DevOps is a radical approach to software development and delivery. It aims to transform the traditionally siloed development and operations teams by encouraging increased communication. The perceived benefit of this merger is that it aids in the automation of slow processes and in increasing the speed of delivery for users.
Specifically for SMBs, DevOps means the users will receive new software or updates at a faster pace. This model allows organizations to quickly adapt to new constraints and to roll out a new version of the software within a reduced time-frame. This is a responsive cycle that requires operations, developers and testers to work seamlessly in tandem.
While this sounds good in theory, it must be approached with the same care, research and due diligence with which infrastructure changes are considered. Here are a few considerations to help you decide whether a DevOps model is right for you.
1. What steps should an SMB take before adopting the DevOps model?
You can expect the DevOps model to revolutionize the way you develop software overnight. There are a few preliminary steps SMBs should take prior to adopting this approach.
First, introduce a cultural shift. In a traditional structure, operations is in charge of keeping things running smoothly while developers write code and add new features. Testers are in charge of identifying problems. Many midmarket companies need to work on a culture shift to get these groups to work together and to improve their communication. This might mean team-building exercises, changing the office layout or even considering new hires.
Second, look for the right automation tools. DevOps allows companies to roll out software updates in as little as a day once an issue is detected. Automation tools make this responsive approach possible and considerably reduce the work load.
Third, set goals and a timeframe. Write down the goals you are hoping to achieve by adopting the DevOps approach. Create a cycle that is relevant to the needs of your organization. Develop a detailed timeframe and a few weekly or monthly goals to gradually transition your business to this new model.
2. Is DevOps relevant for the midmarket?
DevOps makes sense for companies that release new software often. This continuous delivery model allows businesses to roll out new updates and to meet the expectations of their clients or to address specific bugs. However, there are two main reasons why SMB leaders have doubts about DevOps:
- Midmarket companies usually release new software only occasionally.
- It is common to completely outsource processes like developing or testing.
Regardless of either of these objections, customers still expect service providers to address technical problems quickly. The ability to roll out a security update the same day a threat is detected is invaluable.
New technologies are making DevOps more accessible for midmarket companies. Since cloud infrastructure is now the market standard, you can easily communicate in real-time with your outsourced teams. Automation helps you manage processes like testing or managing your data center without using any manpower. In addition, you can easily find best practices and recommended frameworks adapted to the size of your organization.
3. Who has successfully leveraged a DevOps model?
DevOps has helped these three companies change the way they roll out updates and address bugs:
- Flickr was unable to deliver a satisfactory user experience due to frequent outages. After switching to the DevOps model, Flickr is now deploying as many as ten software updates a day.
- Netflix recently received a JAX Special Jury Award for setting new standards in the IT industry. This company is using DevOps to find and fix problems before they even affect customers!
- Gone are the days when Adobe would release a new software pack less than once a year. They now offer a cloud-based service and are constantly releasing smaller updates. Switching to DevOps made perfect sense for Adobe.
DevOps is the future of software development and delivery. There are a few challenges to face, such as changing your company culture or automating a few processes, but implementing these changes will help you speed up development and better serve your customers.