Cloud Desktops: Your New DevOps Ally
January 26, 2021

Brad Petersen

DevOps adoption is growing steadily as more organizations take advantage of these practices to empower IT teams to deliver applications and services at high velocity. Bringing together software development and IT operations is helping shorten the systems development lifecycle and provide continuous delivery.

At the same time, organizations are finding themselves with a whole new set of challenges, including hiring and collaboration, especially as skill and talent shortages increase. The cloud, and specifically cloud desktops, can address many of these challenges and help organizations get the most bang for the buck when it comes to their DevOps teams. In fact, the two technologies have a symbiotic relationship.

Navigating DevOps Challenges

Finding the right developers is a big challenge these days; there is a shortage of people with key skills. In fact, a recent report by the Linux Foundation and edX finds organizations are searching for more people with open source DevOps skills (65%) than developers (59%) for the first time.

Hiring remotely is one option but it also comes with complications. Hiring people in another country, for instance, will likely entail a visa process that can take several months to complete. And collaboration can be difficult among people in geographically separated offices or with external project partners, creating project bottlenecks that inhibit productivity.

Onboarding is tedious and time-consuming, too. Once the new hire process is complete, the onboarding process begins. Getting new hires settled in a workflow and procuring and shipping the laptops or workstations they need takes at least a couple more weeks before they can become productive. But organizations want to be able to hire developers anywhere they can find the right people and then have them productive within hours, not weeks or months.

Collaboration is a Particular Pain Point

Collaboration is essential for DevOps teams, but as mentioned above, it's not always easy — especially when those teams are geographically dispersed. Developer teams have attempted to solve this problem by adopting a variety of technologies such as legacy VDI solutions, VPNs for remote work, physical workstations connected over a WAN, and others. These technologies have helped with some of the problems, but they've also introduced a host of issues that negatively affect productivity and increase cost and complexity. That includes lack of performance, unreliable user experience, IP security concerns and data management problems.

Cloud Desktops Enable DevOps Teams

What's needed is a new approach. Cloud desktops offer many advantages when it comes to addressing some of the key challenges DevOps teams face. For one thing, they make onboarding much easier. By using cloud desktops and workstations, all that the new, talented software developer needs is a device and an internet connection, and they instantly become a part of the development team. This solves another headache that consumes unnecessary IT resources.

Additionally, cloud desktops solve the challenges of shipping and hardware preference. No more shipping, no more maintenance overhead, no more Windows v. Mac debates. Now, developers can pick the device they want, depending on their role requirements. They can even use smartphones and tablets in docking stations instead of laptops.

Better Tools and Improved Collaboration

Cloud desktops are ideal for DevOps teams because they support multiple desktop images. For developers, this means that they can have multiple desktops, all with differing versions, and all kept separate. This is great news if you don't want to have to keep reimaging a physical device.

One option that cloud desktops enable is giving a developer a persistent desktop. Another option is the ability to give the developer a brand new, "clean" cloud desktop every day. For enterprises, this means they can control the developers' IDE so code leaks from one release to the next don't happen, intellectual property is better protected, and they have stronger overall data security.

Testers benefit as well, as they know they'll have a totally clean, brand-new cloud desktop every day. This allows them to test and test again in isolation, knowing nothing was left behind from a previous test. In addition, the right cloud desktop enables anytime, anyplace collaboration; geographical limits become a thing of the past.

Your DevOps Ally

DevOps is here to stay, but it's not a silver bullet. Though it's a model that in theory creates faster delivery times, finding skilled employees is difficult, and so is provisioning them. Organizations need to be able to hire as far afield as necessary to find qualified talent and to get those new workers productive as quickly as possible. Cloud desktops meet both of these needs, as well as offering other benefits. time-to-productivity increases significantly, and the user experience is a great improvement over legacy VDI solutions, even for the most demanding GPU users. Consider the difference cloud desktops could make in the lives of your DevOps team.

Brad Peterson is VP of Marketing at Workspot
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