The Full Guide to Enterprise DevOps

Gain a better understanding of the business implications of DevOps and how you can find success within your organization.

Succeeding in today’s economy increasingly means bringing new products and services to market faster.

We now have the ability to make and deploy incremental improvements to an application rather than waiting until every piece of code has been touched.

The driving force behind this new wave of development is DevOps, a methodology that breaks down the separation of powers between developers and their IT counterparts within organizations.

DevOps is more than a development practice. Organizations that succeed in adopting it infuse the DevOps mindset throughout their business — in their culture, their infrastructure, and among their teams.

What DevOps Is and Why It’s Important

Traditionally, enterprise development and IT teams have had different areas of focus. Developers typically want to bring new features to market as quickly as possible. IT teams, meanwhile, are for the most part concerned with system reliability and uptime. One of the big problems with this separation of goals is it often creates tension between development and IT.

Developers are forced to wait before implementing new features and fixes until IT gives the go-ahead. At the same time, IT teams are under constant pressure to accelerate their process at the expense of reliability.

DevOps is designed to alleviate this pressure by merging development and operations disciplines in order to automate the application development, monitoring, and recovery process. The barriers between those responsible for improving existing products and the teams tasked with keeping things alive are essentially erased.

Beyond easing potential spats between developers and IT, adopting DevOps can help enterprises achieve substantial gains.

  • Deployment frequency of new features, often from 1-6 months to several times a day

  • Lead time for changes, allowing changes to go from code committed to code successfully running in production in less than a day

  • Time to restore service due to cross-functional teams being able to work in unison to track down root causes and implement fixes at a much faster pace

  • Reduced failure rates from as high as 60% to 0-15%

  • Flexibility in infrastructure providers should more competitive options arise

Combined, these gains create an environment where development is a more smooth and efficient process. Resources are put to better use, and since routine tasks can be automated, teams are free to be more creative.

How DevOps Impacts Your Business

The first thing to recognize is that adopting DevOps can require a seismic shift in how your enterprise operates.

  1. Traditional roles will become blurred, with developers needing to acquire some level of operations expertise and vice-versa.
  2. Depending on the capabilities of your teams, this can mean a substantial amount of training for both developers and IT staff. You may also need to invest in new talent or partner with a consultant that already has the broader skill set needed to put DevOps to work.
  3. Adopting DevOps can also require a greater focus on internal communications. Even with all team members under the same umbrella, different app teams may still have different processes — and different sets of tools — that they are comfortable with.
  4. This can make collaboration between app teams difficult, as well as create very real headaches for IT management. One remedy is to dedicate time and training to unify your organization around a common tool set. We’ll go more into this later.

Creating a DevOps Culture vs. Outsourcing

When adopting DevOps in your organization, you have a choice to make: invest in developing the skill sets in-house, or seek outside talent for your needs.

Since there are benefits and drawbacks to both approaches, it’s worth digging deeper into each one:

Building a DevOps Team

If you choose to build out your DevOps capabilities from within, it’s important to understand that the adoption process is just that — a process.

You will need buy-in throughout your organization. Team members will have to be open and willing to undertake training that may be well outside of their current skills. Plus, in order to avoid DevOps burnout you should have tools in place that help you show positive results as you build out your capabilities.

One key to ensuring your success is to start off the DevOps adoption process with projects that are “low-hanging fruit.” These are small steps with visible results that will encourage your teams to keep pushing.

The good news is that once you’ve successfully built out your own DevOps capabilities, you’re able to transfer that knowledge throughout your organization. That fosters a culture of excellence and places your business in a better position to attract future talent.

Outsourcing Your DevOps

If building out your DevOps capabilities in-house is a process, outsourcing for the expertise is an investment.

Not just an investment in the hiring of new team members, but an investment in the time it takes to find the right talent to meet your needs.

One big benefit of bringing on an experienced team is that it can accelerate your organization’s overall adoption of DevOps. But like with every major shakeup of talent, tough personnel decisions will need to be made.

Another route you can take is to partner with an outside organization such as Redapt to shepherd you through the entire process of implementing DevOps.

Our extensive experience with the development process, along with our capabilities across all platforms and tools, can greatly accelerate your adoption. To learn more about our capabilities, visit our DevOps Enablement page or reach out to one of our experts.

Diving Into The Tools of the Trade

The foundation of DevOps environments is containerization for developing applications.

When pivoting to containers for development, you need to take a number of steps in order to make the move successfully.

The first step is to evaluate your organization’s readiness to adopt DevOps, as well as what you’re trying to achieve by adopting it in the first place.

DevOps also requires knowledge of certain tools for the environment to be effective, such as:

  • Kubernetes to orchestrate communication between code inside containers
  • CI/CD pipelines to automate the building, testing, and deployment of applications
  • Embedded container registry for a centralized image location
  • Storage via the cloud or a hybrid solution

As for specific tools for DevOps implementation, we often recommend a suite of solutions. These include:

  • Github for hosting distributed SCM
  • Jenkins for CI/CD pipelines
  • Docker for container platforms

While each of these tools can be implemented individually, there are off-the-shelf solutions available to assist in your adoption of DevOps. One of the more popular ones is Red Hat OpenShift, an enterprise platform designed to incorporate a suite of software working in concert.

Right from the box, it provides you with:

  • Enterprise-grade Linux operating system
  • Container platform based on Kubernetes and Docker
  • Containerized and distributed storage for persistent volume storage and container registry
  • Built-in automation for resource provision, application deployment, and infrastructure configuration
  • Remote server administration

Measuring Your Success With DevOps

At the end of the day, all your effort to adopt DevOps will be for naught if you’re unable to realize your ROI.

In order to measure success, you need to set expectations and define key performance indicators that measure the health of your DevOps teams and their productivity.

Two of the key metrics to focus on are throughput and stability. The former measures the amount of code that becomes usable and the time it takes you to develop. The latter covers how long it takes for your overall systems to recover when code fails.

Beyond these two metrics, it’s important that you set your teams up for success from the outset. As you adopt DevOps, pick initial projects that can provide actionable insights and results. Then continue to track performance over time to maximize your ROI on DevOps.

If you need help measuring your ROI, we have advanced analytics services available that help you better keep track of your data.

In closing

By embracing DevOps and infusing it throughout your organization, you are able to increase your competitiveness in the crowded marketplace.

Compared to traditional development, DevOps help you achieve greater flexibility in how — and how fast — you develop new products for your customers. While adopting the development process can be a big lift, especially for smaller enterprises, this lift is offset by your ability to deliver more applications quickly, reliably, and safely. In fact, according to a 2019 industry report, those enterprises described elite performers when it comes to employing DevOps were able to deploy code 208 times more frequently and recover from incidents 2,605 faster than those in lower tiers.

That kind of competitive advantage is hard to quantify. If you’re ready to begin your DevOps adoption process, schedule a call with our team.

Learn More About our DevOps Practice

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