Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Stackify Blog, Aruna Ravichandran, Dalibor Siroky, Kevin Jackson, PagerDuty Blog

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Microservices Expo, Containers Expo Blog, Agile Computing, @CloudExpo, FinTech Journal

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Post

DIY Enterprise DevOps | @DevOpsSummit @Datical #DevOps #Microservcies

Insights into the DIY DevOps Dilemma

In Enterprise DevOps, It’s Not Always Better to Roll Your Own

I read an insightful article this morning from Bernard Golden on DZone discussing the DevOps conundrum facing many enterprises today – is it better to build your own DevOps tools or go commercial?  For Golden, the question arose from his observations at a number of DevOps Days events he has attended, where typically the audience is composed of startup professionals:

I have to say, though, that a typical feature of most presentations is a recitation of the various open source products and components and how they integrated them to implement their solution. In a word, how they created their home-grown solution. Given that many of these speakers hail from startups with small teams and a focus on conserving cash, this approach makes sense. Moreover, given that these are typically small teams working at companies following the Lean Startup approach, using open source that allows rapid change as circumstances dictate makes sense as well. And, in any case, startups need to solve problems today because who knows what the future will bring?

That last part is what sparks the question – what does the future hold?  For that startup that begins to scale and grow, what are the future implications of building and, more importantly, trying to maintain a homegrown solution as more teams, products, and use cases proliferate?  “And for enterprises, which must plan for the future,” Golden writes, “an approach that doesn’t have a long-term time horizon is problematic, to say the least.”

The first issue Golden sees in a DIY DevOps approach is the unspoken presumption that the same intensity of interaction and collaboration experienced at a startup can scale to a larger organization, or is achievable within a large enterprise.  Golden writes, “in an enterprise, the kind of ‘he sits two seats away from me, so I can just turn to him and ask a question’ is unachievable,” arguing that, “solutions based on proximity and immediate response to problems is not scalable.”  Large IT organizations are going to need a solution that scales enough to cover the myriad of different applications that are developed and supported, and in Golden’s opinion “Homegrown solutions invariably are written for a limited use case that reflects the situation at the moment and are difficult to modify when new requirements appear associated with a new use case.”

This perspective is interesting to me for the simple fact that I’ve read a great deal about how a number of large enterprises like Macy’s, Nationwide and Highmark, heck, even IBM, are in various stages of tackling this issue right now, and are reporting a great deal of success in their efforts.  The DevOps leaders in these organizations have embraced the idea of a DevOps culture where development and operations collaborate closely together and are working hard to systematize those interactions.  On the flip side, though, these organizations are, to Golden’s point, leveraging commercial DevOps solutions pretty heavily in order to achieve their goals for technical processes like Continuous Delivery.

Another issue Golden sees in the DIY DevOps approach is the potential for promoting the unique snowflake problem to a system-level issue rather than just a one-off application issue.  “It’s fantastic that the application resources themselves are standardized [in DevOps], but a bespoke system invariably falls further and further behind commercial systems, particularly those that take responsibility for selecting, integrating, and supporting one or more open source components,” Golden argues.  In this scenario, the vendor supported open source solution benefits from the wide community of developers working to make it better, increasing the rate of innovation over a homegrown solution.  Additionally, the vendor becomes responsible “to make sure all the components are properly integrated” to the benefit of all customers, particularly those in large organizations.

We’ve seen this scenario play out many times with our customers.  Built on Liquibase, the leading open source solution for versioning and migrating the database, the task for Datical is to ensure the solution is viable for large enterprises in terms of supporting their myriad use cases as well as their requirements for scalability and reliability.  It’s rather often that we’ll be approached by a team who has invested years in supporting Liquibase within their organization, but are at a point now where either new requirements dictate the reallocation of resources to more strategic initiatives, or they simply want to get out from under the overhead created by maintaining their homegrown Liquibase implementation.  It’s perhaps even more often that a large team investigating Liquibase as a possible solution contacts us because they themselves have realized the kind of investment they will have to make, in terms of time and money, in order to customize Liquibase to their use cases and environments.

The final issue Golden raises in the DIY DevOps dilemma is that of continuity.  “It’s fantastic that you have a member of your staff who is talented and creative and puts together your DevOps system,” writes Golden, “However, someday he or she will be gone, and someone else will have to maintain the system.”  Going back to Golden’s argument that the enterprise has to plan for long-term time horizons, this is an important point to consider.  IT often complains of the cost of supporting and maintaining legacy systems, and in some cases it’s possible that a DIY DevOps solution will end up being one of those legacy systems.  You could certainly argue that an internal DevOps system, because of its high visibility, will have staff members clamoring to work on it after the original maintainer departs, but it’s still an issue that should be carefully analyzed and examined before committing to a course of action.

All of these issues lead to Golden’s closing argument, which is salient.  When considering a DIY DevOps approach, what you’re really thinking about is how you’re going to allocate your finite resources towards achieving your goals.  If resources are committed to developing and maintaining a DevOps system or suite of tools, then those resources can’t be used elsewhere.  In companies that were born in the cloud and whose business models rest upon their ability to devise new and innovative technologies, rolling their own DevOps probably makes sense.  For a large commercial bank, however, with core competencies in things like finance and investment, it is probably the better course of action to purchase a commercial DevOps solution instead, freeing up precious resources to focus on serving their customers through innovative financial products and services.

