Achieve DevOps Success with a Holistic Approach

4 min read

The following is a guest blog post by Eric Tice, enterprise architect at Wipro Limited.

Many enterprise organizations want to move to a DevOps approach, however, their organizations aren’t equipped to tackle DevOps for many reasons:

  • A culture of stability that’s not in sync with a growth and performance strategy.

  • A limited agile approach with lots of manual processes.

  • Code released quickly that’s fraught with QA issues.

  • A bottleneck between development delivery and operations deployment.

  • A lack of communication and collaboration between development and operations.

  • Organizational silos with a “this is mine, that’s yours” mentality.

  • A legacy mindset with people who’ve worked on specific technologies for 15 to 20 years who may be resistant to change.

DevOps must be a cultural conversation within your organization to assure enterprise adoption. If approached as just tooling to achieve automation or simply adding a DevOps engineering group won’t magically enable a complete DevOps approach. This will typically create yet another silo with DevOps engineers acting as release managers, adding to the level of division rather than fostering collaboration.

A Holistic Approach is Key to DevOps Success

So what creates a successful DevOps approach to enterprise software development? The answer is a holistic approach to processes and tooling that is proactively monitored using observability. Let’s break this down.

  • A culture of innovation and collaboration – With DevOps, you want to eliminate silos and foster an “enterprise mind set” where everyone is working together to share responsibilities. This approach breeds trust, facilitates constant improvement, helps you attract top talent, and retain resources because you’re leading with innovation.

  • The right people – You want a team of people who are empowered to think outside of the box who will work together to find the best solution for the enterprise. You don’t want the “cowboy way” where everyone does their own thing at a project level.

  • Open source tools and technologies – DevOps is rooted in open source technologies to avoid vendor lock-in and enable your team to constantly innovate, using strong community based open source or contributing to build and bring new technologies and tools to the market. There are many available open source tools, as seen on the periodic table of DevOps, that can help to your organization to realize cost effective and improved visibility.

  • Automated processes – “Automate everything” is a key mantra for successful DevOps. This enables continuous development, continuous integration, continuous testing, and continuous delivery/deployment. Collaboration across teams and working to embrace the overlapping skills will allow for the removal silos, reducing the issues, improving time to market and improving resource efficiency.

  • Standards and governance model – This point goes hand-in-hand with automation and ensures that you can resolve issues more quickly and reduce your total cost of ownership.

Observability to Effectively Manage DevOps

As you transition to a holistic DevOps culture, you need to effectively manage your development and delivery process, and observability is the key here. However, people often confuse observability and monitoring. Observability is accessing data on your DevOps monitoring platform. But, it’s more than monitoring. It involves real-time tracking with end-to-end metrics so you can proactively assess and optimize your resource and process efficiencies.

Here are some thoughts to help improve your observability:

  • Move away from a reactive mindset – If you deploy something and you don’t see anything happen, you may assume everything’s great, when it may not be. You need to become more proactive by observing trends, instead of reacting only when issues are reported.

  • Don’t neglect your pipeline – Many organizations gather information from one pipeline monitoring tool, which usually provides a very narrow viewpoint. Strive to gather data across your complete pipeline. Pull in the data from all tools to really understand where there may be weaknesses in your CI/CD processes.

  • Use a unified monitoring dashboard – The first open source end-to-end, next generation tool for DevOps observability was created by Capital One, called Hygieia. It provides a single pane of glass observability dashboard that allows you to integrate both open source and non-open source DevOps tooling to proactively view your resource and process performance across the software development life cycle.

    I hope you’re ready to make the transition to a DevOps culture so you can take advantage of many benefits, like a lower total cost of ownership and improved customer satisfaction with rapid speed to market and reduction in issues.

For more resources, check out my full presentation Driving Enterprise Software Development and Observability for Wholistic DevOps from DevOps World 2020.

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