If you’re not already familiar with DevOps, it’s a fusion of the words “development” and “operations.” It’s a concept that has floated around the last couple of years to describe a software development process in which software and IT infrastructure it runs on are interdependent. It sounds simple enough, but in practice the integration and collaboration of the software developers and IT operations personnel behind them has been anything but simple.
The way a software project typically works is that developers create an application and hand it off to the IT operations team. The operations team then determines how much server capacity is needed and how it should be configured in order for the application to work. It is not the most inefficient process as IT must figure out what is required for deploying and scaling the application in the production environment AFTER the application has already been completed.
Not surprisingly, the trial-and-error required can stretch out infrastructure provisioning and delay application deployment. When the application is finally launched, there is still a chance it could freeze if usage exceeds expectations and deployed resources are insufficient to handle the load.
With DevOps, IT operations personnel are brought in during the software development cycle so they can work with developers and help ensure that the application is built to be “deployment-aware.” This streamlines the end-to-end process, enabling an organization to respond faster and more cost-effectively to changing market conditions, increase productivity and performance among its IT operations personnel and ultimately improve both internal customers’ satisfaction and end users’ satisfaction.
So what does this have to do with the cloud? Before cloud computing, application development and deployment was expected to be ─ and accepted as ─ slow. The on-demand, self-provisioning capabilities of the cloud changes that.
IT organizations need pliable infrastructure all the way from development to production.
With the cloud, it’s easy to obtain new computing resources in minutes, as opposed to the weeks or months it used to take to get new infrastructure resources available. Some cloud solutions even come with “right-sizing recommendations” to help ensure the most efficient configuration of those resources.
So as developers and IT operations staff team up to accelerate the development and deployment processes, they have a great tool at their disposal: the cloud. And, as their comfort levels with the practice of DevOps increase, it’s likely they will start teaming up to explore new uses of the cloud to up their agility and efficiency. Application development may well be only the beginning.