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Tag Archives: DevOps

NEW White Paper: DevOps and Agile Development – A VMware Field Perspective

DevOps is both a hot topic and an overused term today, leading to an endless stream of contradicting definitions and confusion. Is it a technology? An organizational construct? A combination of the two? It depends on who you ask.

This white paper, written by three VMware DevOps experts, Kevin Lees, John Gardner, and Peg Eaton, is an attempt to provide guidance in this new field, shaped by their extensive experience enabling agile software development and infrastructure delivery for customers across the globe.

Inside you will find:

Key Concepts

What’s the difference between continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment? How does VMware describe the “shift to the left” and what does that mean for I&O? Gain a foundational understanding of the key definitions, guiding principles, and infrastructure & operations and developer implications of DevOps from the perspective of VMware.

Delivery Pipeline and Agile Processes

Learn more about the complex collaboration needed between software developers and IT operations.  Explore how DevOps directly affects the software delivery process through the application of agile principles and the utilization of tools and techniques that support a continuous delivery pipeline.

Team Models and Evolving in the Enterprise

This new model for application development does not come without challenges – knowledgeable professionals discuss the key roles and organizational cultural shift required for teams to function, as well as the ideal end state of a DevOps team, the more accessible concession model of “DevOps as a Service,” and how to evolve these models within the enterprise.

Read the full white paper here: DevOps and Agile Development, A VMware Field Perspective


Still hungry for more? Further your learning with these great DevOps posts:

DevOps Sessions at VMworld 2016

DevOps VMworld 2016Join Our DevOps Experts at VMworld 2016 for Real-World Advice and Customer Stories to Improve the Agility and Velocity of Application Delivery

Increasing the speed, quality and reliability of application delivery is, or should be, on the agenda of every IT organization this year.  To help our customers build a strategy for this evolution, a DevOps track has been added to the VMworld agenda for 2016 featuring sessions spanning a wide range of topics related to transforming your application delivery process.

Download this handy guide to DevOps Sessions at VMworld 2016 to take with you next week, or use the links below to add these sessions to your agenda via the VMworld Schedule Builder.

Sun, Aug 28th 1:00 PM CNA7813-QT Architecting Cloud-Native Systems with Photon and Pivotal Cloud Foundry
Sun, Aug 28th 2:00 PM SDDC7881-QT Cloud Service Lifecycle in a DevOps-Focused Delivery Model
Mon, Aug 29th 11:00 AM MGT8766 How IT Can Enable DevOps and Development Teams to Rapidly Deliver and Iterate Robust Applications in a Multicloud Environment including VMware, AWS, Azure and Softlayer
Mon, Aug 29th 1:00 PM DEVOP7788 Industry Perspective: Enterprise Reality of Doing DevOps
Tues, Aug 30th 11:30 AM DEVOP7730 DevOps Bootcamp
Tues, Aug 30th 11:30 AM DEVOP9965 Implementing DevOps with VMware vRealize and Cisco UCS
Tues, Aug 30th 12:00 PM ELW-1730-USE-1 vSphere Integrated Containers Workshop
Tues, Aug 30th 12:30 PM INF8092 The Power Hour: Deep Dive, DevOps, and New Features of PowerCLI
Tues, Aug 30th 2:00 PM DEVOP7859 Real-World DevOps Customer Panel
Tues, Aug 30th 3:30 PM MG77652 OpenStack in the Real World: VMware Integrated OpenStack Customer Panel
Tues, Aug 30th 4:00 PM DEVOP8971 Run a Hybrid Application Across VMware and Google Cloud Platform
Tues, Aug 30st 5:30 PM CNA8145 From Today to ”CNA”: VMware Technologies and DevOps Frameworks as a Service
Wed, Aug 31st 8:00 AM DEVOP8924 Building an Actionable Strategy Around DevOps and Platform as a Service (PaaS)
Wed, Aug 31st 10:50 AM STP9983 How enterprise IT is evolving their Infrastructure to support DevOps and new application architectures like Containerization and Microservices
Wed, Aug 31st 11:30 AM MGT8499 Moving to Infrastructure as Code: How Fannie Mae Is Managing the SDDC with the vRCS Management Pack (aka Project Houdini)
Wed, Aug 31st 12:30 PM DEVOP9093 Unpanel: How I Survived the DevOps Transition
Wed, Aug 31st 2:30 PM MGT8969 Forrester Research POV on DevOps, Automation, and Virtualization Maturity Trends
Wed, Aug 31st 4:00 PM MGT7751 A Technical Deep Dive into VMware Integrated OpenStack
Thurs, Sept 1st 10:00 AM DEVOP7915 Network as Code: DevOps Implications of Programmable Infrastructure
Thurs, Sept 1st 12:30 PM MGT8763 3 Best Practices for IT to Enable Developers to Deploy on Amazon and Azure While Ensuring Security and Accountability
All Days All Times SPL-1721-USE-4 vRealize Automation for DevOps Hands on Lab
All Days All Times SPL-1706-SDC-2 DevOps-Ready IT with vRealize Code Stream Hands on Lab
All Days All Times SPL-1730-USE-1 vSphere Integrated Containers from A to Z Hands on Lab

