Four Agile and DevOps best practices to adopt 2017

Looking back at the DevOps Enterprise Summit in San Francisco, there was a wealth of speakers representing a wide range of organizations from vendors and enterprise users to subject matter experts. The varied panel of guests spoke about how DOES has evolved over the past few years, offered industry and technical insights into how DevOps is intersecting with the enterprise, and revealed what’s on the cutting edge of this concept. Here are some tidbits from four of the popular speakers at the conference.

Cloud and DevOps march forward together

Trace3 Principal Technologist George Kobari pointed out the rather obvious reason why DOES is becoming ever more popular. “A lot of enterprises today are realizing they must be in the DevOps Space or their businesses will not survive.” They are making this decision in concert with some other big changes. “From a technology standpoint, a lot of them are just getting to the point of using cloud. That’s relevant for DevOps because you have to deploy to a cloud. That’s the foundational layer they are sitting on. To capture growth, it’s necessary to take advantage of infrastructure on demand.”

Is DevOps impossible without the cloud? Not everyone agrees. Some would say that it is indeed feasible to implement DevOps on premises utilizing many of the same tools such as Puppet and Chef. But there’s certainly agreement that Cloud enables the process in a way that’s difficult to achieve otherwise. For enterprises that often have a mix of on-premise and cloud resources, the goal should be to do Agile and implement DevOps principles across the organization, leveraging the additional benefits of cloud where possible.

The database is the new application

Robert Reeves, CTO at Datical brought up an interesting point about where DevOps stands to make the greatest strides in the next few years. “The application is the first place to implement DevOps since it involves the most people and gets the most attention. But once you automate that and bring DevOps to it and are moving the entire code from Dev to Test to Production, then you look for the next thing.”

According to Robert, that next thing is the database. “The database does become the bottleneck once you have brought DevOps to the application.” Ideally, it should be possible to bring automation and efficiency to the database using similar principles. However, applications don’t have state to worry about. With continuous deployment to an app server, it is fine to simply blow away the old version or roll back to a previous version as needed. It doesn’t matter so much what the app did yesterday, it matters that it is doing the job right now.

This approach isn’t possible with a database since consistency and accuracy of the data itself over time is critical. Datical aims to provide better tools for DB DevOps. These include a forecast feature that allows developers to preview a change without actually making it, a rules engine that automates without anyone watching and enforces standards such as naming conventions, and a deployment packager.

Tooling for DevOps

Electric Cloud CEO Steve Brodie spoke about the increased interest of large enterprises in the latest approaches to development and deployment. “If you look at the enterprise, they have some legacy apps that are still monoliths and some things they are starting to do with microservices only—and hybrids that they are refactoring with some traditional architecture paired with microservices and containers.” They need plenty of flexibility in tooling to accomplish everything on this continuum.

To enable DevOps in this space, Electric Cloud seeks to model containers as first class citizens and orchestrate them through the pipeline on their own or with other components. Adding an abstraction layer also allows enterprises to deploy to Kubernetes, Amazon, or Docker Swarm with equal ease. Just as with other aspects of infrastructure, allowing Dev and Ops to focus solely on the app without worrying too much about configuration helps streamline DevOps for the enterprise.

Additional industries are showing interest in DevOps

Electric Cloud Author Chris Fulton mentioned financial services as one example of a vertical that is showing increased interest in DevOps. Requests for consultations from these prospective clients is leading to some interesting discussions. The scope of the conversation has to range far beyond software and into very specific business processes. “We haven’t really thought a lot before about how DevOps works with processes. When you’ve got all these legacy processes that you follow along with a bunch of government restrictions, how do you do DevOps in that environment?”

The speed of DevOps may never be as lightning fast in FinServ as it is in other, less regulated industries. But the fact that the underlying principles and tooling promotes better quality of code, easier rules enforcement, consistency in processes, and more visibility into what’s going on with code, it may well end up being an excellent match. In fact, next year’s DevOps may include some interesting stories and case studies from an even wider range of clients in unexpected industries.

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