Why DevOps is the Future of IT

Gene Rogers

Change is now upon us, warns our columnist Gene Rogers. IT reorganization is here and the opportunities of DevOps cannot be questioned. Despite doubts surrounding the deployment of DevOps, IT Managers can no longer ignore "the future of IT".

In my article "Corporate IT is Fracked" I said to IT Managers, "…change your definition of quality and change the way you are organized. If you don’t, someone outside of IT may change it for you."

That change is happening now, although most traditional IT managers don’t see it because they are too busy fighting fires. The reorganization of IT is here and it’s called DevOps.

DevOps is short for Development and Operations. It is based on the principles of LEAN and Agile. Although there is much speculation about how to successfully deploy DevOps, do not make a mistake and ignore it. It is the future of IT.

The "dev" part includes all the folks who make stuff. The "ops" part includes all the folks who deal with the stuff after it’s made. Traditionally, these two teams have been kept in silos – much to the detriment of IT. DevOps removes the silos by extending Agile and Lean principles to the entirety of the service delivery process. In this way, DevOps balances the need for rapid software deployment against the need for stable, reliable infrastructure operations AND the need of the business to innovate and increase speed-to-market. Because of this you need to view DevOps as a critical business process, not an IT process.

Where you start with DevOps depends on the maturity of your organization, the business cycle you are in and the goals you are trying to achieve. Regardless of where you start, however, you need to start adopting the capabilities that make up DevOps now. How important is it to get going? Well, to quote the 3rd annual Puppet Labs "State of DevOps Report" (June 2014): "This year’s findings revealed that companies with high-performing IT organizations are twice as likely to exceed their profitability, market share and productivity goals. The analysis also revealed that for the second consecutive year, DevOps practices are being adopted at accelerated rates and high-performing IT organizations deploy code 30 times more frequently with 50 percent fewer failures."

I am going to make a broad generalization; Dev folks are closer to Agile and Lean than Ops folks. With this in mind, you will want to consider adopting your first capability with the Ops folks. Specifically with continuous release and deployment. To do so, you will need to tweak your Change Management process to incorporate the approach, but the change is well worth it.