There's a lot of talk these days about how application developers need to collaborate better with IT operations people to resolve the "DevOps" crisis that has been brought on by the rise of agile development. But another point of view would suggest that they just need to be able to find a way to get out of each other's way.
Everyone agrees that the "DevOps" issue stems from a lack of visibility into both the application development lifecycle and the production environment those applications must ultimately run on. The answer to that problem isn't necessarily more collaboration, but automation.
That's the case that Hewlett-Packard was making this week at the HP Discover 2012 conference. The company rolled out updates to the HP Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) and HP Performance Center (PC) that, Matt Morgan, vice president of product marketing for applications for HP Software, says take advantage of automation to enable continuous delivery of applications.
Morgan says the software takes care of the collaboration requirement by making use of a social media-based construct in the user interface. But more importantly, processes have been automated in such a way that the need to govern the application development project doesn't get in the way of the speed at which the applications are developed. IT organizations are now being asked to sometimes double or triple the number of iterations of an application that they release in a given year. That simply can't happen, says Morgan, without much more reliance on automation.
The HP software accomplishes that, says Morgan, by allowing developers to model the environment and set policies for how projects move through the lifecycle, while simultaneously automating the application testing process.
Rather than trying to enforce an ALM solution from above, Morgan says that most IT organizations are going to be more effective if they attach ALM to the next big project they do. That way there is an immediate material benefit to the organization that can be reapplied to subsequent projects.
As the speed at which applications are being developed continues to accelerate, it's becoming clear that there is no beginning and end to some of these projects. In fact, multiple iterations are often being developed in parallel. That puts a lot of pressure on IT organizations to figure out a better way to manage the overall process because existing processes simply weren't designed to cope with that pace of innovation.