Sunday, April 3, 2016

DevOps and Hybrid Infrastructure Synergy

(This post first appeared in IBM's Point B and Beyond)

The definition of DevOps emphasizes collaboration and communication between software developers and other IT professionals while automating the software delivery and infrastructure change process. While agile software development and the use of automated infrastructure configuration tools stand proudly in the DevOps spotlight, little has been said about the actual infrastructure that modern tools such as Puppet and Chef automate.

DevOps in Hybrid IT Environments

Much has been written about Chaos Monkey, a tool that ensures individual software components work independently by randomly killing instances and services within Netflix’s Amazon Web Service (AWS) infrastructure. This process clearly stresses AWS infrastructure operations as automation scripts reconfigure infrastructure components on the fly. Without taking anything away from the operations excellence this displays, how would an enterprise match this feat across a hybrid IT environment? How would you support the DevOps philosophy across a hybrid IT infrastructure?

The DevOps philosophy embodies the practice of operations and development engineers working together through the entire service life cycle, from design to development to production support. It’s linked closely with agile and lean approaches and abandons the siloed view of the development team being solely focused on building and the operations team being exclusively centered on running an application.

As enterprises adopt both private and public clouds, they typically do not throw away their in-house infrastructure. Although consolidation, outsourcing and IT efficiencies may reduce the number of corporately owned data centers, a hybrid operational environment will still remain. Extending the DevOps philosophy into such an environment requires active management of all an organization’s IT infrastructure, regardless of its source. This active IT management is different from the budget-and-forget management seen in the past and requires the following:
  • Active monitoring and metering of all IT services;
  • Continuous benchmarking and comparisons of similar services; and
  • Viable options for change among pre-vetted and approved IT infrastructure service options (IT supply chain management).
These management functions are delivered by IT service broker enablement, which refers to the integration of platforms that aggregate, customize and/or integrate IT service offerings through a single platform. In transforming the traditional, mostly static infrastructure model into a multisourced IT service supply chain operation, these platforms also deliver financial management and hybrid IT solution design support. They uniquely enable the infrastructure dynamism needed to pursue DevOps across a hybrid IT environment.

A DevOps Mindset in the Dynamic World of Cloud

According to Gravitant, hybrid IT is also more than just a catalog of public and private IT infrastructure resources. It is a strategic approach that unifies the hardware and software operational components of an end-to-end solution. With this approach, an organization standardizes the delivery of multisourced solutions by doing the following:
  • Leveraging existing tools and resources without disruption;
  • Offering additional, automated choices for users who need speed and agility; and
  • Addressing architecture holistically, with the optimal balance of technology investments — on-premises, off-premises, hosted, private or public.

This concept requires a shift in structure and mindset because the dynamic world of the cloud requires a new organizational structure. The shift in structure helps organizations move from a
technology mindset to a more solution-based focus, building the skills and expertise required to support fast, flexible and cost-effective IT processes. The main objective is to transform IT teams from static, technology-focused teams into brokers of IT services. When this happens, IT will become a company asset by responding dynamically to the organization’s needs.

The Value of IT Service Brokerage

The IT service broker function sits between the back office (operations) and the front office (user experience), creating a middle office that is responsible for much of the new business operations skills, such as sourcing, procurement, packaging and billing. The enablement platform defines and executes the technology and sourcing strategies and supports the creation of solution architectures that maximize the value of your multisourced investment.

IT service brokerage redefines the meaning of hybrid IT by introducing inherent provisioning, orchestration, portability and interoperability services. In fact, DevOps is to software as IT service brokerage is to infrastructure. To be successful in today’s dynamic and global business environment, modern organizations need to build dynamic and agile infrastructures that can support agile and dynamic software development and deployment models. This is why IT service broker enablement is the key to DevOps and hybrid infrastructure synergy.

( This content is being syndicated through multiple channels. The opinions expressed are solely those of the author and do not represent the views of GovCloud Network, GovCloud Network Partners or any other corporation or organization.)

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