Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Charles Araujo, Flint Brenton

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Measuring Your DevOps Success

When you start delivering your DevOps initiatives, the measurement starts immediately and is constant

A survey from the Vanson Bourne market research agency (with CA) late in 2013 indicated that 39% of those surveyed had adopted some form of DevOps and 27% were planning to do so in the near future. Despite this being such a hot topic in the IT sector, and with a high level of take-up, the question we are still most commonly asked is: “Where do we start?”

Our answer is always that an organization’s current position must be baselined first. Having a baseline means you can build a business case, apply targets and goals to your projects and measure your success as you progress through your project with the ultimate goal being to report back to the board on how you used the money to save or make more money – and improved your teams’ satisfaction.

DevOps Metrics for Baselining and Measuring Success
There are hard, quantifiable technical and financial metrics we can track, such as:

  • Number and frequency of software releases
  • Volume of defects
  • Time/cost per release
  • MTTR*
  • Number and frequency of outages / performance issues
  • Revenue/profit impact of outages / performance issues
  • Number and cost of resources

It’s worth noting that one of the biggest inhibitors to success of DevOps and related tooling projects is people’s perceptions that they are at risk of losing their jobs as their work becomes automated. Often, particularly in areas like release and deployment management, we find that there are specific individuals who hold all the knowledge around a current process (they wrote all the scripts for example) and who are viewed as heroes when they are the only person who can fix an issue and often do it out of office hours and at short notice – but are, in fact, bottlenecks. These individuals are often highly talented, but feel secure in the indispensable role they have created for themselves. Though they will often be happier when freed up to do more creative and rewarding work, they are often fearful and this needs to be addressed.

Cultural Metrics
Although cultural metrics are difficult to apply hard dollar value to, DevOps is about resolving conflict in the workplace, eliminating stress and avoiding burnout – and they are measurable. Happy people are more productive – their health is better, they have more ideas, work more effectively and will put in the extra mile. You can measure across a number of key cultural indicators around feelings about change, failure, going to work, what a typical day’s work entails, in addition to a number of cultural attributes such as:

  • Cross-skilling, knowledge sharing and pairing between teams
  • Working in a fluid but focussed manner
  • Working in multidisciplinary teams
  • Organizing teams around projects rather than skill-sets
  • Constantly dancing on the edge of failure (in a good way)
  • Position around business demand
  • Extraneous lines of code
  • Attitude to continuous improvement
  • Obsession with metrics
  • Technological experimentation
  • Team autonomy

You can also look at a number of team features such as:

  • Rewards and feelings of success
  • Hierarchical and political obstacles and annoyances
  • Inspiring and fostering creativity

Process Metrics
DevOps is not a process or a tool – but there are a number of processes in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) that affect both traditional development and operations staff to greater or lesser degrees that need to be taken into consideration. All of these process components can be optimized, and all of them can then be improved upon further using appropriate software tooling. An ultimate goal of a typical DevOps project is often to attain true continuous delivery (CD) by linking these processes and tools together to allow fully tested, production-ready, committed code to proceed to live without impediment – we often refer to the software infrastructure piece of this as the DevOps toolchain. When baselining current state, it’s useful to measure these component processes and their relative maturity (taking into account use of existing tools and success of implementation). Typically, we look at:

  • Requirements elicitation and management
  • Agile development
  • Build
  • Release and deployment
  • Unit testing
  • User Acceptance Testing
  • Quality Assurance
  • Application Performance Monitoring
  • Cloud

How to Influence Metrics
Once you’ve baselined your current position, it’s time to think about your desired future state. Your baselining exercise will probably have highlighted where the key bottlenecks are and areas on which to concentrate. Although we preach, “People, then Process, then Tools”, there are tools, in particular Application Performance Management that can help discover bottlenecks and issues upfront – although it’s imperative you have the right people then using and acting on this data and put the right processes in behind in terms of defect tracking, corrective development, versioning build and deployment.

While you might be stumped on ideas for influencing cultural, especially in well-established enterprises, it is by no means impossible. The key is understanding the current culture. For instance, does a culture of “blame” exist? What happens when there is a production outage? How motivated and rewarded do staff feel? Once you’ve identified the prevailing culture you can establish a program of cultural initiatives to move the culture to one that is more productive and collaborative.