Wed @ VMworld – 2 Wildly Different Ways to Discuss Next Gen IT Strategy

Reg LoLively discussionBy Reg Lo

The theme of VMworld 2016 is be_Tomorrow.  As we’ve talked about in many previous blog posts, it’s no secret that the demands on IT are changing and that IT leaders need to evolve their strategies or risk the decline of their company’s market position and the loss of relevance for internal IT.

For IT leaders attending VMworld, I hope to offer you a couple of unconventional ways of fostering discussion with your peers around the pressing challenges you’re facing today.

Unpanel:  How I Survived the DevOps Transition

Wednesday, August 31st – 12:30 PM – 1:30 PM

If you’ve ever joined an Unpanel before, you know you’re in for some lively discussion – and to be prepared at any moment to jump up on stage!

Join me and my colleagues, Ed Hoppitt of Battlebots (and VMware) fame and Tom Hite who leads VMware’s DevOps and Open Cloud Services team, as we moderate a dynamic exchange between IT practitioners and their development counterparts. You will hear about the dos, don’ts, and gotchas from both perspectives.

We will invite you to participate with your opinions and insights, and you might become part of the panel.

Add session DEVOP9093 to your agenda

Experience the Business Impact of IT Innovation & Transformation in this Live Interactive Simulation

Wednesday, August 31st – 3:30 PM – 4:30 PM

Join your peers in IT leadership for a live interactive simulation where you get to experiment on what series of IT initiatives will lead to the greatest impact on business revenue and IT costs. This is a unique experiential learning session.

Using a software-based simulation platform, I will team up with my colleague, Andy Troup of VMware Operations Transformation Services, to present you with a variety of IT innovation project options, representing a wide spectrum from developing cloud capabilities to advanced micro-segmentation. Acting as a company with a set budget for operating expenses and innovation, your team will choose which projects to focus and then see the results of your selections.

Will revenue increase because you were able to speed time to market? Will your operating expenses increase or decrease? Will you experience set-backs if you focus on one area but neglect others?

Test your IT strategy theories, participate in lively discussions about today’s options in IT, and walk away with tips for how to build a roadmap for innovation that will work for your organization.

VMworld_ITStrategy (288x300)Add session SDDC9971 to your agenda

I hope to see you at both of these sessions at the end of this month!

Download a full agenda of VMworld breakout sessions that will help IT leaders build a strategy for the digital era.

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Reg Lo is the Americas Director of VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in California.

eBook- Agents of Change: CIO Priorities for 2016

Today’s most successful enterprises are transforming themselves, upending business models, disrupting markets. What’s more, they’re turning on a dime – and the pace at which they’re doing so is only increasing. For these winners, that agility translates into increased customer satisfaction, better margins, and higher sales. For their IT functions – responsible for so much of this new flexibility and speed – transformation drives a new relationship with the business. IT is now a fundamental and ongoing contributor to accelerating business value.

As CIOs look to transform their own IT organizations in year ahead, their greatest challenge lies in delivering that change in an environment that is itself fast moving.

