How To Avoid A DevOps Failure
DevOps is a revolutionary practice that creates a culture of collaboration between the development and operations teams. But sometimes things can go wrong. Here’s how to avoid a DevOps failure.
Implementing an efficient DevOps system is vital for organizations to succeed in our hyper-competitive market. Whether your organization has yet to adopt DevOps or is already humming along with this agile methodology, it's important to take a look at the rough patches others have experienced along the way and learn lessons from their mistakes.
Understand The Unique Workflow Of Your Organization
When IBM first began implementing DevOps, they invested heavily in agile – a set of principles for collaboration in software development. On paper, it seemed like a great solution to speed up production, but it didn't initially succeed as expected. Agile only took IBM so far. Development was sped up, but slow-responding operations prevented the company from releasing applications as rapidly as they wanted to.
IBM then began to automate code deployment to make up for the operations bottleneck. They quickly found that this, too, failed to decrease product release time. The DevOps application was initially a failure because IBM did not understand the workflows of their employees. They failed achieve a complete understanding of their processes from initiation to completion.
However, after some critical iteration and learning to account for and accomodate organizational workflows, IBM successfully reduced time-to-development and avoided a DevOps failure.
Limit Access to Code
When DevOps was still in it's infancy, IT departments were so excited about bringing together the development and operations teams that the newly formed meta-team was given "cart blanche" access to the database and code. This is now a well-known DevOps no-no, as unprecedented access can cause DevOps disasters.
For example, if an engineer wants to be proactive and reorganize the database columns, and forgets to inform the DBA, the database could crash and the application could be released with glitches and errors. It's hard for the engineer to realize the ramifications of such initiatives before – i.e. how the change will affects the production line – which inevitable leads to blunders.
When it comes to server access, entry should be restricted to specific areas being worked on, and all team members on that server should be made aware of changes made to the database.
Choose DevOps Tools Carefully
Many companies transitioning to DevOps understandably wish to save money. However, sometimes executives confuse a system that lacks necessary tools and coverage with an efficient, lean business model.
The success or failure of an organization's move to DevOps hinges on the tools that it identifies and rolls out in pursuit of its goals.
It's important for executives to carefully choose these features from the DevOps tool chain that best suit their unique needs.
Utilize Employees and Processes
While DevOps is sometimes viewed as a solution to human error and poor judgment, the human element remains imperative to the success of DevOps. While tools and automation assist developers and operators greatly, people and the culture that DevOps inspires within them, are key to avoiding DevOps failure.
Even a system that seems to be technically perfect needs to have a solid team behind it. That team should embody the collaborative and communicative culture of DevOps. Technical issues are always solvable, but if the core of the system – the people – are not wholeheartedly committed to the process, DevOps as a model will indubitably break down.
Make Plans to Succeed with Failure on the Mind
There's no doubt that DevOps is the most promising solution to software delivery acceleration. When properly realized, DevOps can breathe fresh life and a slew of competitive advantages into any digital business. Still, in order to fully comit with eyes wide open, it's important for organizations embarking on their DevOps journeys to explore and consider the DevOps failures of others and carry forward any and all applicable lessons learned.