More Stories By Rex Morrow

Rex is the Marketing Director at Datical, a venture-backed software company whose solution, Datical DB, manages and simplifies database schema change management in support of high velocity application releases. Prior to Datical, Rex co-founded Texas Venture Labs, a startup accelerator at the University of Texas, and received his MBA from the McCombs School of Business. Before graduate school, Rex served as a Captain in the U.S. Army, and was awarded two bronze stars during combat deployments in Iraq.

@MicroservicesExpo Stories
How is DevOps going within your organization? If you need some help measuring just how well it is going, we have prepared a list of some key DevOps metrics to track. These metrics can help you understand how your team is doing over time. The word DevOps means different things to different people. Some say it a culture and every vendor in the industry claims that their tools help with DevOps. Depending on how you define DevOps, some of these metrics may matter more or less to you and your team.
For many of us laboring in the fields of digital transformation, 2017 was a year of high-intensity work and high-reward achievement. So we’re looking forward to a little breather over the end-of-year holiday season. But we’re going to have to get right back on the Continuous Delivery bullet train in 2018. Markets move too fast and customer expectations elevate too precipitously for businesses to rest on their laurels. Here’s a DevOps “to-do list” for 2018 that should be priorities for anyone w...
If testing environments are constantly unavailable and affected by outages, release timelines will be affected. You can use three metrics to measure stability events for specific environments and plan around events that will affect your critical path to release.
In a recent post, titled “10 Surprising Facts About Cloud Computing and What It Really Is”, Zac Johnson highlighted some interesting facts about cloud computing in the SMB marketplace: Cloud Computing is up to 40 times more cost-effective for an SMB, compared to running its own IT system. 94% of SMBs have experienced security benefits in the cloud that they didn’t have with their on-premises service
DevOps failure is a touchy subject with some, because DevOps is typically perceived as a way to avoid failure. As a result, when you fail in a DevOps practice, the situation can seem almost hopeless. However, just as a fail-fast business approach, or the “fail and adjust sooner” methodology of Agile often proves, DevOps failures are actually a step in the right direction. They’re the first step toward learning from failures and turning your DevOps practice into one that will lead you toward even...
DevOps is under attack because developers don’t want to mess with infrastructure. They will happily own their code into production, but want to use platforms instead of raw automation. That’s changing the landscape that we understand as DevOps with both architecture concepts (CloudNative) and process redefinition (SRE). Rob Hirschfeld’s recent work in Kubernetes operations has led to the conclusion that containers and related platforms have changed the way we should be thinking about DevOps and...
While walking around the office I happened upon a relatively new employee dragging emails from his inbox into folders. I asked why and was told, “I’m just answering emails and getting stuff off my desk.” An empty inbox may be emotionally satisfying to look at, but in practice, you should never do it. Here’s why. I recently wrote a piece arguing that from a mathematical perspective, Messy Desks Are Perfectly Optimized. While it validated the genius of my friends with messy desks, it also gener...
The goal of Microservices is to improve software delivery speed and increase system safety as scale increases. Microservices being modular these are faster to change and enables an evolutionary architecture where systems can change, as the business needs change. Microservices can scale elastically and by being service oriented can enable APIs natively. Microservices also reduce implementation and release cycle time and enables continuous delivery. This paper provides a logical overview of the Mi...
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...
The enterprise data storage marketplace is poised to become a battlefield. No longer the quiet backwater of cloud computing services, the focus of this global transition is now going from compute to storage. An overview of recent storage market history is needed to understand why this transition is important. Before 2007 and the birth of the cloud computing market we are witnessing today, the on-premise model hosted in large local data centers dominated enterprise storage. Key marketplace play...
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
Some people are directors, managers, and administrators. Others are disrupters. Eddie Webb (@edwardawebb) is an IT Disrupter for Software Development Platforms at Liberty Mutual and was a presenter at the 2016 All Day DevOps conference. His talk, Organically DevOps: Building Quality and Security into the Software Supply Chain at Liberty Mutual, looked at Liberty Mutual's transformation to Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, and DevOps. For a large, heavily regulated industry, this task ...
Following a tradition dating back to 2002 at ZapThink and continuing at Intellyx since 2014, it’s time for Intellyx’s annual predictions for the coming year. If you’re a long-time fan, you know we have a twist to the typical annual prediction post: we actually critique our predictions from the previous year. To make things even more interesting, Charlie and I switch off, judging the other’s predictions. And now that he’s been with Intellyx for more than a year, this Cortex represents my first ...
"Grape Up leverages Cloud Native technologies and helps companies build software using microservices, and work the DevOps agile way. We've been doing digital innovation for the last 12 years," explained Daniel Heckman, of Grape Up 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.
The Toyota Production System, a world-renowned production system is based on the "complete elimination of all waste". The "Toyota Way", grounded on continuous improvement dates to the 1860s. The methodology is widely proven to be successful yet there are still industries within and tangential to manufacturing struggling to adopt its core principles: Jidoka: a process should stop when an issue is identified prevents releasing defective products
We seem to run this cycle with every new technology that comes along. A good idea with practical applications is born, then both marketers and over-excited users start to declare it is the solution for all or our problems. Compliments of Gartner, we know it generally as “The Hype Cycle”, but each iteration is a little different. 2018’s flavor will be serverless computing, and by 2018, I mean starting now, but going most of next year, you’ll be sick of it. We are already seeing people write such...
Defining the term ‘monitoring’ is a difficult task considering the performance space has evolved significantly over the years. Lately, there has been a shift in the monitoring world, sparking a healthy debate regarding the definition and purpose of monitoring, through which a new term has emerged: observability. Some of that debate can be found in blogs by Charity Majors and Cindy Sridharan.
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.