In 2016 and beyond, IT can only expect increased pressure to deploy continuous innovation to capture both business value and further efficiencies.

Our experts see this daily as they work with customers around the world, gaining insight into the challenges that companies face and the strategies that are working on the transformation front-lines.

This eBook explores three main trends that we believe CIOs need to be aware of as they consider embarking upon, or continuing, transformations of their own:

  • Companies are looking to scale DevOps beyond individual application pipelines and pilots.
  • IT needs to be able to work at multiple speeds. It’s all about being multi-modal.
  • Security offers a challenge, but a major opportunity, too.

Download the free eBook, written by our Advisory Services and Operations Transformation Services experts, to whether these innovations in the way we manage, deliver and secure IT should be a part of your strategy.

A Foundation for DevOps: Establishing Continuous Delivery

Peg EatonBy Peg Eaton

As Practice Director for VMware’s DevOps & Cloud Native Apps Professional Services team, I lead a a specialized team of developers with decades of experience helping customers reach their DevOps goals.

In our experience, many organizations have accepted that they need to apply DevOps best practices to accelerate application delivery, and they are in the early stages of developing their strategy for moving forward.

They’ve heard terms like continuous integration and continuous delivery, but have difficulty mapping out what their optimal DevOps tool chain would be, faced with a large, and growing number of technology options, a lack of standardization, and very often, widely differing opinions within the organization on what’s right for them.

In this short video, I walk through our own best-practice example of a Continuous Delivery Pipeline, discuss the software stacks that comprise the tool chain, and pass on DevOps best practice advice along the way.

The Continuous Delivery Pipeline

The Continuous Delivery Pipeline contains inter-related software stacks which support the pipeline stages and activities; enabling repeatable and reliable software delivery by application teams.

You will notice notice as we go through the stacks….you have options. You might choose VMware solutions for some of these areas.  Or you might have made other investments. That’s ok. We believe in our products, but we’re committed to helping you create a seamless integration between all these moving pieces, regardless of which software solutions you choose.

Let’s start with the Planning Stack. This software stack supports agile development throughout the delivery pipeline — planning and tracking software releases; creation of user stories; sprint planning, backlog management, and issue tracking. Typical tools used in planning are JIRA, Redmine, Trello, GitHub Pages, and MS TFS

Next in the toolchain is the Coding Stack. The software in this stack is used for the coding effort against the user stories. We have integrated development environments, editors, debugging tools, and unit-test tools. Geany, Atom, Eclipse, MS-TFS, and vRealize Orchestrator are commonly used tools. Other software in this stack used to support application development: pre-configured developer-workstations, and the environments for application unit-tests (essentially a set of VM blueprints).

The Commit Stack supports version control and many best practices including: daily check-ins, committing assets early and often, automated style-checking, and code reviews. Typical tools include Git, GitHub, MS TFS, and Gerrit.

Developers need fast useful feedback once code is committed; continuous integration tools support automated software builds and automated smoke tests. The Continuous Integration Stack, uses tools like Jenkins, Gerrit Triggers, and vRealize Automation.

The Testing Stack is used in managing testing throughout the software development lifecycle. The key to high productivity and quality code is developer-driven testing in production-like environments for each phase of the lifecycle — it is more effective to expose and remediate issues earlier in the lifecycle. For this stack, you can use tools such as Selenium, REST-assured, soapUI, SonarQube, and vRealize Automation.

The Artifact Management Stack supports the management of application artifacts including binaries; and provides package version control and dependency management of the artifacts. Tools for artifact management include JFrog Artifactory, and vRealize CodeStream.

The next stack focuses on Continuous Deployment and provides support for consistent deployments to every environment – UAT, Staging, and Production. You can use tools like Jenkins, Ansible, vRealize Automation, and vRealize Orchestrator, and vRealize CodeStream.

Next in the tool chain is the Configuration Management Stack, which supports application and environment configuration and is often tightly integrated with the deployment stack. Typical tools in this stack are Ansible, Chef, Puppet, and Chocolatey.

The Control Stack comes next, and is used for application and infrastructure behavior monitoring — alerting, dashboards, logging, capacity management throughout the release process and into production. You can use the vRealize Suite at this stage, including vRealize Operations and vRealize Log Insight, as well as Nagios.

