The Adoption of Enterprise DevOps in Asia Pacific

While it is clear that organizations in Asia Pacific are looking at DevOps as a panacea for achieving greater business agility by enabling improved collaboration between IT development and operations, the way forward on implementing it is less obvious.

Globalization and international competition have accelerated new entrants into market places and disrupted business-as-usual. The markets for enterprises are changing faster than ever, because of the increasingly technological nature of products and services. Even the most mundane products are digital, or marketed through digital channels.

To cope with these changes, organizations must transform themselves by exploiting new technologies, the Cloud, and undertaking initiatives around mobility. Staying competitive includes the digital transformation of software development and delivery processes. Leading Asia Pacific organizations including Huawei and Samsung have already invested significant resources on DevOps to fast-track their products’ time to market.

A changing landscape

The nature of software products has changed over the past decade with the web, mobile and now the Internet of Things (IoT) driving innovation. China is already the largest market in terms of app store revenue, India is the second largest smartphone market and Southeast Asia is experiencing a rapid growth of internet, digital, social media and mobile activity. With more than 320 million internet users in January 2017 and double-digit growth across most countries, the digital sector is booming and attracting lots of interest.

Early adopters of DevOps include Google and Amazon – they continue to lead the way but business returns remain elusive for most implementations.

Micro Focus and DevOps

Micro Focus addresses the DevOps challenge from a software/application engineering and deployment perspective, but this popular on-demand webinar series suggests any major DevOps initiative must include a number of other key disciplines:

  • Code – Code development and review, static code analysis, continuous integration tools
  • Build – Version control tools, code merging, build status
  • Test – Continuous testing, test automation and results to determine performance
  • Package – Artifact repository, application pre-deployment staging
  • Release – Change management, release approvals, release automation, provisioning
  • Configure – Infrastructure configuration and management, infrastructure as code tools
  • Monitor – Application performance monitoring, end user experience

DevOps transformation programs and implementation can significantly reduce an organization’s time to market. However, DevOps practices can be challenging to adopt at enterprise scale. The process and behavioral changes can be unsettling to developers, testers – and the IT operations team.

Implementing DevOps is serious work, but it might not be as challenging as it sounds. It is important to pick up from the best practices of global solution providers and learn from their experience across different industries. This will help to alleviate any early concerns and leverage best practice methodologies. Organizations that successfully implemented DevOps, such as FIFGroup, can reap many benefits:

  • Increased developer and operational productivity with effective management of infrastructure as code
  • Faster release of apps with automated processes
  • Enhanced customer experience with near real-time, continuous improvement

Measuring success

With DevOps set for mainstream adoption in Asia Pacific, it is important to keep track of the success metrics that can improve digital practices. Using a complete end-to-end cycle, from coding to monitoring, it is important to ensure that strategy and implementation are measured with collective metrics that will uncover bottlenecks in processes as well as pinpoint areas of good performance for repeatability.

Getting Started

Our eight city APAC DevOps roadshow could help – and seats are filling fast.

If you can’t make it to one of the events and need advice please contact us directly. Don’t forget to check our DevOps blogs for more expert insight from Micro Focus.

The 5 Longest Lead Times in Software Delivery

The Pressure to Go Fast

Rapid business change, fueled by software innovation is transforming how software delivery organizations define, develop, test, and release business applications. For these software organizations to keep their competitive advantage in today’s complex and volatile digital marketplace, they must become more agile, adaptive, and integrated into the business and embrace digital transformation business practices. Unfortunately, most current software delivery practices can’t keep pace with the demands of the business.

Long software delivery cycles are a significant impediment to business technology innovation. Agile development teams have shortened development cycles, but Agile by itself is insufficient as it does not remove the cultural and technical barriers between development and operations.  DevOps principles and practices developed in response to this problem, facilitates cooperation and coordination among teams to deliver software faster and with better quality.

The goal of scaling “DevOps” for the enterprise is to prioritize and optimize deployment pipelines and reduce lead times to deliver better business outcomes. Creating new and optimizing existing deployment pipelines in large IT organizations is key to improving their efficiency and effectiveness in delivering software at the speed that the business requires.

