As a pandemic-wrought remote working world tries to ensure business continuity, only the nimblest organizations are destined to survive and thrive. The onus falls on leaders to digitize their organizations, with cloud as the backbone and DevOps as the mechanism of automation that enables continuous integration, continuous test and continuous delivery to customers. This transformation built on cloud is at the heart of the journey to becoming a modern business.
DevOps helps organizations advance their digital initiatives and ensure more collaborative practices that align teams behind ideal outcomes. Amid the pandemic, organizations are under pressure to accelerate digital initiatives to emerge stronger and more competitive, by adding new capabilities that increase agility and resilience. Since most DevOps teams now work remotely, the cloud plays an even more central role in ensuring smooth, seamless software development.
Without the cloud, there will always be a trade-off between speed and effectiveness for DevOps processes on-premises. To minimize risks and maximize operational efficiency, IT operations must transform from tortoise to hare, relying on speed and risk-taking to achieve necessary outcomes.
In a legacy environment, setting up or upgrading an application remains a considerable undertaking. For example, in Apache Subversion, time required from code check-in phase to the build phase and testing is several days — or even months.
In our experience working with large businesses, such efforts always involve a varied set of people: developers; testers; security and infrastructure personnel; business stakeholders; and users, all distributed across the globe. With a model like this, up to half the project lifecycle is consumed in project overhead (governance and coordination meetings, authoring and reviewing functional specs, code inspections, and signoffs).
With the advent of cloud and cloud tools (Infrastructure as Code, continuous innovation/continuous delivery, or CI/CD, secure collaboration, container-based microservices), the DevOps process has smoothed, accelerating time to market, enhancing customer experience and fostering innovation and scalability.
DevOps Imperatives Post-COVID
Since the beginning of the pandemic, we have held extensive conversations with customers that are yet to unleash the full potential of their on-premises DevOps processes. As a result of these conversations, we have created a list of DevOps challenges that cloud can help overcome — and ways for businesses to surmount those challenges.
1 Prioritize work culture
According to a 2019 report in the Harvard Business Review, digital change is more about people than technology. DevOps is essentially a cultural shift that tries to bring in a new way of thinking about solutions. In a recent Cognizant study, 95% of respondents said such digital transitions are culturally challenging. The challenges they face are around standardization, team structure, collaboration and shift in mindset.
Cloud can overcome these challenges the following ways:
- Ensure people, process and platform standardization. What does a successful DevOps culture look like? Witness the seamless intersection of people, process and tools at a global investment company we worked with recently.
New cloud engineers at the company start their first day with a laptop and a development virtual machine (VM) already set up with the appropriate accounts for access and authorization; the most common GitHub repositories cloned; aliases and shortcuts to relevant tools pre-created; and a guide with new hire information and links to other company resources on their desktop. (See following figure.) Standardization of tools and practices between teams makes it easier for new people to get up to speed regardless of what team they are joining; cloud aids this standardization.