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DevOps is one of the emerging trends which is changing the way organizations implement software and it brings availability, security and resilience advantages. Gerardo Dada explains what DevOps is and looks at some of the pre-requisites for its introduction.

There is a big misconception over what DevOps is. Unlike what many would assume, DevOps is not a set of tools used solely for cloud deployment. Instead it is a software development practice where development and operations teams collaborate on taking the intelligence of how an application runs to inform and improve how the application is built.

Although a relative mystery to many organizations at the moment, in the next few years DevOps is expected to become ubiquitous as businesses seek to improve efficiency, drive innovation through their IT departments, and better serve the end-user.

However, as with all new trends, there are many challenges that need addressing, such as recruiting IT pros who are accustomed to this way of working, or giving admins enough time to develop and implement all the changes needed to successfully move to a DevOps process.

Here are some steps businesses need to start taking in order to embrace this model and reap the benefits.

1) End-to-end monitoring
The value of end-to-end monitoring is in getting a clear understanding of overall application performance and how each element of the application stack contributes to performance.  The impact of every change is understood, and performance optimization is a discipline. This level of monitoring can improve efficiency and collaboration, while also quickly identifying the root cause of issues within the software or the infrastructure.

2) Automate and iterate
One of the most significant benefits DevOps can bring to a business is making it more agile. The best way to do this is through iterative processes, and automated processes, which allow the IT team to innovate and tackle issues quicker. This can have a huge impact by minimising production cycles from months to hours. Automation requires building repeatable processes, which will also likely result in greater efficiency.

Thankfully, such an approach doesn’t impact business’ ability to opt for large, longer-term projects. Instead, the flexibility offered by DevOps makes it easier for companies to break down large problems into manageable tasks that have more possibilities of success.  

3) Help out the end-user
Ultimately, the aim is to better serve the end-user, offering improved applications to make their work life easier. In order for DevOps to succeed within a business, this ethos has to be fully embraced. Every aspect of the software should be built to improve performance, with any issues accounted for and addressed immediately. This requires commitment, though a successful DevOps approach is worth it – offering faster software updates, deployments and time-to-resolution for any issues, delivering a significantly improved end-user experience.

4) Break down the silos
To better prepare for a DevOps model, the silos that currently exist in a traditional data centre / center environment need to be broken down. The different teams required to develop software need to become one team, aligned behind a set of goals: end user experience, agility and business impact. Team members collaborate and take full responsibility for the performance of applications, and be consistent in the way they work, their goals and the tools they work with.

The author

Gerardo Dada is vice president of product marketing at SolarWinds.

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