As the title says; I started writing this post to explore the suitability of DevOps practices and the Enterprise but then realised that the question that needed addressing first was a little different.
What should the Enterprise expect to gain from adopting DevOps and how should they go about it?
IT departments in the Enterprise are increasingly adopting tooling that is associated with DevOps but are they adopting the practices that will yield future benefits?
Let’s not forget that DevOps is an idea that extends on the themes of source management, automation and collaboration across a number of teams involved in architecture, development and operations.
So DevOps is quite complicated and like ITIL, 6Sigma etc. DevOps is not immediate. You do not become an organisation capable of functioning in a DevOps manner overnight, it is something that takes work to adapt to and adopt. While adopting the practices of these processes will improve future performance when done properly it is about future performance. The controls, tools, policies and learnings do not affect what has gone before and may have been considered ‘finished’.
For future services the benefits of a DevOps approach should be consistent with the early proponents and therefore easy to categorise and quantify. But in the enterprise how much of the budget, effort and intellect goes into maintaining the status quo and how much into future?
If 80% of the IT budget goes into maintaining services then the benefits will not be seen until technology refresh occurs, this does not necessarily mean replacing the service or even the hardware but it certainly does mean change.
You have the (technical) debt from previous activities to deal with and technical debt in the enterprise is significant by any measure!
So in the enterprise I summarise that the benefits of a DevOps approach are there in the long term and the key to gaining early value is closely linked to your approach to maintenance and how well you have delivered your platforms historically. I will explore this in future posts.
In the short-term the costs will exceed the benefits. Clearly you may be investing in tools and training and if you are wise you will also perform some [process] integration / automation on top of the relatively simple concepts of configuration management.
Once you have a ‘top team’ of proficient specialists you should look to prove your process and capabilities by taking on a project, product or deliver a component using a DevOps approach. Of course once you have one project in production which has been delivered using a DevOps approach you need to ensure that you have the organisational construct and management vision to support the service ; building this competency takes time and great leadership and understanding and we will visit this in another post.
As your competency grows look at the standard MTTF, MTBF, MTTR metrics and determine where to attack the technical debt and be prepared for a journey.
The series continues.