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

September 18, 2018

To celebrate IT Professionals Day 2018 (this year on September 18), the SolarWinds IT Pro Day 2018: A World Powered by Tech Pros survey explores a "Tech PROactive" world where technology professionals have the time, resources, and ability to use their technology prowess to do absolutely anything ...

September 17, 2018

The role of DevOps in capitalizing on the benefits of hybrid cloud has become increasingly important, with developers and IT operations now working together closer than ever to continuously plan, develop, deliver, integrate, test, and deploy new applications and services in the hybrid cloud ...

September 13, 2018

"Our research provides compelling evidence that smart investments in technology, process, and culture drive profit, quality, and customer outcomes that are important for organizations to stay competitive and relevant -- both today and as we look to the future," said Dr. Nicole Forsgren, co-founder and CEO of DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA), referring to the organization's latest report Accelerate: State of DevOps 2018: Strategies for a New Economy ...

September 12, 2018

This next blog examines the security component of step four of the Twelve-Factor methodology — backing services. Here follows some actionable advice from the WhiteHat Security Addendum Checklist, which developers and ops engineers can follow during the SaaS build and operations stages ...

September 10, 2018

When thinking about security automation, a common concern from security teams is that they don't have the coding capabilities needed to create, implement, and maintain it. So, what are teams to do when internal resources are tight and there isn't budget to hire an outside consultant or "unicorn?" ...

September 06, 2018

In evaluating 316 million incidents, it is clear that attacks against the application are growing in volume and sophistication, and as such, continue to be a major threat to business, according to Security Report for Web Applications (Q2 2018) from tCell ...

September 04, 2018

There's a welcome insight in the 2018 Accelerate State of DevOps Report from DORA, because for the first time it calls out database development as a key technical practice which can drive high performance in DevOps ...

August 29, 2018

While everyone is convinced about the benefits of containers, to really know if you're making progress, you need to measure container performance using KPIs.These KPIs should shed light on how a DevOps team is faring in terms of important parameters like speed, quality, availability, and efficiency. Let's look at the specific KPIs to track for each of these broad categories ...

August 27, 2018

Protego Labs recently discovered that 98 percent of functions in serverless applications are at risk, with 16 percent considered "serious" ...

August 23, 2018

After another record year of breaches, The 2018 DevSecOps Community Survey found that 3 in 10 respondents suspected or verified breaches stemming from vulnerabilities in open source components — a 55% increase over 2017, and 121% increase since 2014 ...

Share this