Click here to close now.

Welcome!

@MicroservicesE Blog Authors: Roger Strukhoff, AppDynamics Blog, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski, Blue Box Blog

Related Topics: @MicroservicesE Blog

@MicroservicesE Blog: Article

Business Agility Depends on DevOps

Business agility depends on development and operations collaboration

True business agility is not about doing more application updates faster.  True business agility is about doing more application changes faster without sacrificing the application's performance or service quality.

From my perspective, achieving that second part of business agility means preventing application performance and service quality problems.  For the longest time IT operations have focused solely on remediating problems, which is not the same thing.  When someone's focus is on remediation, they quickly realize that it is easier to remediate problems when the environment does not change very often.  So no matter how much IT operations teams have streamlined their application problem resolution processes, there has still been an undercurrent of resistence to the constant change that is business agility.

Resistence is futile, and operations teams know this.  They recognize that they must also tackle problem prevention earlier in the application lifecycle.  The more experience one has in trying to manage the performance or service quality of constantly changing applications the more it becomes clear that the number of application performance problems depends on:

  • how well the application is engineered for the production environment,
  • how well application updates are managed; and
  • how well defect and problem knowledge are shared across development and operations.

Those issues are driving the growing interest development and operations collaboration (DevOps). Let us look at each to understand why.

1) How well the application is engineered for the production environment.
The final production deployment configuration often bears little resemblance to the application architect's original Visio diagrams.  Operations teams map the application service model, designed by software architects and developers, to the resource environments available from physical, virtual, or cloud infrastructure. This mapping activity has become an engineering effort as the complexity of the applications has grown.  This means there is often a big difference between software design and deployment configuration.  This difference often results in miscues that cause organizations to have as much as 50% their deployments rolled back.

Rollbacks can be caused by configuration had problems such as incorrect IP addresses.  That type of problem occurs when developers with no operations experience are managing this application engineering effort. Rollbacks can also be caused when the placement of the distributed components caused unexpected application performance and service quality problems.  That type of problem occurs when operations folks with little insight into the application design are managing the application configuration effort. The converse is also true, when development teams have little insight into how production deployments are configured, they can create application architectures that are not as scalable in production as in the test environment. Skills from both development and operations must be applied during the deployment configuration effort to prevent these problems.

2) How well application updates are managed.
Back when tiered web application deployments were new, I did research showed that when enterprises went from client/server to tiered web application architectures, application updates jumped from bi-annual to monthly events.   Now I'm beginning to track that the combination of SOA and agile programming means weekly (sometimes daily) application updates. It seems obvious to me that weekly application updates done with release management tools and processes designed for bi-annual updates will result in poorly performing applications.  The application service quality is even worse when those release management tools and processes used by infrastructure administrators with hardware and OS configurations expertise but little insight into application design and configuration.  If the goal is business agility without sacrificing application service quality then application development and operations teams need new collaborative means to manage how updates get done.

3) How well defect and problem knowledge flow across development and operations teams.
Defect knowledge from development teams is extremely useful because it allows operations teams to create infrastructure workarounds (such as throwing more hardware at the problem or staging server restarts).  These workarounds protect application service quality while buying the development team time to resolve the problem.

Problem knowledge from operations teams is useful because it allows agile developers to improve their application design for better performance as they work on the next round of user requirements. Therefore, it seems obvious to me that the more difficult communications is between development and operations, the more application problems there will be in production.  The chasm between development and operations groups has to be bridged with effective collaboration for application service quality to be maintain in the face of constant change.  Effective collaboration  is not about more meetings, reports, email trails and CYA activities.  It is about enabling the different groups to share the right information with the right people at the right time.

So there's my take on three key issues that determine how agile a business can actually become. From my perspective, fostering application collaboration between development and operations should be a cornerstone capability of those solutions if they are to deliver true business agility. I'm interested in hearing your perspectives.

More Stories By Jasmine Noel

Jasmine Noel is a founding partner of Ptak, Noel & Associates. She has over 15 years experience analyzing and consulting on IT management issues. She currently focuses on technologies and processes that organizations require to design, engineer and manage the performance and service quality of business applications, workloads and services. Noel served previously as director of systems and applications management at Hurwitz Group, where she formulated and managed the company’s research agenda. She was also a senior analyst at D.H. Brown Associates, where her responsibilities included technology trend analysis in the network and systems management space. Noel is regularly quoted in and contributed articles to several leading publications and content portals on various IT management topics. She holds a bachelor of science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master of science from the University of Southern California.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
There are several hundred good reasons to attend Cloud Expo | @ThingsExpo and the DevOps Summit next week (June 9-11) at the Javits Center in New York. Hundreds of great presentations and exhibits, the world's largest audience at an independent Cloud and IoT event, and the inspiration that one always gets when hearing peers discuss what they are doing in the cloud. I've winnowed the list down to half a dozen big-picture items. I'm sure you'll have your big reasons as well. 1. Geek Girls ...
It’s no news that microservices are one of the top trends, if not the top trend, in application architectures today. Take large monolithic applications which are brittle and difficult to change and break them into smaller manageable pieces to provide flexibility in deployment models, facilitating agile release and development to meet today’s rapidly shifting digital businesses. Unfortunately, with this change, application and infrastructure management is more complex due to size and technology c...
IBM has acquired Blue Box Group, Inc., a managed private cloud provider built on OpenStack. Customers benefit from the ability to more easily deploy workloads across hybrid cloud environments. Financial details were not disclosed. Enterprises are seeking ways to embrace all types of cloud to address a wide range of workloads. Today's announcement reinforces IBM's commitment to deliver flexible cloud computing models that make it easier for customers to move to data and applications across cloud...
"Blue Box has been around for 10-11 years, and last year we launched Blue Box Cloud. We like the term 'Private Cloud as a Service' because we think that embodies what we are launching as a product - it's a managed hosted private cloud," explained Giles Frith, Vice President of Customer Operations at Blue Box, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Founded in 2010, OpenStack is an open source Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) platform used to manage large quantities of compute storage and networking resources contained in a data center. It’s one of the fastest growing open source communities in the world, with over 400 companies and 18,000 contributors utilizing it.