DevOps Tools for Change
There are a number of tools that can influence the harder and software metrics – for example:

Application Performance Monitoring (APM)

  • Reduces MTTR
  • Makes it easier to create a collaborative approach in teams dealing with issues
  • Identifies root cause fast; eliminating blame games

Application Release Automation (ARA)

  • Enables development to seamlessly transition code to operations who can quickly and consistently deploy into production
  • Enables instant rollback or redeploy when an error is identified in production
  • Reduces fear of failure as rollback/redeploy is so easy

Integration Testing & Virtualization

  • Mimics the production environment so successful test are guaranteed to run
  • Allows testers to ‘shift left’ in test process and collaborate with developers early
  • Fast testing enables fast, confident throughput of change

When to Measure, How to Tweak
When you start delivering your DevOps initiatives, the measurement starts immediately and is constant. You will be looking for upward trends, as well as downward trends. Make sure you share reports regularly with the team – try weekly with the core team and monthly with the extended team. Highlight success and elicit ideas for improvement where areas have proved more challenging. Try things – tweak, monitor, tweak again. But remember: “Any improvement not made at the constraint is an illusion.”

What to Do with Success
Celebrate success! Create rewards and incentive programmes for teams when metrics targets are achieved. Part of the DevOp’s agenda is about improving working conditions – depressurising and destressing environments and having everyone working together in harmony and eliminating disasters, catastrophes, blame and brinkmanship.

Why ask for an external DevOps Maturity Assessment
While no one’s going to understand your business as well as yourselves, we often meet organizations who are struggling to find the time – they know there are improvements to be made but they are so busy with firefighting they can’t conceive of stopping and taking stock of their current position. Also, as human beings are emotional creatures — it’s natural for all working environments to have some level of politics or hierarchies going on — it’s often helpful to have an outsider take a pragmatic, neutral view of a situation. So if you are ready to baseline your current DevOps state and identify the DevOps initiatives that will have real, positive impact on your business, but feel you do not have the time to figure it all out yourselves – please do get in touch with us @ranger4ltd.

* The MTTR is the Mean Time to Repair, Resolve or Resolution – each of the definitions mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably. This term is more commonly used when talking about Application Performance Management and the speed at which an outage or performance issue can be fixed, but equally can be used when talking about testing and eliminating defects

 

Take five minutes to get complete visibility into the performance of your production applications with AppDynamics today.

This is guest post by our partners at Ranger 4. Find out more about them on by following @ranger4ltd on twitter.

The post Measuring Your DevOps Success written by Helen Beal appeared first on Application Performance Monitoring Blog from AppDynamics.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By AppDynamics Blog

In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally.

DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
For organizations that have amassed large sums of software complexity, taking a microservices approach is the first step toward DevOps and continuous improvement / development. Integrating system-level analysis with microservices makes it easier to change and add functionality to applications at any time without the increase of risk. Before you start big transformation projects or a cloud migration, make sure these changes won’t take down your entire organization.
When you focus on a journey from up-close, you look at your own technical and cultural history and how you changed it for the benefit of the customer. This was our starting point: too many integration issues, 13 SWP days and very long cycles. It was evident that in this fast-paced industry we could no longer afford this reality. We needed something that would take us beyond reducing the development lifecycles, CI and Agile methodologies. We made a fundamental difference, even changed our culture...
In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Mike Johnston, an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io, discussed how to use Kubernetes to set up a SaaS infrastructure for your business. Mike Johnston is an infrastructure engineer at Supergiant.io with over 12 years of experience designing, deploying, and maintaining server and workstation infrastructure at all scales. He has experience with brick and mortar data centers as well as cloud providers like Digital Ocean, Amazon Web Services, and Rackspace. H...
You often hear the two titles of "DevOps" and "Immutable Infrastructure" used independently. In his session at DevOps Summit, John Willis, Technical Evangelist for Docker, covered the union between the two topics and why this is important. He provided an overview of Immutable Infrastructure then showed how an Immutable Continuous Delivery pipeline can be applied as a best practice for "DevOps." He ended the session with some interesting case study examples.
Without lifecycle traceability and visibility across the tool chain, stakeholders from Planning-to-Ops have limited insight and answers to who, what, when, why and how across the DevOps lifecycle. This impacts the ability to deliver high quality software at the needed velocity to drive positive business outcomes. In his general session at @DevOpsSummit at 19th Cloud Expo, Eric Robertson, General Manager at CollabNet, will discuss how customers are able to achieve a level of transparency that e...
The Jevons Paradox suggests that when technological advances increase efficiency of a resource, it results in an overall increase in consumption. Writing on the increased use of coal as a result of technological improvements, 19th-century economist William Stanley Jevons found that these improvements led to the development of new ways to utilize coal. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Thiele, Chief Strategy Officer for Apcera, compared the Jevons Paradox to modern-day enterprise IT, examin...
The taxi industry never saw Uber coming. Startups are a threat to incumbents like never before, and a major enabler for startups is that they are instantly “cloud ready.” If innovation moves at the pace of IT, then your company is in trouble. Why? Because your data center will not keep up with frenetic pace AWS, Microsoft and Google are rolling out new capabilities. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Don Browning, VP of Cloud Architecture at Turner, posited that disruption is inevitable for comp...
The next XaaS is CICDaaS. Why? Because CICD saves developers a huge amount of time. CD is an especially great option for projects that require multiple and frequent contributions to be integrated. But… securing CICD best practices is an emerging, essential, yet little understood practice for DevOps teams and their Cloud Service Providers. The only way to get CICD to work in a highly secure environment takes collaboration, patience and persistence. Building CICD in the cloud requires rigorous ar...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
Your homes and cars can be automated and self-serviced. Why can't your storage? From simply asking questions to analyze and troubleshoot your infrastructure, to provisioning storage with snapshots, recovery and replication, your wildest sci-fi dream has come true. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 20th Cloud Expo, Dan Florea, Director of Product Management at Tintri, provided a ChatOps demo where you can talk to your storage and manage it from anywhere, through Slack and similar services with...
Containers are rapidly finding their way into enterprise data centers, but change is difficult. How do enterprises transform their architecture with technologies like containers without losing the reliable components of their current solutions? In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 21st Cloud Expo, Tony Campbell, Director, Educational Services at CoreOS, will explore the challenges organizations are facing today as they move to containers and go over how Kubernetes applications can deploy with lega...
The “Digital Era” is forcing us to engage with new methods to build, operate and maintain applications. This transformation also implies an evolution to more and more intelligent applications to better engage with the customers, while creating significant market differentiators. In both cases, the cloud has become a key enabler to embrace this digital revolution. So, moving to the cloud is no longer the question; the new questions are HOW and WHEN. To make this equation even more complex, most ...
Learn how to solve the problem of keeping files in sync between multiple Docker containers. In his session at 16th Cloud Expo, Aaron Brongersma, Senior Infrastructure Engineer at Modulus, discussed using rsync, GlusterFS, EBS and Bit Torrent Sync. He broke down the tools that are needed to help create a seamless user experience. In the end, can we have an environment where we can easily move Docker containers, servers, and volumes without impacting our applications? He shared his results so yo...
Don’t go chasing waterfall … development, that is. According to a recent post by Madison Moore on Medium featuring insights from several software delivery industry leaders, waterfall is – while still popular – not the best way to win in the marketplace. With methodologies like Agile, DevOps and Continuous Delivery becoming ever more prominent over the past 15 years or so, waterfall is old news. Or, is it? Moore cites a recent study by Gartner: “According to Gartner’s IT Key Metrics Data report, ...
Enterprise architects are increasingly adopting multi-cloud strategies as they seek to utilize existing data center assets, leverage the advantages of cloud computing and avoid cloud vendor lock-in. This requires a globally aware traffic management strategy that can monitor infrastructure health across data centers and end-user experience globally, while responding to control changes and system specification at the speed of today’s DevOps teams. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Josh Gray, Chie...
Kubernetes is a new and revolutionary open-sourced system for managing containers across multiple hosts in a cluster. Ansible is a simple IT automation tool for just about any requirement for reproducible environments. In his session at @DevOpsSummit at 18th Cloud Expo, Patrick Galbraith, a principal engineer at HPE, discussed how to build a fully functional Kubernetes cluster on a number of virtual machines or bare-metal hosts. Also included will be a brief demonstration of running a Galera MyS...
Many organizations are now looking to DevOps maturity models to gauge their DevOps adoption and compare their maturity to their peers. However, as enterprise organizations rush to adopt DevOps, moving past experimentation to embrace it at scale, they are in danger of falling into the trap that they have fallen into time and time again. Unfortunately, we've seen this movie before, and we know how it ends: badly.
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"I focus on what we are calling CAST Highlight, which is our SaaS application portfolio analysis tool. It is an extremely lightweight tool that can integrate with pretty much any build process right now," explained Andrew Siegmund, Application Migration Specialist for CAST, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
In IT, we sometimes coin terms for things before we know exactly what they are and how they’ll be used. The resulting terms may capture a common set of aspirations and goals – as “cloud” did broadly for on-demand, self-service, and flexible computing. But such a term can also lump together diverse and even competing practices, technologies, and priorities to the point where important distinctions are glossed over and lost.