Enterprise DevOps is different: here’s why

Many of the world’s largest enterprises are looking at DevOps. But, as many are discovering, implementing it is not without its pitfalls. In his first Micro Focus blog, software industry guru Kevin Parker outlines what DevOps means at the enterprise scale.

Introduction

The DevOps movement evolved to allow organizations to innovate fast and reduce risk. DevOps rethinks how software development and delivery occurs and it reshapes how IT is organized and how IT delivers value to the business. However, some “pure” DevOps ideas are difficult to implement in highly regulated, large enterprises.

A question of scale

When the organization is required to meet strict government audit and compliance standards, when you have optimized IT delivery around a monolithic, centralized infrastructure and when you have specialist teams to manage discreet technologies, it is very difficult to relax those controls and remove the barriers in order to adopt a shared-ownership model called DevOps. Yet implementing DevOps is exactly what over a quarter of the largest global IT teams are doing today.

So how do highly regulated, large enterprises benefit and succeed with DevOps?

Preparing for Change

Enterprise scale adoption requires enterprise-wide change. As Derek Britton said in a recent perspective on the cultural impact of DevOps, “[it is] those who preside over larger systems, [where] that chaos will be most keenly felt.”

There has to be acceptance that changes to practices, processes, policies, procedures and plans will occur as the ownership of responsibility and accountability moves to more logical places in the lifecycle. Trust must be freely given. Every action taken must have transparent verification through common access to project data. This will be disruptive so there must be strong leadership and commitment through the chaos that will occur.

Not just for the Purists

In the table below some of the differences that exist between “pure” DevOps and DevOps as implemented in highly regulated, large enterprises:

“Pure” DevOps Enterprise DevOps
Pure Agile teams Variable speed IT with waterfall, agile and hybrid development and deployment
Multidisciplinary team members with shared ownership and accountability Team maintains strict Separation of Duties (SoD) with clear boundaries and concentrations of technical specialists
Drawn primarily from Dev and Ops teams Drawn primarily from Change and Release teams
Limited variability in platforms, technologies, methodologies and a generally a standardized toolset – often Open Source Solutions (OSS) Wide variances in platforms, technology, methodologies and toolsets with many so-called legacy, and often competing, solutions – occasionally  Open Source Solutions (OSS)
Generally collocated small teams Generally geographically dispersed large teams
Frequent micro-sourcing and contingent workforce Frequent outsourcing inshore and offshore
Light compliance culture Strong compliance culture
Limited cross-project dependencies Complex cross-project dependencies
Architecture of application strongly influenced by microservices approach Architecture bound by legacy systems steadily being replaced by encircling with newer ones
Experimental, A-B testing, Fail-Fast culture Innovate Fast And Reduce Risk culture
Team developing the app runs the app Team developing the app kept separate from team executing the app

The key takeaway is this – an enterprise-scale adoption requires some very smart planning and consideration.

Automate to Accelerate

The key to successful DevOps adoption comes down to automation. Whether your DevOps initiative starts as a grassroots movement from the project teams in a line a business or from an executive mandate across the corporation, bringing automation to as much of the lifecycle as is practicable is what ensures the success of the transformation. Only through automation is it possible to cement the changes necessary to effect lasting improvements in behavior and culture.

Through automation, we can achieve transparency into the development and delivery process and identify where bottlenecks and errors occur. With the telemetry thrown off by automation we are able to track, audit and measure the velocity, volume and value of the changes flowing through the system, constantly optimize, and improve the process. With this comes the ability to identify success and head off failure allowing for everyone to share in the continuous improvement in software delivery.

The Time is Now

Nothing is more important in IT than the timely delivery of working software safely into production. The last decade has seen astonishing growth in the complexity of releases and the consequences of failure and astounding change in the volume and velocity of change. As each market, technology and methodology shift has occurred, it has become ever more critical for Dev and Ops to execute software changes flawlessly.

With the extraordinary synergies between the Micro Focus and newly-acquired Serena solutions it is now possible to create and end-to-end automated software development and delivery lifecycle from the mainframe to mobile and beyond and to affect your DevOps transformation in a successful and sustained manner. Read more here.

Kevin Parker
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