Category Archives: DevOps

DevOps is for life, not just for techies

DevOps is a philosophy; it’s a way of life that you can use to transform your business methodology, improve your customer communications and revolutionise your results.

We’ve collated some fundamental DevOps principles that you can apply to all your business practises to streamline processes, revolutionise thinking and improve internal and external communications: Keep CALMS and use DevOps.

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Culture - Let yourself Fail

“The one who falls and gets up is stronger than the one who never fell.” It may be a cliché, but we really do learn from our mistakes. Don’t be afraid to try things, but learn to fail safely and make sure you learn from things that don’t work out.

Constant testing, re-evaluation and development is the only way to keep up with the modern world and this can be applied to software development, marketing strategies, personal goals – anything!

Automation – Focus on your business

Modern technology allows you to automate loads of areas of your life to free up your time – without it, juggling work, family, friends and the other components of contemporary culture would be impossible.

Automating systems and processes at work not only eliminates the risk of human error, but it frees up time to focus on the running of your business. Without having to spend man-power on monitoring, testing and updating your software you can focus more time into making your business the best it can be. Automation also means that your release processes are consistent, reliable and specific to your needs.

Lean – Cut down on waste

Originally devised and initiated by Toyota ‘Lean’ is a way of working that improves flow and eliminates waste: making obvious what adds value by reducing everything else. Implementing a Lean system in your processes means discarding superfluous, ‘wasteful’ activity and focusing on efficiently achieving your end result. These processes also reduce costs and production time as well as improving productivity.

This is ideal for efficiency in and out of the work environment – whether your new year’s resolution is to be more productive in your spare time, to recycle more or to get fit, try applying Lean principles to your day-to-day goals!

Metrics – Audience analysis

Who are your customers? How well are you able to monitor the way in which they engage/interact with your business/service? It’s important to keep up with the technological demands of an ever-tech savvy client base, but without listening to what they want, how can you know how to meet their need?

Implementing effective audience analysis technologies and responding quickly to their queries will establish you as trustworthy and responsive and will encourage repeat business.

Sharing – Sharing data

Do different departments within your business share work and information freely? Breakdowns of internal communication can result in the duplication of work and ineffective data management: one department may already have the data that another department is spending time collecting.

An integrated staff which shares information and works cohesively can understand each other’s individual roles, challenges and goals and will work more effectively to make your business the best it can be.

 

To learn more about how DevOpsGuys can help you make the changes you need visit our website or get in touch. Our Blog also has loads of fun, helpful articles to help you get an idea of how we work and what we can offer you.

Top 5 Technical Debt Tips for Businesses in 2015

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Make 2015 the year that you take on those nagging issues that, slowly but surely, are bogging down your business and stopping you from becoming the best you can be.

Without tackling small issues quickly you could find yourself buried in technical debt as a piece of bad coding needs to be fixed more and more frequently or if a lack of communication between departments leads to inefficiency: these things will grow exponentially, but by making some adjustments changes you could turn things around before they snowball out of control.

Our top 5 tips will help you identify some fundamental problems and figure out how best to tackle them.

  1. Assess your business – make a list

Take a look at the way your business operates. Systemise your approach to assessment and make a checklist of all the things that you’d like to be doing better; this is a great way of getting organised and creating a tangible body of work to process.

Once you know what needs to change you can start to prioritise and tackle the problems head on. Check out Atul Gawande’s The Checklist Manifesto for more hints.

  1. Do your research

Find out what your competitors are doing by looking at what they are putting out there. When you find things you like think about how you can apply them to your own business.

More importantly, however, examine the workings of your own business; do different departments communicate effectively? Could you do more to improve the efficacy of your software and website? Are you using all of your resources to drive your business and satisfy your customers?

  1. Speak to your audience

Is your business responding effectively to your customer’s needs? Can you keep up with the rapid developments of a digital market? Are you equipped to monitor and analyse audience needs and respond quickly to market trends?

Take the time to get to know your audience; find out what they like, what they need and what they think of you.

