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In our mini series on DevOps, we’ve explored what it is, where it’s headed, the challenges it faces and its future. But to understand DevOps it is essential to cover the intensely close partnership that the cloud and DevOps share, including the similar mantra they both follow and how they fit together.
The agile and efficient approach taken by cloud and DevOps is driven by what companies require to compete. No longer is it okay to follow the status quo — companies must adapt rapidly, to stretch themselves by focusing on being agile and at the forefront of innovation. Nowhere is this more obvious to see than in companies such as Microsoft, Apple and Intel.
Microsoft has continuously had to adapt its products and shift its business strategy in an effort to remain at the forefront of technology. Apple has come under increasing pressure in recent years to produce more innovative products, especially if it is to keep its status as the world’s most valuable company. Intel, the leading chip company, is shifting its business focus to provide chips for cloud computing rather than just PCs. Companies that used to keep the ship steady in order to generate their vast profits are now coming under pressure from more agile startups and a drastic shift in market demographics.
And what do companies need to do to adapt? They need to shift their entire philosophy away from the status quo. They need to shorten the time it takes to get products out. They need to consistently release products on a rapid delivery cycle. They need to get rid of the waste. And they need to experiment. Companies that are stuck in a rut will likely stay there.
But it's not just the well-known technology companies that are driving this change. When was the last time you went to a bank? Last time I remember was a few years back when my grandmother had sent me a cheque for my birthday. Nowadays, I have an app that does the vast majority of my banking tasks. And if not via an app, then most definitely on a website. Even the banks are in a technological battle to stay at the forefront of innovation.
It's this need to constantly deliver new services that is driving companies today. With the commercial world changing at a rapid rate, thanks in part to the quicker delivery times and cloud technology, businesses need to be agile to keep up. And to do this, they need to get rid of waste.
This is where cloud and DevOps can get the job done perfectly in unison.
As we already know, the cloud enables companies to turn their focus away from manually dealing with IT systems, such as storage and hardware, to instead adding business value. By transforming the traditional model of single-tenant data centres and uploading software on-premises only (remember CD-ROMS?) into a public cloud and multi-tenant model, the cloud has made it possible to work on continuous deployment, targeting all users at the same time.
A recent KPMG report on successful cloud strategies promoted a collaborative attitude, and gave the following advice: “Avoid silos. Cloud transformations succeed when organisations are able to embed change into every aspect of business… Collaboration powers transformation. For example, business and IT professionals should work side by side as cloud is adopted into the enterprise.”
Sounds familiar? Right, very close to the message behind the DevOps craze.
As we’ve already seen, DevOps bring together teams of developers, operational department members and system administrators with a strong focus on shortening time-to-market to deliver new functionality.
So it’s not surprising that Cloud computing and DevOps work well together. They have the same goal - delivering software and updates to market more quickly.
Thanks to the cloud and its automated provisioning, different environments can be created on-demand, allowing for continuous delivery of software and enabling fast and frequent releases. With the cloud, it’s easy and quick to access computing resources and use them as needed, in no time.
The cloud is designed, in a way, to add agility and speed to software development and aid company decisions more effectively. The cloud is a DevOps enabler.
Not every business has the technical know-how to commit to cloud adoption, or to adopt DevOps as a philosophy. They may first have more of a need for cloud based services.
Modern businesses have significantly more needs than just making their customers happy with a functional and fully operating web application. They also require a lot of storage, a lot of applications and a lot of computational power. By adopting the cloud, smaller companies will find a cost-efficient and flexible platform for rapidly expanding their business.
And because the cloud and DevOps are quite similar in philosophy, companies adopting one or the other will naturally find that the transition to combining both is relatively simple. If companies then combine the two, they will multiply their ability to expand.
Cloud computing and DevOps are driving the strategy of transforming outdated IT departments into agile, fast flowing departments. They enable businesses to make decisions and adapt rapidly. Combined, they help IT shift away from the questions of “how long before we break things?” to “how quickly can we deliver new functions and business driven decisions?”
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