DevOps – the basics
DevOps is a combination of software development and IT operations. The term was first popularised by a series of ‘Devopsdays’ conferences held in Berlin in 2009. In short, DevOps is a new approach to software methodology which reflects the current trend of openness within business. It is an extension of Agile development, encouraging open communication between company branches which are traditionally regarded as separate. In an ideal world, the DevOps movement will catalyse positive change in the IT industry, but also in wider business culture.
DevOps can be visualised as a Venn diagram which combines development, quality assurance and operations. From a business perspective, there are many reasons to explore the new strategy. For starters, it aims to accelerate time to market, improve recovery rates and make software failures less common. Other potential benefits include better customer satisfaction and higher product quality, as well as greater reliability. Despite this, a recent survey of 2,200 IT executives carried out by F5 found that just one in five recognise the strategic impact of DevOps. However, as open innovation and collaboration continue to rise, so will the profile of DevOps and its successful application.
The benefits of DevOps are clear – but there are numerous barriers to adoption. As with any new approach, there will be resistance from stubborn legacy firms. The IT systems of various companies may even require complete overhaul to allow for collaborative working. On top of that, combining specialisms could lead to clashing points of view and, as a result, unclear progress reports. This can be overcome by judging progress in terms of data. For instance, is there a positive impact on the business? Has customer satisfaction increased? Has time to market improved? Ultimately, DevOps is a process which will take time and practise. However, once companies have combined IT operations with quality software development, the entire structure of traditional business will be fundamentally changed.