The Digital Innovation Economy What is the relationship between Cloud Computing and DevOps? Is DevOps really just “IT for the Cloud”? Can you only do DevOps in the cloud? Can you only do cloud using DevOps? The answer to all three questions is “no”. Cloud and DevOps are independent but …
The Digital Innovation Economy
What is the relationship between Cloud Computing and DevOps? Is DevOps really just “IT for the Cloud”? Can you only do DevOps in the cloud? Can you only do cloud using DevOps? The answer to all three questions is “no”. Cloud and DevOps are independent but mutually reinforcing strategies for delivering business value through IT. To really understand the relationship between cloud and DevOps, it’s helpful to take a step back and consider the larger context in which both are happening. Cloud and DevOps have evolved in response to three fundamental societal transformations.
First, we are in the midst of a transition from a product economy to a service economy. People are placing less emphasis on things and more emphasis on experiences. While companies still produce products, they wrap them inside services. The transition from products to services is impacting software delivery as well. Previously, development companies built software products, and delivered them to customers who took responsibility for operations. With the advent of cloud, the majority of companies that build software also operate it on their customers’ behalf. The key word “as-a-service” is happening at all layers of the IT stack, we can call for IaaS, PaaS, SaaS, BPaaS, DBaaS … as examples. At every level, providers allow customers to consume services based on demand, pay for them based on consumption, and offload responsibility for their management to the provider.
Second, the 21st-century business environment is forcing companies to shift their focus from stability and efficiency to agility and innovation. The pace of disruption is accelerating. In order to present an adaptable face to the market, companies need to change their approach to work. They need to shorten work cycles, increase delivery frequency, and adopt an attitude of continual experimentation. Social media is shifting power from producers to consumers. Marketing is changing from a process of driving behavior to one of responding to it. From the corporation as a whole down to the individual employee, companies need to empower creative responsiveness, and minimize any waste that impedes the ability to act on it.
Third, the digital dimension is completely infusing the physical dimension. Digital infusion dramatically raises the stakes for IT. We’re reaching the point where daily activities are becoming impossible without digital technology. Companies depend on IT for their very existence. IT can’t afford to fail at providing a compelling platform for the adaptive business.
What do these transformations have to do with Cloud or DevOps? Cloud is a direct response to the need for agility. Initially, people saw cloud primarily as a way to save money and transfer CapEx to OpEx. They’ve since come to realize that its real value lies in reducing waste that impedes speed and defocuses effort. Very few companies would identify data center operations as part of their core value proposition. The transformation from product to service economy, along with digital infusion, mean that companies need to become software service providers as well as consumers. Cloud enables greater business agility by making IT infrastructure more flexible. It lets companies conduct digital service relationships with their customers.
Cloud is only part of the answer, though, to the question of how IT enables adaptive businesses. Whether an IT organization runs a company’s applications on data center hardware, or on a private or public cloud, it still needs to align itself with the business’ needs, rather than forcing the business to align itself with IT’s. Silo-based organizations and manual processes still create waste that impedes the ability to deliver continuous change and conduct continuous experiments. The Agile Development movement has made great strides towards creating mutually trusting relationships between business and development. Agile comes in many flavors, and has its own imperfections. At its root, though, Agile is about tuning development to be receptive rather than resistant to change.
DevOps: from Functionality to Operability
From a DevOps perspective, the most important implication of Software-as-Service is the way in which it dissolves the separation between function and operation. Users experience them as seamless aspects of a unified whole. At the same time as they expect high levels of functional and operational quality, users also expect service providers to deliver continuous change on top of that quality platform.
These expectations necessitate a fundamentally different approach to delivering software. Function + operations maps more naturally to Development + Operations. DevOps is exactly that. DevOps represents an effort to accomplish the same mutually trusting relationship for Software-as-Service as Agile has done for software as product. Agile has taught development how to move at the same speed and with the same flexibility as business; DevOps tries to teach operations to move at the same speed and with the same flexibility as development.
Adopting Cloud and DevOps – No Time To Waste
Just like the business as a whole, IT needs to engage in continuous experimentation. Public clouds like AWS are pulling businesses away from internal IT departments. The time for fighting to retain control is past. IT needs to change, urgently. Cloud and DevOps are two enabling practices that can help IT address the larger transformative shifts – the service economy, continuous disruption, and digital infusion – that are driving business in the 21st century. Next articles: Nine-best-practices-for-devops-in-the-cloud Seven-cool-tools-for-doing-devops-right Source: infoq, profitbricks, pistoncloud.