Levi, Ray & Shoup, Inc.

DevOps, myth or reality?

10/5/2017 by Charles Wilson

Anybody who has been around IT longer than five minutes has been hearing the term DevOps for the last two years.

But here’s the thing: If you ask 10 different people the definition of DevOps, you will get 25 different answers. And if you ask a consultant the definition of DevOps, he will sell you everything but DevOps. So let’s talk about what DevOps is and isn’t and whether DevOps can become a reality.

So let’s begin with the main question, which is, what is DevOps? According to Wikipedia, DevOps is “a software engineering practice that aims at unifying software development (Dev) and software operation (Ops).” In theory, DevOps allows organization to use code to deploy infrastructure and code.

I know what you’re thinking: What does that really mean? Most organizations today have a process for deploying infrastructure and a process for deploying applications. DevOps merges these processes so that now you have a single code base that does both.

But that is only a small part of what a DevOps process can do for an organization. DevOps can also be used to rapidly deploy infrastructure and code bases for development teams needing to add and test new product features. This allows businesses to create new products and services faster and more efficiently, which propels business growth.

Mature DevOps processes can automate the deployment of QA environments, which can execute automated testing. You might say, well, organizations have been doing automated testing for years. And you would be right by saying that, but when you use code to deploy QA environments, you ensure that an organization can do testing consistently. The result is improved quality of your products and services and the lowering of the cost of developing products and services for your businesses and your customers.

Well, I know what you’re thinking. Yes, I took a mind reading class in college. But please don’t ask me about my grade. Anyway, you’re thinking that all this DevOps stuff sounds fine and dandy but is it even possible or is it just some myth? Because my organization does this, or doesn’t do that, or can’t make a decision or fill in the blank with an excuse.

DevOps is possible in just about every organization across multiple industries and lines of business. DevOps has proven its self in organizations such as Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, Microsoft, and Google. But you’re thinking your organization is nothing like any of these. So let me give you a few more examples. Target – yes, that’s right, a retail company that sells physical products in physical stores – and Walmart – once again, yes, Walmart, the largest retail company in the world – both use DevOps to develop, test, and deploy software to all of their retail stores. Sony Pictures Entertainment uses it to deliver software-based systems that before the adoption of DevOps as a culture took months to deliver. Sony has reduced that time to minutes.

So now that I’ve told you what DevOps is and who as using it, let me ask you two point-blank questions:

  • How can DevOps benefit your organization?
  • What is really keeping you from doing a pivot to DevOps in your company?

Yes, I’ve actually asked those questions and heard the answers. So let me tell you some of the things that I have heard and dispel the myths for you.

One of the most used excuses, and I mean it is really an excuse, is the simple “We just don’t have the time or the resources to adopt DevOps.” My answer to that one is that your organization cannot afford not to adopt DevOps. Why? First, I’m willing to bet, and I mean a Las Vegas bet, that your organization’s competition has already started adopting DevOps and will hyper-accelerate their products to market and take customers away from you and your business. The examples I’ve given show this. Second, DevOps provides a platform for your organization to raise the quality of the products and services you deliver to your customer.

We’re adopting DevOps in our LRS IT Solutions Cloud Practice. It is helping us deploy cloud infrastructure in an extremely consistent, efficient way that is reducing our time to bring products and services to market and raising the quality of those product and services a hundred-fold.

Speaking from the voice of experience, I can tell you that DevOps is not the do-all, fix-all tool for all the issues within your organization. But the primary thing it can do, if it is adopted correctly, is help you deliver high quality products and services to you customers and propel your business into new areas of business.

If you have questions, or if you think LRS can help you, please fill out the form below and be sure to mention DevOps.

Charles Wilson is our Cloud Solutions Advisor. He has extensive experience in designing and implementing cloud solutions for companies in such industries as financial services, real estate, manufacturing, and retail. He holds certifications as an IBM Certified Enterprise Architect, AWS Technical Professional, and AWS TCO and Cloud Economics.