Last but not least is the Feedback Stack, which provides automated feedback to the right people at the right-time during all phases — alerts, auditing, test results, build results, deployment — touching all areas of the pipeline. Github Issues and Slack can be effective tools in this stage.

There are a LOT of moving pieces – it is COMPLEX – and I am sure you are concerned about how in the world to make them all play nicely together! Our capability is in getting all of these moving pieces to work together for a continuous, well monitored flow.

Shift Left

So how does this tool chain help your Dev and Ops team to accelerate application delivery?
Well, application development teams today have moved into the traditional infrastructure and operations space in order to accelerate application delivery.

Application teams require fast-feedback and optimal execution flow during the development life-cycle, and for this they need consistent, production-like environments everywhere and on-demand, continuous integration and deployment, and automated testing throughout the application release lifecycle.

As a result, the dev teams are deploying and managing tools, and automating tasks throughout the life-cycle to support these requirements.

Infrastructure & Operations teams that are concerned with governance and stability can participate in this “shift-left” by working in a high-trust culture where Dev & Ops collaborate to build the optimal execution flow.

Treating infrastructure like code benefits both Dev and Operations, enabling you to version infrastructure definitions with code and use consistent, production-like environments everywhere

A shift-left takes the burden of tool-chain management off the development teams and provides the infrastructure & operations team the visibility, governance, and control to support the business.

VMware DevOps Foundation Solution

The VMware DevOps Foundation Solution (currently available in North America only) enables our customers to implement and operate a Continuous Delivery tool chain with prescriptive stacks of best of breed tools based on common industry patterns and your own environment’s requirements, whether your apps are developed using C#, Java, Python, Go or other programming languages.

The fact that our stacks are pre-integrated means they are ready to use much more quickly, thereby providing a faster time-to value in delivering your applications.

Worried that you are already using a certain tool that you didn’t see in this presentation – don’t worry, these stacks are flexible and we have worked with almost every tool on the landscape.

Creating the DevOps tool chain that will work for you can be complicated, but we’re here to help.

To get started, contact your VMware rep to set up a 1-hour meeting with my team to discuss your goals for Continuous Development. We will then schedule a half-day workshop on continuous delivery and DevOps best practices with your development and operations leaders to kick the project off on the right foot.

We look forward to working with you to make your dreams for accelerated application delivery a reality!

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Peg Eaton is a practice director for VMware’s DevOps and Cloud Native Apps Services Organization and is based in Massachusetts. 

Moving Beyond Infrastructure as a Service to Platform as a Service

Brian MartinezBy Brian Martinez

What's Next - PaaSMy VMware colleague Josh Miller recently explored how companies are extending a DevOps model into their infrastructure organizations and what can be done to speed that essential transition.

I want to talk about the step after that. Where do you go after achieving infrastructure-as-a-service?

Here’s how I think of it. Infrastructure as a service (IaaS) focuses on deploying infrastructure as quickly as possible and wrapping a service-oriented approach around it. That’s essential. But infrastructure in itself doesn’t add direct value to a business. Applications do that. In more and more industries the first company to release that new killer app is the one that wins or at least draws the most value.

So, while it’s essential that you deliver infrastructure quickly, it’s worth lies in helping deploy applications faster, build services around those applications, and speed time to market.

So you have IaaS, what’s next?  Enter the concept of the platform as a service (PaaS). PaaS can be realized in a variety of ways. It might be through second generation platforms such as database-as-a-service or middleware-as-a-service. Or it could be via third generation platforms based on unstructured PaaS like containers (think Docker) or structured PaaS (think Pivotal Cloud Foundry).

The flexibility you have in terms of options here is significant and your strategy should be based on the needs of your developers.   Many times we see strategies built around a tool name instead of the outcomes needed from that tool.  Listening to the developer’s needs should help determine what the requirements are.  Then build backwards from there.  Often we you won’t end up with the same tooling then you thought you would.

