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

June 21, 2018

DevSecOps is quickly gaining support and traction, within and beyond information security teams. In fact, 70% of respondents believe their culture can embrace the change needed to fuse Security and DevOps, according to a new survey of 80 security professionals by Aqua Security ...

June 20, 2018

The larger the company size, the higher the proportion of low IT performers, according to the State of DevOps: Market Segmentation Report from Puppet, based on the 2017 State of DevOps Survey data ...

June 18, 2018

An overwhelming 83 percent of respondents have concerns about deploying traditional firewalls in the cloud, according to Firewalls and the Cloud, a survey conducted by Barracuda Networks...

June 14, 2018

Despite the vast majority of cloud management decision-makers believing that DevOps and microservice enablement are important, very few believe that their organizations are capable of delivering them today — a gap that is costing the average enterprise $34 million per year, according to new report from the Ponemon Institute ...

June 12, 2018

Dev teams are doing their best to give the customers what they want, but oftentimes find themselves in between a rock and a hard place. Teams are struggling to get up to speed with new tools that are meant to make their lives easier and more realistic to hit deadlines. With spring cleaning season upon us, take time this season to tune up agile processes and continue the work of advancing the shift towards DevOps ...

June 11, 2018

The ability to create a culture of DevOps is critical to any organization's ability to deliver applications and services at a high rate of speed, but can we clearly and concisely answer the question: What exactly is DevOps? Despite the best intentions, some large companies are struggling to understand what DevOps actually is, and what it takes to fully implement its concepts and reap its benefits ...

June 07, 2018

The Twelve-Factor App is a methodology that offers a 12-step best practice approach for developers to apply when building software-as-a-service apps that are both scalable and maintainable in a DevOps world. As software continues to be written and deployed at a faster rate and in the cloud, development teams are finding there is more room for failure and vulnerabilities. This blog series will discuss how to build a Twelve-Factor app securely ...

June 05, 2018

Everyone understands the importance of code quality for applications, particularly when DevOps results in releases becoming faster and faster, reducing the room for error. The same issues increasingly apply to databases, which are a vital part of DevOps workflows. Fail to integrate the database into DevOps and you'll face bottlenecks that slow down your processes and undermine your efforts ...

June 04, 2018

DevOps and security traditionally have been siloed functions and security is often seen as a policing function by DevOps team members. However, more mature business leaders are trying to bridge the gap between the two functions to achieve business excellence. This theme was evident from our recent survey where 39% of respondents cited that DevOps and development teams care greatly about their cybersecurity posture, showing that the silo between security/IT and development teams is diminishing ...

May 31, 2018

DEVOPSdigest asked experts from across the IT industry for their opinions on the top tools to support DevSecOps. Part 5, the last installment, offers some final thoughts about "tools" that are not necessarily technology ...

Share this