Projections published in the OpenStack Pulse 2014 report from 451 Research indicate that OpenStack-based market revenue is expected to exceed $3 billion by 2018.

SYS-CON Events announced today that the "First Containers & Microservices Conference" will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City. The “Second Containers & Microservices Conference” will take place November 3-5, 2015, at Santa Clara Convention Center, Santa Clara, CA. Containers and microservices have become topics of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities.
"NuoDB is a transactionally consistent SQL database that does scale out, that does all the things you want in a cloud. If you want more transactional throughput, if you want higher availability if you want to run in multiple data centers this is a technology that can scale and still provide a single logical consistent database," explained Seth Proctor, CTO of NuoDB, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
ProfitBricks has an early preview of its new Docker hosting platform. The ProfitBricks Docker platform enables its customers to build fully-portable applications within the ProfitBricks cloud. Unlike other Docker platforms, ProfitBricks’ Docker provides developers and system administrators with a platform with dedicated resources that autoscales the Docker hosts. Early access customers will be able to utilize up to 2,500 CPU core hours as part of ProfitBricks’ early access Docker preview.
“We are a managed services company. We have taken the key aspects of the cloud and the purposed data center and merged the two together and launched the Purposed Cloud about 18–24 months ago," explained Chetan Patwardhan, CEO of Stratogent, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 15th Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Matt and I first met in the Summer of 2014 at DevOpsDays Minneapolis. My first introduction came when he (and several other DoD alums) participated in an impressive round of DevOps Karaoke. Matt gave an IGNITE talk on day two of the event titled “How to Hire Your First DevOp” as well. I learned during that event that he co-hosted a DevOps specific podcast that was gaining in popularity. It made perfect sense. Not long after Minneapolis, I began trading emails with the organizers of DevOpsDays C...
Andi Mann has been serving as Conference Chair of the DevOps Summit since its inception. He is one of the world's recognized leaders in DevOps, and continues to be one of its most articulate advocates. Here are some recent thoughts of his in an interview we conducted in the run-up to the DevOps Summit to be held June 9-11 at the Javits Center in New York City. When did you first start thinking about DevOps and its potential impact on enterprise IT? Andi: I first started thinking about DevOps b...
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it!
SYS-CON Events announced today that O'Reilly Media has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 16th International Cloud Expo®, which will take place on June 9–11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. O'Reilly Media spreads the knowledge of innovators through its books, online services, magazines, and conferences. Since 1978, O'Reilly Media has been a chronicler and catalyst of cutting-edge development, homing in on the technology trends that really matter and spurring their adoption...
The 17th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. 17th International Cloud Expo, to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, brings together Cloud Computing, APM, APIs, Microservices, Security, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding bu...
The 4th International Internet of @ThingsExpo, co-located with the 17th International Cloud Expo - to be held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA - announces that its Call for Papers is open. The Internet of Things (IoT) is the biggest idea since the creation of the Worldwide Web more than 20 years ago.
SYS-CON Events announced today that SUSE, a pioneer in open source software, will exhibit at SYS-CON's DevOps Summit 2015 New York, which will take place June 9-11, 2015, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. SUSE provides reliable, interoperable Linux, cloud infrastructure and storage solutions that give enterprises greater control and flexibility. More than 20 years of engineering excellence, exceptional service and an unrivaled partner ecosystem power the products and support that help ...
Many people recognize DevOps as an enormous benefit – faster application deployment, automated toolchains, support of more granular updates, better cooperation across groups. However, less appreciated is the journey enterprise IT groups need to make to achieve this outcome. The plain fact is that established IT processes reflect a very different set of goals: stability, infrequent change, hands-on administration, and alignment with ITIL. So how does an enterprise IT organization implement change...
"Cloud consumption is something we envision at Solgenia. That is trying to let the cloud spread to the user as a consumption, as utility computing. We want to allow the people to just pay for what they use, not a subscription model," explained Ermanno Bonifazi, CEO & Founder of Solgenia, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at Cloud Expo, held Nov 4–6, 2014, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
17th Cloud Expo, taking place Nov 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy. Meanwhile, 94% of enterprises a...
The 5th International DevOps Summit, co-located with 17th International Cloud Expo – being held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA – announces that its Call for Papers is open. Born out of proven success in agile development, cloud computing, and process automation, DevOps is a macro trend you cannot afford to miss. From showcase success stories from early adopters and web-scale businesses, DevOps is expanding to organizations of all sizes, including the...