All the approaches to PaaS, though, share a key feature: they are driven by both a holistic and a life-cycle view of IT. In other words, it’s dangerous to view any IT function today as either separate from any other, or as a one-time deal. Instead, we need to be thinking of everything as connected and at the same time being constantly iterated and improved.

Work from that perspective and it’s easier to navigate the often daunting array of options you have when it comes to PaaS.

Certainly, as you move along this path, it’s very possible to end up with multiple, small cloud-native apps deployed on multiple platforms spread across multiple different data sets – so be aware of the lifecycle.

One other note: there are so many different tools coming to market so quickly in this space that what you pick now may not be what you use in a couple of years. A lot of our customers are nervous about that. So it’s worth remembering that these tools are designed so that you can move your code, and the work that you’re doing with the code, to whatever platform is best suited to deliver it to your customer.

The bottom line: Encourage your customers to try things out so they can create DevOps learning experiences.  Be responsive in enabling developers to access new tools, while setting the right boundaries on how they can use those tools (think service definition) and where they bring them to bear.  Approaching PaaS with a unified culture of continuous iteration and improvement will enable your developers with the tools they need to move fast, without losing the control and stability essential to IT operations.

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Brian Martinez is a Strategist with VMware Advisory Services and is based in New York.

How DevOps is Changing Infrastructure and Providing Business Value

Josh MillerBy Josh Miller

Infrastucture Building Business ValueInfrastructure organizations are feeling more pressured than ever to innovate. They are being pushed by business unit leads and application teams to deliver on their part of software toolchain stacks at a faster pace. They are increasingly expected to be flexible and agile in how they operate and manage the platforms they engineer.

Despite this, many infrastructure groups still focus primarily on the delivery of physical hardware platforms rather than viewing their roles from a more holistic, ready-to-consume service perspective. In my opinion, that unwillingness to grow beyond engineering physical infrastructure, no longer a key differentiator within IT systems, is the single most limiting hurdle that infrastructure practices face today.

In this blog post I want to delve a little further into what I’m seeing in the field when it comes to changing infrastructure consumption models. I then suggest what I believe needs to happen for more companies to realize the tremendous advantages that a DevOps approach to infrastructure can bring.

Infrastructure Evolution

When I’m out performing assessments, I’m seeing companies at three stages:

  • While many customers are pushing at the boundaries of compute virtualization and often do have highly virtualized compute environments, the majority of VMware customers are still not taking advantage of the benefits that storage and network virtualization technologies offer in terms of abstracting, pooling, and creating the potential for automation of provisioning and management. In contrast, the most progressive infrastructure leaders respond to the needs of IT stakeholders by virtualizing the entirety of their physical infrastructure (compute, storage, and network). Doing so  adds a layer of software-defined abstraction across the board rather than in the singular silo of compute. Completing the final steps of the virtualization journey that began over a decade ago, then, is really the first step to becoming a DevOps-driven infrastructure practice.
  • With the foundation of virtualized compute, storage, and network platforms in place, the next step is to develop a service orientation. Infrastructure teams that are at this point package infrastructure capabilities into fully-defined services, enabling more advanced consumption models such as self-service consumption of infrastructure services (IaaS, PaaS, etc.). The services are exposed via portal-based user interfaces or via standardized APIs.
  • The final and perhaps the most important change that infrastructure leaders drive is bridging the gap between applications and operations teams that developed over the past few decades. They are creating cross-functional teams that include all of the skills required to deliver an end-to-end infrastructure service to market in a standardized, iterative fashion.

By initiating and driving these three key changes, infrastructure leads are opening the door for their practitioners to apply best practice DevOps principles. Examples include continuous integration and deployment and automated delivery of infrastructure services and capabilities.

Key Benefits of DevOps Approach

Consider an example of the very real benefits that the approach can bring: one of our clients adopted a DevOps-oriented, agile approach to development and reduced the delivery cycle for infrastructure services from months to weeks almost immediately upon completing the transition. This resulted in deploying more functionality to the newly developed cloud infrastructure platform during each four-week delivery cycle than they had delivered in the previous year’s worth of development. Application developers immediately recognized the effects of this change and the organization’s CTO significantly increased the team’s budget for the next financial year. The intent of that budget was to accelerate the deployment and adoption of private and public cloud services across IT.

