Why DevOps Is Becoming a Pivotal Factor in New Data Centers

 
 
By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2014-07-25 Email Print this article Print
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

DevOps is a software development method that uses automation to focus on communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and IT operations specialists. The goal is to maximize the predictability, efficiency, security and maintainability of operational processes. Examining this trend, Puppet Labs has released its 2014 State of DevOps report, which includes a 9,200-respondent survey. The study revealed that high-performing IT departments not only provide a clear competitive advantage, but that respondents in the "high performing" category reported that their organizations are twice as likely to exceed profitability, market share and productivity goals. The report also found that for the second consecutive year high-performing IT organizations deploy code 30 times more frequently with 50 percent fewer failures. With so much riding on the success and failure of IT, many in the profession are looking for ways to improve process in order to operate at peak levels. The following eWEEK slide show, based on our own reporting and this research, offers tips for practitioners and managers to improve the performance of their organizations.

 
 
 
  • Why DevOps Is Becoming a Pivotal Factor in New Data Centers

    by Chris Preimesberger
    1 - Why DevOps Is Becoming a Pivotal Factor in New Data Centers
  • Practitioner Tip: Work With Other Teams and Find Ways to Build Empathy

    Building bridges between teams will increase your understanding of the challenges at every point in the life cycle. As a developer, try to put yourself in the shoes of the operations team: How will they monitor and deploy your software? As an ops person, think about how to help developers get feedback on whether their software will work in production.
    2 - Practitioner Tip: Work With Other Teams and Find Ways to Build Empathy
  • Manager Tip: Build Trust With Your Counterparts on Other Teams

    Building trust between teams is the most important thing you can do, and it must be built over time. Trust is built on kept promises, open communication and behaving predictably even in stressful situations. Your teams will be able to work more effectively, and the relationship will signal to the organization that cross-functional collaboration is valued.
    3 - Manager Tip: Build Trust With Your Counterparts on Other Teams
  • Practitioner Tip: Make Invisible Work Visible

    Record what you and your colleagues do to support cross-functional collaboration. If members of the dev and ops teams work together to solve a problem in the development environment, make sure to record and recognize what made that possible: an ops colleague taking an extra on-call shift, or an assistant ordering food for a working session. These are nontrivial contributions and may be required for successful collaboration.
    4 - Practitioner Tip: Make Invisible Work Visible
  • Manager Tip: Encourage Practitioners to Move Between Departments

    Admins and engineers may find, as they build their skills, that they're interested in a role in a different department. This sort of lateral move can be valuable to both teams. Practitioners bring valuable information about processes and challenges to their new team, and members of the previous team have a natural point person when reaching out to collaborate.
    5 - Manager Tip: Encourage Practitioners to Move Between Departments
  • Practitioner Tip: Learn by Sharing Knowledge

    Hone your skills by teaching them to someone else—by pairing on difficult problems, submitting talks at conferences, writing blog posts or just reaching out when you see someone struggling with a task you've mastered.
    6 - Practitioner Tip: Learn by Sharing Knowledge
  • Manager Tip: Create a Climate of Learning

    Learning often happens outside of formal education. Ensure that your team has the resources to engage in informal learning and the space to explore ideas. Some companies, such as 3M and Google, have famously set aside a portion of time (15 percent and 20 percent, respectively) for focused free-thinking and exploration of side projects.
    7 - Manager Tip: Create a Climate of Learning
  • Practitioner Tip: Prepare for Postmortems

    An important part of a learning climate is effective, blameless postmortems. This type of post-event analysis identifies the actions you and your team can take to improve, and to incrementally learn from failures. Prioritize root cause analysis after an outage, and make sure to provide a detailed log of actions taken and effects observed, without fear of punishment or retribution. Learn how to participate in the postmortem without taking it personally, and don't level personal criticism at anyone. Remember, postmortems make your service better.
    8 - Practitioner Tip: Prepare for Postmortems
  • Manager Tip: Make It Safe to Fail

    If failure is punished, people won't try new things. Treating failures as opportunities to learn and holding blameless postmortems to work out how to improve processes and systems help people feel comfortable taking (reasonable) risks, and help create a culture of innovation.
    9 - Manager Tip: Make It Safe to Fail
  • Practitioner Tip: Evolve Your Skill Set to Solve Your Most Important Problems

    Focus on learning new skills that help you overcome the big challenges. If you don't know how to program, make it a priority to learn. If you already have some skills, learn a new language, framework or library. Spend your time writing code to solve problems, instead of just gluing together vendor solutions with fragile scripts. Make sure you understand the theory behind the software you're using before you implement it.
    10 - Practitioner Tip: Evolve Your Skill Set to Solve Your Most Important Problems
  • Manager Tip: Make Monitoring a Priority

    Refine your infrastructure and application monitoring system, make sure you're collecting information on the right services and then put that information to good use. The visibility and transparency yielded by effective monitoring are invaluable. Proactive monitoring was strongly related to performance and job satisfaction in Puppet Labs' survey, and it is a key part of a strong technical foundation.
    11 - Manager Tip: Make Monitoring a Priority
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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