For a long time now we've been applauding advances in application development thanks to the adoption of more agile frameworks for building applications.
But now that agile application development methodologies have gone mainstream, there is a lot more pressure on IT operations to keep pace. Most IT operations were never designed to handle frequent updates to applications. They were designed to meet the requirements of applications built using waterfall methodologies that resulted in application upgrades every couple of years, as opposed to quarterly or even monthly updates.
No one wants to let IT operations issues stand in the way of progress. So, in 2011, you should expect to see a lot more focus on "DevOps" as a discipline within the IT organization, says Andrew Phillips, vice president of product development at XebiaLabs, a provider of a framework specifically designed to automate the DevOps process.
That means relying a lot more on IT automation tools that are coupled with agile lifecycle management (ALM) tools to help smooth the hand-off between developers and the teams that actually manage the deployment of these applications.
With the advent of virtualization, certain elements of the DevOps equation are getting easier to manage. At the same time, however, the proliferation of virtual server environments can lead to a lot more complexity when it comes time to manage hundreds of virtual machines.
And just to make matters more interesting, we're now seeing a lot of application development moving to cloud. But even though an application is developed in the cloud, it doesn't mean the production server that the application is ultimately destined to run on is in the cloud. That means that application deployment issues will need to be managed across an extended network of servers.
It's pretty clear at this point that not only will IT organizations need a more disciplined approach to DevOps in 2011, they are also going to need to rethink most of the associated processes. That should ultimately lead to improvements in the way the entire DevOps process is managed, especially when it comes to application provisioning, release management, change management and application monitoring.