Stories like this suggest where infrastructure organizations should increase focus in the future: moving towards fully embracing DevOps not so much as sequence of particular steps to take in a specific order, but as guiding the organization’s culture.

DevOps is not, after all, a prescriptive framework. It’s much more a way of doing things – “a culture, movement or practice that emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both software developers and other information-technology (IT) professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes,” to quote Wikipedia’s pretty good definition.

Easing the Shift for Infrastructure Teams

What I’m also seeing is that DevOps isn’t an easy shift for infrastructure teams. Fear of change and a lack of exposure to DevOps concepts and practices are very hard to overcome. The territorial boundaries developed by operations over years, operating in silos, become comfort zones that are not easily penetrated. Operations employees, like anyone else, are susceptible to a general feeling of hopelessness, thanks to the fact that they are usually buried in existing work (break/fix, project enablement, etc.) and have no time to spare for true innovation.

Infrastructure teams, therefore, need assistance. However, help they need is not usually what they think they need, for example just another tool, application, or quick fix. What is needed are targeted initiatives that jumpstart more holistic change across all the fronts of people, process, and technology. Further they need ongoing mentoring and coaching to usher change from the initial stages of incubation to full adoption across the entirety of their organizations.

The payoff is tremendous. Successful DevOps transformations empower infrastructure organizations to deliver each release more robustly and better aligned to customers’ needs. When those needs change, they’re not stuck in a long delivery cycle, but can instead reprioritize and deliver something of immediate value in the next cycle. By increasing speed and frequency of releases, they offer better value per release, and better time to market – directly impacting business results. That, ultimately, is the only purpose that IT should be focused on, because without measurable business results, there may well be no business for IT to support.

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Josh Miller is a Business Solution Strategist within VMware’s Accelerate Advisory Services practices and is based in Oklahoma City, Ok. You can connect with him on LinkedIN.

The new culture of IT echoes the industry’s earliest days.

In many ways, it’s back to the future – but we also need some things to change.

Reg Loby Reg Lo

IT cultureTo get a sense of what’s happening in IT today, it can help to have a long term perspective. Think back to the earliest days of computing, for example, and you can see that we’ve almost come full circle – a reality that underscores the major cultural shift that the business is undergoing right now.

When enterprise computers were first commercially available, companies used to buy their hardware from someone else but write their own software, simply because there wasn’t very much packaged software out there to buy.

Then by the ’90s or so, it became the norm to purchase configurable software for the business to use. That worked well for a while, as companies in many different industries deployed similar software, e.g. ERP, CRM, etc.

Today we expect software to do a lot more. Moreover, we expect software to differentiate a business from its competitors – and that’s returning IT to their roots as software developers. After all, the ability to create digital enterprise innovation requires software development skills. And so we’ve made a full arc from a software development perspective.

The Expanding Reach of IT

Now add another historic change that we’re seeing: IT departments used to just provide services for their business, their internal customer, but the advent of the fully digital enterprise is expanding who gets touched by IT. IT departments now need to reach all the way to the customer of the business, the consumer. When we talk about omnichannel marketing, for example, we’re expecting IT to help maintain connections with consumers over web, phone, chat, social media, and more. The same goes for the Internet of Things, where it’s not so much the consumer as a remote device or sensor out in the field somewhere that IT needs to be worried about.

Both broad trends have changed the scope of IT and both are making IT much more visible. More importantly, they mean that IT is now driving revenue directly. If it’s successful, IT makes the business highly successful. But if IT fails, it will directly impede the business revenue flow.

Becoming Agile Innovators

That brings me to my last point. Here’s what hasn’t changed from the past: for the last 30 years or so, the mantra in IT cultures has been “Bigger is Better.” Software Development and Release processes got increasingly bureaucratic and terribly slow (think of those epic waits for the next ERP release). The standard mind-set was to package multiple changes into a single release that they’d roll out every six months or so, if they were lucky.