Long Lead Times

Every enterprise IT organization is unique in that it will have different bottlenecks and constraints in its deployment pipelines.  I recommend conducting a value stream mapping exercise to identify specific problem areas.  “Starting and Scaling DevOps in the Enterprise” , by Gary Gruver is a great book and provides a good framework for getting started. The following are the some of the most common areas found that generate the longest lead times:

Handoffs

DevOps culture strives to break down the organizational silos and transition more to product teams.  This is because the current silo’d organizational structure provides headwinds to the objective of short lead times and continuous flow.  Organizational silos are artifacts of the industrial era designed specifically for “Batch and Queue” processing which drives up lead times with handoffs from one team or organization to another. Each handoff is potentially a queue in itself.  Resolving ambiguities require additional communication between teams and can result in significant delays, high costs, and failed releases.

You need to strive to reduce the number of handoffs by automating a significant portion of the work and enabling the teams to continuously work on creating customer value – the faster the flow, the better the quality, resulting in lower lead times.

Approval Processes

Approval processes were originally developed to mitigate risk and provide oversight to ensure adherence to auditable standards for moving changes into production, however, the approval process within most large enterprises is slow and complex and is often comprised of a set of manual stovepipe processes that use email and Microsoft office tools to track, manage, and, more often than not, wait on people for approval of a software change. Lack of proper data or insufficient data leads to hasty or faulty approvals or bounce backs further frustrating software delivery teams, reducing quality, and impeding deployments.

Continuous delivery practices and deployment pipeline automation enables a more rigorous approval process, and a dramatic improvement in speed. Releasing into production might need approval from the business, but everything up to that point could be automated dramatically reducing lead times.

Environment Management and Provisioning

There is nothing more demoralizing to a dev team than having to wait to get an environment to test a new feature. Lack of environment availability and/or environment contention due to manual processes and poor scheduling can create extremely long lead times, delay releases, and increase the cost of release deployments.

Creating environments is a very repetitive task that should be documented, automated, and put under version control. An automated and self-service process to schedule, manage, track, and provision all the environments in the deployment pipeline will greatly reduce lead times, drive down costs, while increasing the productivity of your Dev and QA teams.

Manual Software Deployments

Machines are far better and much more consistent at deploying applications than humans. Yet there still are a significant number of organizations that still manually deploy their code.  Automating manual deployment can be a quick win for these organizations. This approach can be delivered rapidly without major organizational changes. It is not uncommon for organizations to see deployment lead times reduced by over 90%.

The more automated this process is, the more repeatable and reliable it will be. When it’s time to deploy to production, it will be a non-event. This translates into dramatically lower lead times, less downtime and keeps the business open so that it can make more money.

Manual Software Testing

Once the environment is ready and the code is deployed, it’s time to test to ensure the code is working as expected and that it does not break anything else. The problem is that most organizations today manually test their code base. Manual software testing drives lead times up because the process is very slow, error prone and expensive to scale out across large organizations.

Automated testing is a prime area to focus on to reduce lead times. Automated testing is less expensive, more reliable and repeatable, can provide broader coverage, and is a lot faster.  There will be an initial cost of developing the automated test scripts, but a lot of that can be absorbed by shifting manual tester resources to “Test Development Engineers” to focus on automated API-based testing. Over time manual testing costs and lead times will go down as quality goes up.

 The velocity and complexity of software delivery continues to increase as businesses adapt to new economic conditions. Optimizing and automating deployment pipelines using DevOps practices will dramatically reduce lead times and enable the delivery of software faster and with better quality.

To learn more about how to optimize your deployment pipelines, listen to our popular on-demand webcast with Gary Gruver, where he talks about how to start your DevOps journey and how to scale it in large enterprises where change is usually difficult. He shares his recommendations from his new book on scaling DevOps and answers audience questions on how to adopt those best practices in their organizations.

Fill the form to listen to the recording and get your free copy of Gary’s new book Starting and Scaling DevOps in the Enterprise

Süßer die Online Kassen nie klingeln. Wie digital ist das Fest der Liebe?

Süßer die Online-Kassen nie klingeln – so lautet das diesjährige Motto des Onlinehandel-Weihnachtsgeschäfts. Nahezu jeder zweite Deutsche beabsichtigt alle seine Geschenke für das Fest online zu kaufen. Doch wie gut sind die Online-Händler auf das digitale Weihnachten vorbereitet? Systemabstürze und nicht verfügbare Webseiten führender Online-Handelsplattformen in der Schweiz am Black Friday zeigen, wie schnell der Online-Kaufhype zum Bommerang werden kann und warum Last- und Perfomancetests so wichtig sind.

