As federal agencies continue looking at ways to improve time-to-market and create efficiencies in their data center, they are removing the silos that traditionally existed between developers and operations and turning to DevOps. DevOps, a “cultural shift that enables collaboration and communication between IT staff, is something more and more agencies are moving towards as they must adapt to change quicker in order to meet the mission,” Mike Dye, Chief Technology Officer, Civilian Agencies, NetApp said in a recent interview for GovDataDownload.
As with any organizational change, there are ways to optimize DevOps so you can get the most out of it. Dye said it’s important to understand that “DevOps is more of a partnership than it is a technology. It’s the ability to synchronize operations and development so they are working hand in hand.”
As such, the partnership must be properly managed in order to reach its full potential. Dye explained, “You have to effectively control DevOps and ensure the appropriate policies and infrastructure exists to support it. The biggest challenge is creating this environment so that can be policed and orchestrated properly. Some forethought goes a long way. A properly managed environment creates a much smoother operation.”
As agencies must adapt quicker than ever before to mission critical activities, Dye is seeing some research agencies doing things that are “so computationally intensive that they require an agile, flexible, and collaborative approach to IT. Today there are so many forward-thinking people that are not afraid of using the new tools available and test things to improve processes and their DevOps culture. They are using new tools to automate processes that historically have been manual and slow.”
Many of them have turned to the cloud to enhance the DevOps process. The cloud enables an easy and cost-effective method to automate the creation and replication of multiple environments for testing which was previously difficult to do on-premises.
Federal agencies are undoubtedly experiencing greater efficiencies and quality improvements with DevOps. Dye explained to us that efficiencies are gained with DevOps because, “you don’t have to store the test environment in a completely separate arena and expend resources on a wasted effort. Operations teams and developers oftentimes work on the same team to make code changes in an agile environment, real-time. DevOps allows developers to update and manage applications on weekly or bi-weekly cycles rather than bi-annual cycles. NetApp provides almost a zero impact copy of the data with FlexCone technology that can be used for testing. This same technology provides a zero impact way of working with the code that allows each developer to mount their own environment without having to copy it every day.”
The speed that DevOps brings is essential for agencies that must meet mission critical activities quicker than ever before. Dye concluded, “What we really want to be able to do is get testing done and get to failure quicker so we can get to remediation quicker, and deploy quicker. That’s what DevOps enables.”
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