But that culture is also something that we need to be moving away from, precisely because the relationship between IT and the business it serves has changed. Businesses used to perceive IT as just a cost center that should be squeezed for more and more savings. But when IT touches the end-customer experience directly, business needs IT to be both cheaper and faster – to support and enable the kinds of innovation that will keep the business one step ahead.

We now have the technologies (cloud computing, cloud-native applications) and methodologies (agile development, DevOps) to make smaller, much more frequent, incremental releases that are simpler, less likely to be faulty, and easy to roll back if anything goes wrong.

What we’re still lacking – which I still see when I’m out in the field – is the widespread cultural change required for it to happen. Most importantly, that means adopting what I could call a DevOps mindset across the entire IT organization. At its essence, this mindset views the entire work of IT through a software lens. It makes everything, including infrastructure, code.

For IT long-timers, in many ways that’s simply returning software to the centrality it once enjoyed. But if it takes us back to the early days of computing, it also points us to what we must change if we’re to succeed in a future that’s entirely new.

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Reg Lo is the Director of VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in San Diego, CA.  You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Transforming IT into a Cloud Service Provider

Reg LoBy Reg Lo

Until recently, IT departments thought that all they needed to do was to provide a self-service portal to app dev to provision VMs with Linux or Windows, and they would have a private cloud that was comparable to the public cloud.

Today, in order for IT to become a cloud service provider, IT must not only embrace the public cloud in a service broker model, IT needs to provide a broader range of cloud services.  This 5 minute webinar, describes the future IT operating model as IT departments transform into cloud service providers.

Many IT organizations started their cloud journey by creating a new, separate cloud team to implement a Greenfield, private cloud.  Automation and proactive monitoring using a Cloud Management Platform was key to the success for their private cloud.  By utilizing VMWare’s vRealize Cloud Management Platform, IT could easily expand into the hybrid cloud, provisioning workloads to vCloud Air or other public clouds from a single interface.  Effectively, creating “one cloud” for the business to consume and “one cloud” for IT to manage.

However, the folks managing the brownfield weren’t staying still.  They too wanted to improve the service they were providing the business and they too wanted to become more efficient.  So they also invested in automation.  Without a coherent strategy, both Brownfield and Greenfield took their own separate forks down the automation path, confusing the business on which services they should be consuming.  We started this journey by creating a separate cloud team.  However, it may be time to re-think the boundaries of the private cloud and bring Greenfield and Brownfield together to provide consistency in the way we approach automation.

In order to be immediately productive, the app dev teams are looking for more than infrastructure-as-a-service.  They want platform-as-a-service.  These might be second generation platforms such as database-as-a-service (Oracle, MSSQL, MySQL, etc.) or middleware-as-a-service (such as Web Methods).  Or they need third generation platforms based on unstructured PaaS like containers or structured PaaS like cloud foundry.  The terms first, second and third generation map to the mainframe (1st generation), distributed computing (2nd generation), and cloud native applications (the 3rd generation).

Multiple cloud services can be bundled together to create environment-as-a-service.  For example, LAMP-stacks – Linux, Apache, MySQL and PHP (or Python).  These multi-VM application blueprints lets entire environments be provisioned at a click of a button.

A lot of emphasis has been placed on accessing these cloud services through a self-service portal.  However, DevOps best practices is moving towards infrastructure as code.  In order to support developer-defined infrastructure, IT organizations must also provide an API to their cloud.  Infrastructure-as-code lets you version the infrastructure scripts with the application source code together, ultimately enabling the same deployment process in every environment (dev, test, stage and prod) – improving deployment success rate.

Many companies are piloting DevOps with one or two application pipelines.  However, in order to scale, DevOps best practices must be shared across multiple app dev teams.  App dev teams are typically not familiar with architecting infrastructure or the tools that automate infrastructure provisioning.  Hence, a DevOps enablement team is useful for educating the app dev teams on DevOps best practices and providing the DevOps automation expertise.  This team can also provide feedback to the cloud team on where to expand cloud services.

This IT operating model addresses Gartner’s bimodal IT approach.  Mode 1 is traditional, sequential and used for systems of record.  Mode 2 is agile, non-linear, and used for systems of engagement.  Mode 1 is characterized by long cycle times measured in months whereas mode 2 has shorter cycle times measured in days and weeks.

