives to manage, DevOps isn't a top priority for all companies now. Many organizations believe it's wiser to wait. But in fact, the business case to integrate now is very strong — in fact, it's "do or die" territory. This infographic outlines some key reasons why organizations should integrate their software delivery value stream immediately ...

February 12, 2018

Accelerating multi-cloud deployments are enabling organizations to select the cloud platform that best meets the requirements of a specific application, according to the 2018 State of Application Delivery report from F5 Networks. However, this also increases the challenges many companies face in managing operations and security across multiple clouds as they transform their application portfolio to compete in the digital economy ...

February 08, 2018

The slowness of enterprise IT departments to embrace automated, cloud-native solutions for the cloud infrastructure challenges they face has resulted in IT infrastructure that is often ungoverned and insecure. And this is despite the fact that the cloud can be more secure as traditional data centers ...

February 06, 2018

Bank IT teams must embrace that their DevOps capabilities will determine their agile capability. Agile breaks down the barrier between the business and IT, and operations must be treated as a critical element of an agile program. In modern software delivery, the business, development and operations must execute as a unified team. To achieve this, banks are increasingly turning to Continuous Integration (CI) practices as part of the solution ...

February 05, 2018

IT professionals show a heightened concern for cybersecurity risk related to API use, according to a new survey conducted by Imperva. Specifically, 63 percent of respondents are most worried about DDoS threats, bot attacks, and authentication enforcement for APIs ...

February 01, 2018

DevOps are pretty clear for application development, those same applications often have a database back-end. If DevOps is increasing the frequency and reliability of new features for applications, a slower pace of database development can slow down and hinder those same releases ...

January 30, 2018

Without a doubt, DevOps is becoming the go-to strategy for organizations of all industries and sizes looking to master digital transformation and provide the fastest value to customers through software delivery. It is becoming clear that organizations adopting DevOps need a true leader (or engineer) to keep the transformation on track. The following are some tips when hiring for DevOps ...

January 29, 2018

When was the last time your company experienced a significant database error? If it happened in the last 3 months, you’re in good company. In a recent study, 60% of respondents reported a crash or significant database error occurring in the last 6 months. Roughly one in ten respondents reported a serious database problem in the past week ...

January 25, 2018

You've already recognized that business transformation requires digital transformation. Your organization is staffed with the best and brightest developers ready to implement the innovative, business-differentiating technologies you need to attract, engage, and retain customers. And you've invested in scaling Agile, driving DevOps adoption, automating the Continuous Delivery pipeline, and all the other components involved in moving from ideation to delivery as rapidly as possible. So what could possibly go wrong? Testing ...

Share this