Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Yeshim Deniz, Elizabeth White, Flint Brenton, Liz McMillan, Pat Romanski

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
Without a clear strategy for cost control and an architecture designed with cloud services in mind, costs and operational performance can quickly get out of control. To avoid multiple architectural redesigns requires extensive thought and planning. Boundary (now part of BMC) launched a new public-facing multi-tenant high resolution monitoring service on Amazon AWS two years ago, facing challenges and learning best practices in the early days of the new service.
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.
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, ...
In his keynote at 19th Cloud Expo, Sheng Liang, co-founder and CEO of Rancher Labs, discussed the technological advances and new business opportunities created by the rapid adoption of containers. With the success of Amazon Web Services (AWS) and various open source technologies used to build private clouds, cloud computing has become an essential component of IT strategy. However, users continue to face challenges in implementing clouds, as older technologies evolve and newer ones like Docker c...
All organizations that did not originate this moment have a pre-existing culture as well as legacy technology and processes that can be more or less amenable to DevOps implementation. That organizational culture is influenced by the personalities and management styles of Executive Management, the wider culture in which the organization is situated, and the personalities of key team members at all levels of the organization. This culture and entrenched interests usually throw a wrench in the work...
We all know that end users experience the internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices - not doing so will be a path to eventual ...
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...
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...
"DivvyCloud as a company set out to help customers automate solutions to the most common cloud problems," noted Jeremy Snyder, VP of Business Development at DivvyCloud, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 20th Cloud Expo, held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
We all know that end users experience the Internet primarily with mobile devices. From an app development perspective, we know that successfully responding to the needs of mobile customers depends on rapid DevOps – failing fast, in short, until the right solution evolves in your customers' relationship to your business. Whether you’re decomposing an SOA monolith, or developing a new application cloud natively, it’s not a question of using microservices – not doing so will be a path to eventual b...
"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.
Docker is sweeping across startups and enterprises alike, changing the way we build and ship applications. It's the most prominent and widely known software container platform, and it's particularly useful for eliminating common challenges when collaborating on code (like the "it works on my machine" phenomenon that most devs know all too well). With Docker, you can run and manage apps side-by-side - in isolated containers - resulting in better compute density. It's something that many developer...
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 ...
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...
What's the role of an IT self-service portal when you get to continuous delivery and Infrastructure as Code? This general session showed how to create the continuous delivery culture and eight accelerators for leading the change. Don Demcsak is a DevOps and Cloud Native Modernization Principal for Dell EMC based out of New Jersey. He is a former, long time, Microsoft Most Valuable Professional, specializing in building and architecting Application Delivery Pipelines for hybrid legacy, and cloud ...
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.
"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.
"We view the cloud not as a specific technology but as a way of doing business and that way of doing business is transforming the way software, infrastructure and services are being delivered to business," explained Matthew Rosen, CEO and Director at Fusion, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo (http://www.CloudComputingExpo.com), held June 7-9 at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his session at Cloud Expo, Alan Winters, U.S. Head of Business Development at MobiDev, presented a success story of an entrepreneur who has both suffered through and benefited from offshore development across multiple businesses: The smart choice, or how to select the right offshore development partner Warning signs, or how to minimize chances of making the wrong choice Collaboration, or how to establish the most effective work processes Budget control, or how to maximize project result...