Die Adventszeit beginnt, Weihnachten steht kurz vor der Tür. Während die einen sich auf Duftwolken von Glühwein, Zimt und Anis freuen, die von Weihnachtsmärkten durch die Straßen ziehen, fiebern die anderen dem Black Friday, der Cyber Monday Week oder ganz einfach dem digitalen 24/7 Shoppingangebot im Netz entgegen. Dass die Digitalisierung auch vor dem traditionellen Weihnachtsfest nicht Halt macht, ist klar: Viele Bräuche wandern ins Netz ab  –  wurden früher noch voller Enthusiasmus Bilder von Spielen, Puppen, Büchern und Klamotten mühselig aus Katalogen ausgeschnitten, auf einen Din-A-4-Zettel geklebt, beschriftet, umrandet und dann als formvollendete künstlerische Meisterleistung auf die Fensterbank gelegt,  so versenden die digital Natives heute ihren Wunschzettel samt Emoijs via Facebook, WhatsApp & Co über das Netz. Sehr zur Freude des Onlinehandels, denn die voranschreitende Digitalisierung und die zunehmende Nutzung von social media erschließt den Werbetreibenden ein neues lukratives Feld – man erhält detaillierte Einblicke in das alltägliche Konsumverhalten der Menschen und somit die Möglichkeit, genau auf die Bedürfnisse und Vorlieben des Einzelnen Werbung zu platzieren.

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Süßer die Online Kassen nie klingeln …..oder auch nicht?

Einer aktuellen, repräsentativen Studie von Adobe zur Folge, boomt das Online-Geschäft gerade zur Weihnachtszeit. Im Vergleich zum Vorjahr wird der Umsatz, so die Studie, nochmals um 10 % gesteigert und aller Voraussicht nach auf 23 Milliarden anwachsen.  Angesichts dieser rosigen Umsatzprognosen verwundert es kaum, dass rund 43 % aller Deutschen ihre diesjährigen Weihnachtseinkäufe ausschließlich online tätigen wollen. Als Gründe für die wachsende Begeisterung für das Online Shoppen nannten die 4.000 Befragten vor allem, dass das Einkaufen über das Smartphone wesentlich einfacher geworden sei und sich die Mobile Optimierung der Shops  stark verbessert habe. Viele Händler nutzen deswegen hierzulande, auch aufgrund des wachsenden Bedürfnisses der Kunden, Einkäufe online tätigen zu wollen, Trends wie die aus Amerika bekannten Online Schnäppchen Kampagnen Black Friday oder Cyber Monday Week. Alleine für das Wochenende rund um den sogenannten „Black Friday“ schätzt Adobe das Umsatzpotenzial auf 549 Millionen. Doch der Hype um die Rabattschlachten im Netz birgt für die Händler auch Risiken.  So brachen führende Schweizer Online-Portale unter dem Ansturm der Shopper zusammen und scheiterten grandios im Stress-Test von «Black Friday». Statt erhoffter klingelnder Online Kassen läuteten die Alarmglocken, denn neben Umsatzeinbußen bedeuten solche Störungen auch immer einen Imageverlust – schließlich hat man für die Onlineaktion ja kräftig die Werbetrommel gerührt.  Unternehmen müssen hochperformante Websites bereitstellen, die auch Spitzenlasten problemlos bewältigen können. Deshalb sind Last- und Performance Tests nicht optional, sondern geschäftskritisch und lohnenswert. Für ein reibungsloses Funktionieren eines Programms oder einer Online-Shopping Plattform müssen die einzelnen Komponenten optimal aufeinander abgestimmt sein. Heutzutage müssen Apps und Websites – ganz egal in welcher Branche ein Unternehmen tätig ist – auf jeder Plattform bzw. auf jedem Gerät und unabhängig vom Standort zuverlässig funktionieren und dabei ein ausgezeichnetes Benutzererlebnis bieten. Inkonsistente Benutzererfahrungen und langsame Reaktionszeiten werden von Kunden kaum noch toleriert und führen im Falle des Onlineshoppings zu Kaufabbrüchen.

