LongEx Mainframe Quarterly - November 2017
DevOps is one of the latest big terms in computing, designed to improve software development and deployment. If you believe much of what you read on the internet, DevOps is all about tools. Install the right tools, hit the big, green button, and DevOps is magically up and running. But it's not that simple, is it?
Taking a Step BackLet's take a step back, and take a realistic look at DevOps. First proposed by Patrick Debois in 2009, I'd summarise it as using two things to improve software development and deployment:
And the basic idea is great. When developers, testers and operations work more closely together, you'll get better code to market faster. So why all the tools?
Tools, Tools, Tools
Well, the fact is that you don't need tools to implement DevOps. There are no standards, or even best practices that dictate that DevOps tools are required. But they sure can help. Let's look at some examples, and how important they are to DevOps.
So Are These Tools Really Needed?
The reality is that most sites I work on have all the tools they need to start implementing DevOps. They have SCM software for source code that could easily be expanded to other artefacts if they're not already doing so. This SCM software can often be used for automating builds, or at the last form the basis of such automation.
They have email, chat, telephones and shared folders/libraries for collaboration and communication. They have monitoring tools that can be configured to automatically alert when key indicators go outside of pre-defined values or errors and abends occur. Sure, there are some excellent tools out there, but I'm not convinced they're a requirement to get DevOps benefit.
I think that the single biggest benefit that DevOps provides is collaboration and communications. Getting different groups such as database, operations and security into the project from the beginning, rather than at the end. Breaking down the barriers and weakening silos. And the benefits of this are not just in development: application support and problem determination also win. To achieve this, a change in workplace culture and thinking is needed. This in turn requires strong management buy-in. No additional tools required.