  1. Make technological and structural changes – now!

It might seem easier and more financially viable to muddle through using your existing systems and strategies, but the digital world is changing all the time; to compete in this busy market you need to stay ahead of the game and that means using the latest systems, techniques and technologies to meet the ever-changing needs of your customers

  1. Don’t be afraid to ask for help

If IT and development are not your forte there is plenty of help available to help you analyse your business requirements and to implement the changes you need. To find out more about what DevOpsGuys can do for your business, check out our website or visit us on Twitter @DevOpsGuys

Leave your Technical Debt behind this New Year

Or: How DevOps can put you back in the black for 2015

Courtesy of Paul Downey
Courtesy of Paul Downey

When you’re running a business there are so many things to focus on that it can be easier than you think to fall into technical debt. If IT is not your speciality or your business isn’t set up to deal with the perpetual developments of cloud computing patching things hurriedly together or using inexpert coding can seem like a quick fix that you can come back to and do properly in the future; in effect you’re borrowing time.

Unfortunately errors often beget errors, piling up ‘interest’ on your technical debt that your business might find it impossible to get out of in the long run. It’s a serious problem that can leave you wasting time and money, repeatedly solving problems caused by early errors.

With continuous development expert Alex Yates joining us for the 1st DevOps Meet Up of the year on Jan the 7th we took a look at his blog to see how a DevOps approach can help you tackle your software and IT problems before they become serious, unsolvable issues.

Here are some of Alex’s tips to prevent your technical debt reaching critical mass:

 

  • Source Control to better manage changes. Thankfully this is pretty much a given for most people now.
  • Thorough automated testing. Adopting Continuous Integration and/or Continuous Delivery.
  • Better teamwork/communication across IT teams. Adopting a more DevOps approach.
  • Better communication with business managers to help them understand the consequences of shipping features too fast without time to focus on quality. The business guys will want you to ship quickly now but they’ll also want you to be agile later in the year right?
  • Keeping track of technical debt visually, monitoring it and paying it back (refactoring it) when possible

Using actual case studies in Wednesday’s talk Alex will share his expertise on the need for changes in organisational structure, process and technology, which are necessary to arrive at a nimble, fast, automatable and continuous database deployment process.

The session will tackle how to customise common practices and tool sets to build a database deployment pipeline unique to your environment in order to speed your own database delivery while still protecting your organization’s most valuable asset, its data.

At DevOpsGuys we specialise in continuous delivery, application management and leading on development processes that allow your business to function to its greatest capacity; we manage your website so you can focus on your business.

To understand how  DevOpsGuys  can help  you get control of your technical debt in 2015 read more on our website or say hello on Twitter @DevOpsGuys.

Happy New year!

 

The DevOps Revolution

“We transformed from a team of employees to a team of owners”– Jim Stoneham, Opsmatic

In a fascinating interview with Opsmatic’s Jim Stoneham Gene Kim revisits Flickr’s innovative 2009 ’10 deploys per day’ presentation.

Comparing different approaches to tackling the rapidly evolving platforms within Yahoo! Stoneham highlights the benefits of integrated working across departments, taking risks in order to learn and involving everyone, at every level with every element of the deployment process.

Working quickly, deploying frequently and developing on the fly means that teams learn faster from mistakes and are able to remain ahead of competitors, as well as responding intuitively to the needs of their audience. Teams are also more involved in the process – collaborating across departments means that everyone learns more and the product belongs to the team as a whole,  because they are all involved in every element of its creation, deployment and improvement.

Sharing knowledge and experience across teams means huge pools of resources at your fingertips. You can monitor your audience and give them what they are asking for as they need it. Working slowly to avoid risks will just lead to missed opportunities and an overall slower development. Frequent deploys and rapid responses to audience needs are vital:

When you move at that speed, and are looking at the numbers and the results daily, your investment level radically changes. This just can’t happen in teams that release quarterly, and it’s difficult even with monthly cycles.” - Jim Stoneham

Check out the full interview; a  genuinely interesting insight into the start of the DevOps revolution.

DevOps: the Way and the Light…

The absolute chaos in the wake of last Friday’s air-traffic control issues at Swanwick seems to have unwittingly shed a light on the failures of archaic large-scale IT systems and highlighted the benefits of a more ‘evolutionary’ approach, as Matt Ridley’s article in The Times eloquently describes it:

GDS…is reshaping the way in which the public sector does big IT projects to make sure cost and time overruns are history.”

Ridley celebrates contemporary approaches to development; implementing change, learning from failure, monitoring and changing continuously to optimise outputs with the user at the focus. In today’s society it is essential for governments to successfully operate large-scale services that are simple to use and which work effectively – as we can see, breakage, at this scale, is disastrous.