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5 Tipps zur Beseitigung potenzieller Performance-Engpässe:

1. Frühzeitiges und häufiges Testen

Keinesfalls sollten Performance-Tests bei Applikationen erst vor ihrer Übernahme in den Produktivbetrieb durchgeführt werden, sondern in jeder Entwicklungsstufe und für alle Architekturebenen. Für Applikationen mit einer Drei-Schichten-Architektur bedeutet das zum Beispiel, dass Lasttests für die Präsentations-, Logik- und Datenhaltungsschicht in jeder Phase ihrer Lebenszyklen vorzusehen sind. Durch frühzeitige Tests können Fehler und Architekturprobleme schneller erkannt und damit auch der Kostenaufwand reduziert werden, da es bis zu 100-fach höhere Kosten verursacht, wenn Fehler erst am Ende des Softwareentwicklungsprozesses und nicht bereits zu Beginn beseitigt werden.

2. Ermittlung der maximalen Spitzenlast

Ein Unternehmen sollte auf jeden Fall wissen, für welchen maximalen Traffic die eigene Website ausgelegt ist. Unkenntnis kann hier desaströse Folgen für das eigene Geschäft nach sich ziehen. Viele Unternehmen vertreten allerdings die Auffassung, dass dies nur durch den kostenintensiven Aufbau einer Testumgebung zu ermitteln ist. Es gibt jedoch auch alternative Optionen wie Cloud-basierte Infrastrukturen für Lasttests, über die reale Szenarios simuliert werden können – zum Beispiel mit Tausenden von Usern. Verfügbar sind hier heute Pay-as-you-go-Versionen, mit denen eine Simulation von Spitzenlasten schnell und kosteneffizient erfolgen kann.

3. Durchführung von plattform- und geräteübergreifenden Tests

Anwender nutzen heute eine große Vielfalt unterschiedlicher Geräte und Plattformen für den Zugriff auf Websites. Deshalb ist es unerlässlich, dass sie problemlos auf einem Smartphone, Tablet oder Desktop-PC dargestellt werden können. Folglich müssen Unternehmen auch Performance-Tests für mobile Web- und mobile native Applikationen für Android, iOS, und Windows Phone durchführen. Ebenfalls zu berücksichtigen sind Bandbreitentests im Hinblick auf unterschiedliche Mobilfunkverbindungen über GPRS, 3G oder 4G.

4. Analyse der Fehler-Ursachen

Es ist keineswegs ausreichend, Performance-Probleme zu erkennen, viel wichtiger noch sind Root-Cause-Analysen. Als Teil einer Testing-Gesamtlösung ermöglichen Diagnosetools eine effiziente Lokalisierung der Ursachen von Performance-Problemen – auch unter Spitzenlasten –, und damit eine deutlich schnellere Fehlerbehebung.

5. Unmittelbare Alarmierung

Reguläre Performance-Tests helfen zwar, potenzielle Spitzenlast-Engpässe zu beseitigen, ebenso wichtig ist es aber, unmittelbar über etwaige Probleme informiert zu werden. Deshalb sollte ein Online-Händler auf jeden Fall auch ein Website-Monitoring-Tool mit Alarmierungsfunktion nutzen, das zudem tägliche Updates und Reports bietet, auf deren Basis auch potenzielle Schwachstellen beseitigt werden können.

Fazit : Auch wenn das Weihnachtsgeschäft bereits im vollem Gange ist – für Veränderung und Optimierung ist es nie zu spät, denn auch im kommenden Jahr gibt es nicht nur wieder einen neuen „Black Friday“ oder andere Online-Kampagnen, die gut vorbereitet sein sollten.  Mit Performance Tests, automatisierten funktionalen Tests sowie Lösungen im Bereich des Zugriffsmanagement und erweiterter Authentifizierungsmethoden bietet Micro Focus nicht nur Online-Händlern wichtige Unterstützung.

Gregor Rechberger

Gregor-Rechberger

Gregor Rechberger is the Product Manager for performance testing and application monitoring which includes load-testing and application performance monitoring products. Since joining Segue/Borland in 2002 he has held documentation, program, and product management positions and has over 10 years of experience in the testing discipline.

Eating your own dog food: Agile Requirements at Micro Focus using Atlas

Atlas is Micro Focus’ Agile requirements management tool. With an intuitive user interface, Atlas enables users to gather concepts, define requirements and collaborate with a minimal learning curve. Innovative tracking allows stakeholders to see at a glance how requirements are progressing based on live data from delivery tools such as Micro Focus Agile, Rally and VersionOne.

