Welcome!

API Journal Authors: Pat Romanski, Elizabeth White, Carmen Gonzalez, Jonathan Fries, Liz McMillan

Related Topics: Microservices Expo

Microservices Expo: Article

Business Agility Depends on DevOps

Business agility depends on development and operations collaboration

True business agility is not about doing more application updates faster.  True business agility is about doing more application changes faster without sacrificing the application's performance or service quality.

From my perspective, achieving that second part of business agility means preventing application performance and service quality problems.  For the longest time IT operations have focused solely on remediating problems, which is not the same thing.  When someone's focus is on remediation, they quickly realize that it is easier to remediate problems when the environment does not change very often.  So no matter how much IT operations teams have streamlined their application problem resolution processes, there has still been an undercurrent of resistence to the constant change that is business agility.

Resistence is futile, and operations teams know this.  They recognize that they must also tackle problem prevention earlier in the application lifecycle.  The more experience one has in trying to manage the performance or service quality of constantly changing applications the more it becomes clear that the number of application performance problems depends on:

  • how well the application is engineered for the production environment,
  • how well application updates are managed; and
  • how well defect and problem knowledge are shared across development and operations.

Those issues are driving the growing interest development and operations collaboration (DevOps). Let us look at each to understand why.

1) How well the application is engineered for the production environment.
The final production deployment configuration often bears little resemblance to the application architect's original Visio diagrams.  Operations teams map the application service model, designed by software architects and developers, to the resource environments available from physical, virtual, or cloud infrastructure. This mapping activity has become an engineering effort as the complexity of the applications has grown.  This means there is often a big difference between software design and deployment configuration.  This difference often results in miscues that cause organizations to have as much as 50% their deployments rolled back.

Rollbacks can be caused by configuration had problems such as incorrect IP addresses.  That type of problem occurs when developers with no operations experience are managing this application engineering effort. Rollbacks can also be caused when the placement of the distributed components caused unexpected application performance and service quality problems.  That type of problem occurs when operations folks with little insight into the application design are managing the application configuration effort. The converse is also true, when development teams have little insight into how production deployments are configured, they can create application architectures that are not as scalable in production as in the test environment. Skills from both development and operations must be applied during the deployment configuration effort to prevent these problems.

2) How well application updates are managed.
Back when tiered web application deployments were new, I did research showed that when enterprises went from client/server to tiered web application architectures, application updates jumped from bi-annual to monthly events.   Now I'm beginning to track that the combination of SOA and agile programming means weekly (sometimes daily) application updates. It seems obvious to me that weekly application updates done with release management tools and processes designed for bi-annual updates will result in poorly performing applications.  The application service quality is even worse when those release management tools and processes used by infrastructure administrators with hardware and OS configurations expertise but little insight into application design and configuration.  If the goal is business agility without sacrificing application service quality then application development and operations teams need new collaborative means to manage how updates get done.

3) How well defect and problem knowledge flow across development and operations teams.
Defect knowledge from development teams is extremely useful because it allows operations teams to create infrastructure workarounds (such as throwing more hardware at the problem or staging server restarts).  These workarounds protect application service quality while buying the development team time to resolve the problem.

Problem knowledge from operations teams is useful because it allows agile developers to improve their application design for better performance as they work on the next round of user requirements. Therefore, it seems obvious to me that the more difficult communications is between development and operations, the more application problems there will be in production.  The chasm between development and operations groups has to be bridged with effective collaboration for application service quality to be maintain in the face of constant change.  Effective collaboration  is not about more meetings, reports, email trails and CYA activities.  It is about enabling the different groups to share the right information with the right people at the right time.

So there's my take on three key issues that determine how agile a business can actually become. From my perspective, fostering application collaboration between development and operations should be a cornerstone capability of those solutions if they are to deliver true business agility. I'm interested in hearing your perspectives.

More Stories By Jasmine Noel

Jasmine Noel is a founding partner of Ptak, Noel & Associates. She has over 15 years experience analyzing and consulting on IT management issues. She currently focuses on technologies and processes that organizations require to design, engineer and manage the performance and service quality of business applications, workloads and services. Noel served previously as director of systems and applications management at Hurwitz Group, where she formulated and managed the company’s research agenda. She was also a senior analyst at D.H. Brown Associates, where her responsibilities included technology trend analysis in the network and systems management space. Noel is regularly quoted in and contributed articles to several leading publications and content portals on various IT management topics. She holds a bachelor of science from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and a master of science from the University of Southern California.

