Are DevOps and Continuous Delivery ready for the enterprise? You bet!
If you’ve followed the DevOps conversation at all over the past several years, you’re familiar with the many benefits that DevOps brings to companies. By facilitating easier collaboration and providing a framework for tools that allow developers and IT to work together more tightly, DevOps adds efficiency and mitigates risk when you’re developing, deploying and delivering software. DevOps principles like Continuous Delivery also help speed the rate at which software is produced and updated.
But there are so many more benefits to DevOps for the enterprise that you might be overlooking. Read on to learn why you can—and should—start doing DevOps now.
Less Waste, Happier Customers, Top Talent
If you’re an enterprise with deeply entrenched ways of doing things, you may be wondering:
- Is DevOps right for me?
- Is it worth the investment if I have to revamp my current processes?
The answer is a resounding yes.
Sure, adopting DevOps may be a little harder for an established enterprise than a tiny startup that can design its operations to be DevOps-friendly from the start. But that’s really not surprising given that no enterprise environment is a greenfield. They’re complex and heterogeneous, and although they do involve more work, the value will be felt for years to come. Consider these advantages:
Cut the fat! Bloat and inefficiency are perennial problems for any large company, more so than for small organizations, which tend to be leaner because they have smaller staffs and less overhead to manage. DevOps helps cut the fat in software production. That can pay big dividends for enterprises eager for a way to revitalize their IT operations. And no, cut the fat isn’t about losing people – it’s about losing the waste in your process, that’s costing you critical time to market.
Want to keep your customers? Then you need DevOps. In most markets, customers have little patience for apps that underperform or are out of date. For that reason, an enterprise that relies heavily on legacy apps is already fighting an uphill battle to keep customers. By migrating to DevOps, however, the company can help to keep users happy by updating its apps more consistently and frequently and by providing better stability.
Want the best IT talent? You need DevOps for that, too. The best programmers and system administrators today love DevOps. Enterprises that want to attract the best IT talent will therefore benefit from a DevOps environment. For enterprise recruiters, this is an especially important advantage in an age when the smartest tech folks more often want to work at flashy startups than at large, established companies. Having a DevOps-centric IT operation can help even “boring” companies appeal to bright engineers. At the same time, don’t forget training. Recruit the best talent, yes, but also be sure to train your existing staff to keep refreshing their skills.
How to Do DevOps in the Enterprise
So, now that you know why your enterprise should do DevOps, let’s talk about how it can make the jump. It’s starts with understanding a few guiding principles that will help you as you transition to DevOps. These include:
DevOps is a journey. It’s not a switch that you turn on or off. When planning a DevOps migration, identify the different stages you’ll pass through. Start small—by implementing some basic DevOps tools, for example—and keep working from there until you reach fully continuous delivery.
There’s no one-size-fits-all DevOps toolset. In other words, the DevOps tools that one company uses may differ widely from those used by another organization. An enterprise that’s planning a DevOps migration should expect to customize its toolset heavily, and may even need to commission some new tools to meet its unique DevOps needs. Grabbing stock DevOps tools is not likely to be enough for a successful enterprise DevOps operation. Plus, release orchestration software will be necessary–if not crucial–you want to keep using all your DevOps tools (and leverage them for what they do best) while scaling to the enterprise.
You don’t need to rebuild everything from the ground up to do DevOps. Rather than completely reinventing your wheel, look for ways to make the tools you already have in place—like PaaS platforms or flexible infrastructure technologies such as Docker—help you in your DevOps migration.
Successful DevOps involves more than just the IT department. Business leaders also need to be clued into the transition process. They need to understand that great software is a strategic priority that’s critical not just to a successful DevOps implementation, but also to business performance. Executive leadership is particularly critical when making the transition from initial small team projects to broader enterprise roll-out.
Enterprise DevOps has its challenges, but even the largest of organizations can successfully practice DevOps if they treat it as a journey rather than something they’ll accomplish overnight. It’s also important to recognize that DevOps is about more than just spinning up a few open source tools and expecting magic. You need to make sure the tools you use are the best fit for your organization and that they’re implemented in an enterprise-friendly way, such as through release orchestration. All of this takes some work. But the benefits enterprises will gain by making the switch will provide a crucial advantage in highly competitive markets.