Throughout 2016 Micro Focus development teams have been using Atlas to deliver better software faster. In this blog Ed Benton looks at how using Atlas has benefited its users and Atlas support and development team too.

So what is Atlas?

Micro Focus Development teams have been using the Atlas Planning and Tracking Suite to more effectively gather, define, discuss, plan and track their Software Development requirements. Atlas has empowered teams working on Enterprise software such as Reflection, InfoConnect Desktop and RM/COBOL to work more effectively and deliver better software faster that meets customers’ business requirements.

Business analysts use Atlas to quickly define well written requirements, with a user interface that “just works” and doesn’t take time to figure out. Managers use Atlas to plan releases effortlessly with team capacity management and a built in discussion feature to gather the feedback of other stakeholders. Integration with Silk Central enables development managers and other stakeholders to review test results directly within Atlas. Decision makers have access to the live and accurate data they need all within one elegant and intuitive user interface.

atlas

How does Atlas help?

Requirements are sent directly to developers’ preferred delivery tools. Developers update their backlogs in Micro Focus StarTeam Agile, Rally and VersionOne and the updated progress is reflected instantly in Atlas. Product Managers are able to review delivery status in Atlas based on live data from Agile delivery tools without needing to learn or obtain access to the delivery tool itself. These innovations and more have helped teams at Micro Focus deliver better software faster.

As Phillip Miller,  Director of COBOL Development puts it:

‘In an environment where multiple development teams are often involved in delivering complex features the evolution of a high level idea into a requirement that’s understood and agreed by multiple teams has always been challenging. Atlas, with its whiteboards, versioning and discussion features, has allowed us to radically improve our approach to requirements capture and analysis.

Being able to more effectively collate, discuss, track, version and collectively review the evolution of an idea into a requirement in a single tool has provided benefit to managers and developers alike.’

Phillip Miller Director of Development (COBOL)

Phillip Miller Director
of Development (COBOL)

Supporting internal customers benefits our external customers

Our internal Atlas instance is a cross-functional project supported by technical employees from Support, Quality Assurance, Project Management and all levels of development. The Atlas team meet regularly to discuss how to best support the 500 active users across Micro Focus. Issues and enhancements are researched, discussed, tested and implemented by an Agile DevOps team. This keeps us highly responsive to the needs identified by our highly engaged user base. Real user feedback from real AppDev work is being used to continually improve Atlas. Agile teams within Micro Focus working on Reflection, InfoConnect Desktop and RM/COBOL have been using Atlas to gather and define requirements, discuss and plan their releases and track their delivery. They rely on Atlas in this effort and their feedback enables us to enhance all areas of Atlas, resulting in a greatly improved “battle hardened” product for our customers.

As Director of Atlas Development Mark Kulak puts it:

‘Atlas internal usage has been invaluable for the Engineering and Product Management teams. As more users come online, we have gathered an appreciation for how diverse our user community really is.

Feedback from many teams using different planning and tracking processes has been invaluable to rounding out Atlas usability and features. While internal feedback aligns with external customer requests, the level of openness and ability to quickly iterate when dealing with internal teams makes a significant difference. It allows us to ask probing questions and work together to identify solutions.’

Mark Kulak Director of Development (Atlas)
Mark Kulak Director
of Development (Atlas)

Putting ourselves in the customer’s shoes

Supporting a large, geographically distributed Atlas user base has given us first hand experience of how Atlas sysadmins spend their day and the challenges they face. This has lead to multiple refinements in Atlas which make it as easy to administrate as it is to use. At Micro Focus support we’re constantly in contact with our customers. This helps us develop a deep understanding of our customers goals and challenges and also a high level awareness of how they use our products to work more effectively.

Working as an Atlas systems administrator for our internal users has helped me develop a greater understanding of the needs of our customers, particularly the systems administrators who manage Atlas instances. This helps us support external customers more effectively anticipating their needs as we work with the product in the exact same way.

Everything we learn from supporting the internal Atlas server is used by development to make Atlas more effective, intuitive and robust for all users, from the sysadmins managing the instance to the management stakeholders looking for high quality progress overviews. I’ve seen lessons learned from internal Atlas usage drive real improvements in the product for our customers.

All of this feedback has been built into the new Atlas 4.0 release – please find out what’s new on the website and take a trial to see how good it is for yourself!

Benton

 

 

 

 

 

Ed Benton

Senior Support Engineer (Atlas & StarTeam / Hub)