Operating continual monitoring, analysis, testing and development on government IT systems means that services are more accessible and less prone to breaking. Improved communication and co-working means that different skillsets are working together; pooling resources to solve problems quickly and to innovate changes as soon as they are required.

This feedback led approach will allow large-scale government systems to develop continuously, fulfilling the needs of the user as they arise and solving problems before they can impact extensively. We are encouraging an environment of communication and integration over silo-led, ‘creationist’ approaches, which have continuously failed in the past.

It is an attitude and a system that is transferrable across a variety of processes; from IT systems development to office management and work ethic. Essentially, DevOps makes the world a happier place…

Leading experts bare all about the DevOps movement

The DevOps movement is rising, and an increasing number of IT professionals are keen to adopt this new way of working in order to achieve optimum collaboration between their Development and Operations departments. The ability to react quickly to customer demands is of top priority to businesses all over the world, and the benefits of DevOps is rapidly becoming widely known as offering fantastic business value.

Rackspace has released an Ebook and infographic, highlighting The DevOps Mindset: Real-World Insights from Tech Leaders to help you realise and implement your own DevOps practices within your organisation.

The Ebook shares valuable insights from practicing DevOps leaders with a key focus on outlining the need for enhanced collaboration, measurement and sharing through all aspects of any business. The DevOps Mindset showcases unique perspectives, challenges and achievements, as well as the catalysts which led them to adopt a DevOps mindset.

By successfully balancing the technical and social side of your development and operational processes you can actively learn and advance much quicker to help achieve your company goals. An unequal development of both sides will result in automation without collaboration and a lack of thought into exactly how your ideas and services will effectively be available to your customers.

DevOps advocate Jim Kimball, Chief Technology Officer at HedgeServ says: “I think the fundamental shift toward DevOps started when we got away from focusing on individual team goals and elevated our conversation to organizational goals and let the teams drive toward them.”

“To achieve true DevOps collaboration, you need your employees to really think and act as one, not just be merged together in name only. By pushing communication from the start, everyone gets a better feel for others’ needs and how they do their jobs.” Said James Kenigsberg, Chief Technology Officer at 2U, Inc.

This awesome Ebook shapes a Q&A format and delves deeper into how this new form of agile collaboration is sweeping its way through the software and IT industries.

You will also be able to take away useful tips for business leaders considering transforming their company culture towards a DevOps methodology.

We think this Ebook from Rackspace is a grade A piece, and an asset to anyone contemplating DevOps or thinking about adopting this innovative way of reaching new levels of productivity.

Recent Rackspace study shows businesses adopting DevOps practices at a remarkable rate

What do you think – is Devops just a fad or is it here to stay? Well, Rackspace recently commissioned independent technology market research specialist Vanson Bourne to conduct this piece of research and answer that very question. 700 global technology decision-makers were surveyed and the study discovered that businesses are now recognising DevOps as an established industry with adoption figures soaring at an extraordinary rate. Companies are now seeing significant business value in implementing DevOps as part of their own everyday practices.

So let’s look at the facts according to the Rackspace DevOps Adoption Study

What was previously recognised as a niche domain and implemented by only a select few, is now seeing widespread adoption and considerably transforming the way IT is viewed across a huge range of industries.

61% of those surveyed, highlighted customer satisfaction as the key incentive for DevOps adoption, enabling businesses to deliver better value to their customers through technology, and improve inefficiency to reduce delivery time to the customer.

While utilising DevOps practices and setting clear business goals at the beginning of every project, 57% saw an increased customer conversion or satisfaction rate.

The official Adoption Study infographic highlights 66% of respondents have already implemented DevOps practices, and 79% of those who have not, plan to do so by the end of 2015.

It is clear DevOps is increasingly being recognised as delivering real business value. A massive 93% reported setting clear end goals for their DevOps initiatives, showing a definite focus on significantly improving customer satisfaction for a long-term positive impact on the business as a whole.

In a nutshell – DevOps allows businesses to consider the ways in which they organise and structure their company to initiate better ways of working. It creates opportunities for businesses to deliver better experiences to their customers faster, broaden the range of services they offer and better serve their business by using data more proactively.

A big thank you to the Rackspace Adoption Study for these incredible figures. It’s fantastic to see this industry expanding so rapidly, and we’re looking forward to seeing what the future holds in this space.