Transitioning from a traditional IT operating model to one based on the emerging field of DevOps is not an easy task. Not only are you combining the formerly distinct roles of development and operations, you are also pushing responsibility for application creation and support off the shoulders of technology experts onto the business and administration sides of the organization.
This is why much of the DevOps development community is turning toward advanced automation and integration for their platforms. With many organizations already mounting limited DevOps functionality within their broader data ecosystem, the challenge going forward will be to scale up those operations without disrupting legacy business processes.
Configuration management specialist Chef recently took the wraps off Chef Automate, which acts as a bridge between multiple elements within a DevOps architecture to enable unified control over both infrastructure and operations. As described by Cloud Computing News, the system provides a single-dashboard view of all resources managed by the Chef environment and other open source projects like InSpec and Habitat. By unifying workflows under an automated system, Chef hopes to speed up the DevOps process and push the results across enterprise-wide infrastructure, allowing organizations to ramp up continuous delivery/continuous integration (CD/CI) capabilities without sacrificing resource flexibility or security.
Another problem that DevOps teams are starting to encounter is the need to run their code across multiple test platforms before it can be released into general production. A company called Appvance says it has a fix for this in its new Appvance UTP system that transcends the QA silos that jam up collaborative development and support functions. The system allows tests to be repurposed for multiple projects, enabling a write-once methodology and comprehensive testing for all application frameworks, such as HTML5, SOAP/REST and Oracle and Windows clients. As well, developers can pass data between application and script types without writing additional code.
DevOps is also migrating to the hybrid cloud, where it can take better advantage of new container-based orchestration tools. Gridstore’s recent acquisition of DCHQ has resulted in a new company called HyperGrid that touts a hyperconverged computing as a service (HCIaaS) environment capable of supporting Web-scale applications that require high availability and tightly integrated resource pools. Enterprise Strategy Group senior analyst Terri McClure explained to Redmond Magazine recently that the platform provides a quick and easy way for organizations to deploy DevOps models on optimized infrastructure. The platform currently works with AWS but HyperGrid is planning to launch on Azure, Digital Ocean and other clouds within the year.
For those who wish to keep things in-house, however, proper configuration management will be crucial to overcoming the disparities of commercial off-the-shelf hardware, according to Accenture’s Mirco Hering. While many vendors are working toward more DevOps-friendly platforms, gaining industry-wide consensus on best practices and interoperability is difficult, and it is of little help when it comes to integrating legacy infrastructure into the fold. For the time being, then, organizations will have to work with their application source code and institute their own development processes and intelligent integration methods to push DevOps onto multiple vendor platforms. It’s complicated, but well worth the effort.
Again, though, the challenge is not just to implement DevOps across IT infrastructure but to do it non-disruptively. Most organizations have a lot riding on their legacy applications, so any solution that requires a simple hand-over from one operating model to another is likely to be a non-starter.
The better way is to maintain seamless functionality of applications and services for the user while converting the back-end support to a CD/CI footing. In that way, you can introduce new capabilities on the fly without upending the processes that knowledge workers rely upon to meet their goals.
Arthur Cole writes about infrastructure for IT Business Edge. Cole has been covering the high-tech media and computing industries for more than 20 years, having served as editor of TV Technology, Video Technology News, Internet News and Multimedia Weekly. His contributions have appeared in Communications Today and Enterprise Networking Planet and as web content for numerous high-tech clients like TwinStrata and Carpathia. Follow Art on Twitter @acole602.