@ThingsExpo Stories
As data explodes in quantity, importance and from new sources, the need for managing and protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and cloud environments grow with it. Managing data includes protecting it, indexing and classifying it for true, long-term management, compliance and E-Discovery. Commvault can ensure this with a single pane of glass solution – whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enter...
IoT solutions exploit operational data generated by Internet-connected smart “things” for the purpose of gaining operational insight and producing “better outcomes” (for example, create new business models, eliminate unscheduled maintenance, etc.). The explosive proliferation of IoT solutions will result in an exponential growth in the volume of IoT data, precipitating significant Information Governance issues: who owns the IoT data, what are the rights/duties of IoT solutions adopters towards t...
Businesses and business units of all sizes can benefit from cloud computing, but many don't want the cost, performance and security concerns of public cloud nor the complexity of building their own private clouds. Today, some cloud vendors are using artificial intelligence (AI) to simplify cloud deployment and management. In his session at 20th Cloud Expo, Ajay Gulati, Co-founder and CEO of ZeroStack, will discuss how AI can simplify cloud operations. He will cover the following topics: why clou...
Everyone knows that truly innovative companies learn as they go along, pushing boundaries in response to market changes and demands. What's more of a mystery is how to balance innovation on a fresh platform built from scratch with the legacy tech stack, product suite and customers that continue to serve as the business' foundation. In his General Session at 19th Cloud Expo, Michael Chambliss, Head of Engineering at ReadyTalk, discussed why and how ReadyTalk diverted from healthy revenue and mor...
The many IoT deployments around the world are busy integrating smart devices and sensors into their enterprise IT infrastructures. Yet all of this technology – and there are an amazing number of choices – is of no use without the software to gather, communicate, and analyze the new data flows. Without software, there is no IT. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products at Bsquare Corporation; Alan Williamson, Principal...
The 20th International Cloud Expo has announced that its Call for Papers is open. Cloud Expo, to be held June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, brings together Cloud Computing, Big Data, Internet of Things, DevOps, Containers, Microservices and WebRTC to one location. With cloud computing driving a higher percentage of enterprise IT budgets every year, it becomes increasingly important to plant your flag in this fast-expanding business opportunity. Submit your speaking proposal ...
You have great SaaS business app ideas. You want to turn your idea quickly into a functional and engaging proof of concept. You need to be able to modify it to meet customers' needs, and you need to deliver a complete and secure SaaS application. How could you achieve all the above and yet avoid unforeseen IT requirements that add unnecessary cost and complexity? You also want your app to be responsive in any device at any time. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Mark Allen, General Manager of...
Successful digital transformation requires new organizational competencies and capabilities. Research tells us that the biggest impediment to successful transformation is human; consequently, the biggest enabler is a properly skilled and empowered workforce. In the digital age, new individual and collective competencies are required. In his session at 19th Cloud Expo, Bob Newhouse, CEO and founder of Agilitiv, drew together recent research and lessons learned from emerging and established compa...
"IoT is going to be a huge industry with a lot of value for end users, for industries, for consumers, for manufacturers. How can we use cloud to effectively manage IoT applications," stated Ian Khan, Innovation & Marketing Manager at Solgeniakhela, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at @ThingsExpo, held November 3-5, 2015, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Financial Technology has become a topic of intense interest throughout the cloud developer and enterprise IT communities. Accordingly, attendees at the upcoming 20th Cloud Expo at the Javits Center in New York, June 6-8, 2017, will find fresh new content in a new track called FinTech.
Information technology is an industry that has always experienced change, and the dramatic change sweeping across the industry today could not be truthfully described as the first time we've seen such widespread change impacting customer investments. However, the rate of the change, and the potential outcomes from today's digital transformation has the distinct potential to separate the industry into two camps: Organizations that see the change coming, embrace it, and successful leverage it; and...
Bert Loomis was a visionary. This general session will highlight how Bert Loomis and people like him inspire us to build great things with small inventions. In their general session at 19th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Architect at IBM Bluemix, and Michael O'Neill, Strategic Business Development at Nvidia, discussed the accelerating pace of AI development and how IBM Cloud and NVIDIA are partnering to bring AI capabilities to "every day," on-demand. They also reviewed two "free infrastructure" pr...
"Dice has been around for the last 20 years. We have been helping tech professionals find new jobs and career opportunities," explained Manish Dixit, VP of Product and Engineering at Dice, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
Extracting business value from Internet of Things (IoT) data doesn’t happen overnight. There are several requirements that must be satisfied, including IoT device enablement, data analysis, real-time detection of complex events and automated orchestration of actions. Unfortunately, too many companies fall short in achieving their business goals by implementing incomplete solutions or not focusing on tangible use cases. In his general session at @ThingsExpo, Dave McCarthy, Director of Products...
"At ROHA we develop an app called Catcha. It was developed after we spent a year meeting with, talking to, interacting with senior citizens watching them use their smartphones and talking to them about how they use their smartphones so we could get to know their smartphone behavior," explained Dave Woods, Chief Innovation Officer at ROHA, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2017 New York. The 20th Cloud Expo and 7th @ThingsExpo will take place on June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Internet to enable us all to im...
We are always online. We access our data, our finances, work, and various services on the Internet. But we live in a congested world of information in which the roads were built two decades ago. The quest for better, faster Internet routing has been around for a decade, but nobody solved this problem. We’ve seen band-aid approaches like CDNs that attack a niche's slice of static content part of the Internet, but that’s it. It does not address the dynamic services-based Internet of today. It does...
"ReadyTalk is an audio and web video conferencing provider. We've really come to embrace WebRTC as the platform for our future of technology," explained Dan Cunningham, CTO of ReadyTalk, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at WebRTC Summit at 19th Cloud Expo, held November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
20th Cloud Expo, taking place June 6-8, 2017, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY, will feature technical sessions from a rock star conference faculty and the leading industry players in the world. Cloud computing is now being embraced by a majority of enterprises of all sizes. Yesterday's debate about public vs. private has transformed into the reality of hybrid cloud: a recent survey shows that 74% of enterprises have a hybrid cloud strategy.
WebRTC is the future of browser-to-browser communications, and continues to make inroads into the traditional, difficult, plug-in web communications world. The 6th WebRTC Summit continues our tradition of delivering the latest and greatest presentations within the world of WebRTC. Topics include voice calling, video chat, P2P file sharing, and use cases that have already leveraged the power and convenience of WebRTC.