DevOps is generally accepted as the project management methodology that brings together IT and operations with developers throughout the entire IT production lifecycle. Traditionally, IT and operations have worked in silos, creating a “wall” between them that prevents transparency and effective communication. DevOps breaks down this wall by blending developers and operations staff operationally, culturally and technically. DevOps improves agency processes by allowing for quicker development, greater quality assurance, better end products, and ultimately greater satisfaction among end users.
That said, implementing a DevOps strategy is easier said than done for many agencies, as it requires the adoption of certain principles in order to be effective. There are many misconceptions about what DevOps is and isn’t. Many believe DevOps is all about automation and tooling, but that’s simply not the case. The process of collaboration and coordination of daily operations and IT teams requires a cultural shift.
As Rob Gordon, Federal CTO of NetApp, SolidFire explains, “The challenge with DevOps is more cultural than technical. There are turf wars between IT and Dev teams. Much of the infrastructure is considered ‘sacred equipment’ and, as a result, departments are afraid of losing control over the infrastructure. There’s also the idea that knowledge is power, and if you share this knowledge, then your worth to the company lessens. Unfortunately, this mindset hinders any advancement towards DevOps.”
In a recent GovLoop guide, “Make DevOps a Reality for Your Agency”, sponsored by NetApp, the four core tenets necessary to embrace a DevOps strategy are outlined:
- Culture. In order for DevOps to work, technical, regulatory and cultural government silos must be significantly reduced. A DevOps culture is collaborative and employees across departments are in constant communication and embrace rapid change.
- Automation. The replacement of manual processes to accelerate digital product delivery is another core tenet of DevOps, but quality and security should not be sacrificed. Automation improves efficiency and reduces the potential of human error.
- Measuring. By measuring the outcomes of your projects and how effectively you got there, you can prove the value of the process to others in your agency and make process changes as needed.
- Sharing. Information sharing improves efficiencies by reducing duplicative efforts. Employees can focus on more important mission-critical issues and achieve common understanding of the processes and goals that have been set.
Ultimately, the barriers to DevOps adoption are cultural, but the obstacles like risk aversion, legacy silos and workflow disruption – can be overcome by implementing these core values. DevOps is the future for agencies looking to alleviate traditional challenges such as resistance to innovation and budget constraints. As more agencies begin to realize the benefits of DevOps and implement it into their framework, constituents will benefit as well.
You can learn more about NetApp’s DevOps solutions here.