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4 small DevOps wins that can lead to big gains

DevOps case studiesImplementing a DevOps model does not mean wiping the slate clean of each team’s independent challenges and objectives, but rather, leveraging existing processes and understanding different roles in order to support the scalability and agility needed to stay competitive.

Different teams ​have different concerns.​ While developmental teams are driven by user needs for frequent delivery of new features, operations teams focus on availability, stability of IT services and cost efficiency. Automation and integration can address both developmental and operational needs, and since it’s likely you already have the tools you need in-house, knowing how to use them collectively goes a long way in optimizing your investments and processes.

Here are 4 small wins that can pave the way for an integrated IT environment that’s fueled by DevOps:

Win #1: Improve risk assessment with testing automation

Whether you are testing the Cyber Monday capacity of your e-commerce platform, a new release of your ERP or a new mobile application, automate your performance testing to reduce your risk.

An automation tool can mimic and duplicate user actions to stress the system, then analyze both its functionality and performance allowing you to make changes as needed then repeat testing until you achieve your desired results.

Performance testing provides peace of mind by knowing what your infrastructure can bear during fluctuations of heavy usage. It can also help prevent bottlenecks and crashing by preparing your application to stand up to your projected user base as well as unexpected traffic.

Adding automated performance testing early in the development cycle alerts the development and operations teams of potential defects before release or upgrade. By avoiding the risk of downtime and improving agility, you can quickly implement positive change with this small win.

Win #2: Accelerate workflows without causing chaos

Consumers have come to expect service delivery within minutes. They want their requests fulfilled with one click. If on-demand is the key deliverable for a DevOps environment, then being able to deliver “Anything-as-a-Service,” or XaaS, needs to become a reality in your organization.

Delivering XaaS does not happen overnight. If process automation is not properly in place for deployment, change, capacity planning or asset dependencies, your IT environment can fall into chaos very quickly. Using software orchestration to connect multiple automated tasks or functions into overarching workflows to complete an end-to-end process can help minimize ​technology disruptions and improve the stability of IT services.

Executing a flow with a full audit trail across different IT management disciplines is a significant win and momentum builder for a crawl, walk, run approach to a DevOps Journey. There are several tools to implement software orchestration (also referred to as run book automation or process automation). One to consider is
HPE Operations Orchestration​

With a library of over 5000 existing workflows and the flexibility to create custom workflows with almost any integration endpoint, this cost-effective solution is a catalyst to creating an automated IT process platform for maintaining, troubleshooting, repairing and provisioning your IT resources by:

  • Checking the health of, diagnosing and repairing networks, servers, services, software applications and/or individual workstations

  • Checking client, server and virtual machines for needed software and updates and, if needed, performing the needed installations, updates or distributions

  • Performing repetitive tasks such as checking status on internal and/or external web site pages

By using workflows to create process automation for build, triage, release and change, your organization can implement a complete-end-to-end automated service delivery confidently, making XaaS a reality.

Win #3: Enhance release coordination by orchestrating end-to-end processes

Planning and managing change is complex and that complexity is enhanced even more if there are development and operation silos. Improving collaboration between development and quality assurance (QA) during the application release management processes helps close the gap and effectively accelerate DevOps implementation.

By leveraging the power of automation and integration, you can initiate an automatic transfer of code from development to quality assurance release based on a process flow and a release ticket. Automation allows development to “offer” application changes to the test group, who can “accept” the changed code for test in their environment and then automatically initiate test protocols.

Once complete, the QA group can run tests and automatically convert the code/app to a release request candidate which then is integrated with the change approval process to automatically move the code into production. Where applicable, the code/app is automatically entered into a compliance group (PCI, NIST, DISA, STIG, etc.) and managed as an ITIL-compliant Configuration Item in production.

Complex change does not have to necessarily mean inefficient. Adopt this automation and integration small win to incorporate process control, lower risk and increase application visibility across the enterprise.

Win #4: Realize continuous integration with automated dependency mapping

Providing transparency to all stakeholders is the name of the game, and being able to seamlessly map your developers, source code, test cases, releases and defects to the respective business services defined by a configuration management database (CMDB) is a strategic move.

Avoiding disparate data sources in your IT environment and increasing operational efficiency with automated workflows and defined processes requires accurate dependency mapping of your IT assets within your CMDB or configuration management systems (CMS.) Having a single view of your consolidated IT infrastructure data can help you build service models, track assets, perform compliant change processes and adopt continuous integration.

For example, during the triage process, a service desk administrator who can see the application release or code that is diagnosed with a service bug or defect and which business unit is associated with the service can open an incident, problem or change ticket and have it automatically assigned to the developer associated with the code base. Management has direct access to review the release, test cases and results, defects, build, service impact and more, all in real time. This end-to-end visibility significantly reduces errors and improves communications for delivering business value faster.

For this small win, implement a data integration tool that can automatically populate, relate, synchronize, maintain and report data from many different sources with your CMDB and CMS for accurate dependency mapping. One such tool is the Avnet Seamle​s​s Data Pump™, an out-of-the-box, fully supported data integration tool that automatically builds and maintains your CMDB with existing and discovered data from enterprise management tools from multiple top technology vendors and file types, as well as flat files. Whatever your data integration and mapping needs are, this is a surefire quick and easy win with big gains.

Small wins can lead to big gains

Starting with small projects that test DevOps disciplines allows for trial and error and leads to small achievements instead of potentially large fails. A series of small wins can help demonstrate the potential behind DevOps.

Want to learn more about small DevOps wins?
Schedule a DevOps Vital Signs assessment​ of your current IT environment. With the improved insight gained, you can easily identify and execute small wins for your organization.​

Emily Melone:

​​As a marketing consultant who spends time with her head in the “cloud,” Emily Melone works directly with DevOps experts to convey its collaborative benefits for organizations. Her goal is to cut the “fluff” and “buzz” behind technology advancements in order to communicate the true value of a solution. For the past eight years, Emily’s aptitude has been helping communicate the benefits of hybrid cloud, software-defined data center and IT operations and management solutions.