It is important to note that the business needs both modes to exist.  It’s not one or the other.  Just like how the business needs both interfaces to the cloud: self-service portal and API.

What does this mean to you?  IT leaders must be able to articulate a clear picture of the future-state that encompasses both mode 1 and mode 2, that leverages both a self-service portal and API to the organization’s cloud services.  IT leaders need a roadmap to transform their organization into cloud service providers that traverse the hybrid cloud.  The biggest challenge to the transformation is changing people (the way they think, the culture) and processes (the way they work).  VMware can not only help you with the technology; VMware’s AccelerateTM Advisory Services can help you address the people and process transformation.

 


Reg Lo is the Director of VMware Accelerate Advisory Services and is based in San Diego, CA.  You can connect with him on LinkedIn.

Technology is not a Magic Wand for DevOps

Theresa StoneBy Theresa Stone

All too often I walk into companies that want to implement DevOps as part of their software defined data center (SDDC) journey and hear conversations filled with frustration like:

We have implemented 8 new tools and our developers seem to be mostly happy with them; but we continue to have issues delivering anything on time!  Our operations staff are frustrated and internal customers won’t allow their applications in our virtualized environment.

OR

 We bought all these new tools and implemented them, I even paid for my people to have formal training on them, but I don’t feel like we’re any better off than we were before!

Many organizations have bought into the falsehood that DevOps is just a technology play.   That could not be further from the truth, so don’t fall for that trap.   Successful DevOps organizations must focus on a lot more than just implementing technology to achieve success.

IT leaders should invest in cultural changes, people, skills gaps and collaboration issues above all other issues to achieve DevOps success. Organizations embarking on a DevOps initiative need to take a step back and evaluate if you are on track for success by approaching DevOps holistically.   These initiatives require a transformation strategy built around clearly defined goals and the development of a well-defined roadmap that incorporates people, process, technology and culture.

Core Pillars of DevOps Transformation

Here are some activities that are often incorporated in a transformation roadmap for DevOps broken down across the core pillars required for success – note one is not like the others:

DevOps PillarsPEOPLE Transformation

  • Governance frameworks are put in place to support and enable value realization from DevOps
  • Organization and operating models are modified to facilitate holistic changes to culture
  • People are invested in with necessary training and skills enhancements

PROCESS Transformation

  • Operations and development engineers participate together in the entire service life-cycle from design through to production support
  • An incident command system is in place where the development team is involved in incident resolution
  • Processes are re-engineered to be more efficient, lean and repeatable

TECHNOLOGY Transformation

  • DevOps technology improvements place reliance on build, test and release automation along with orchestration across technologies and integrated tool chains using continuous delivery capabilities
  • Infrastructure is treated as code
  • The DevOps team delivers small chunks of value to the customer more often
  • Recovery oriented computing – fail forward

CULTURE Transformation

  • High trust, team culture demonstrating effective, seamless cross-functional collaboration, open communications, performance orientation and learning culture (generative organization)
  • Demonstrated Servant Leadership – enable and serve from the top down
  • Established collective ownership
  • Creativity is encouraged

(All of these culture items must be focused on and incorporated into the attributes and activities above.)

Why is Technology the Pillar Most Organizations Focus on First?

Even though new technology is important and usually required, most organizations focus only on tools and do not achieve desired outcomes.   Why does this happen over and over again?   I believe it is due to a couple of factors:

  1. IT leaders gravitate toward what comes easiest and what seems most important to them – i.e. implementing new technology
  2. Leaders in general have a hard time comprehending the importance of people, process and cultural changes and what that actually looks like; therefore, investments in seeking outside assistance from experts are not made where they may be needed the most

In today’s fast-paced, ever-changing landscape, filled with disruptive technology, successful companies must be strategic and operate efficiently to remain on top.  DevOps is not easy and it does not happen overnight; however, it can produce the desired results if you take a holistic approach.  There are many success stories of those that embraced the changes and transformation needed across people, process, technology and culture to be the new or rising leaders in their industry.    Are you next?

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Theresa Stone is a Transformation Process Architect with VMware and is located in Virginia.