DevOps is a bit like Rugby – in theory it is simple; but in practice it is tricky. To succeed in Rugby you have to have a clear plan, cover all aspects and have a clear strategy. To succeed in DevOps you have to follow a similar approach. 

We are getting bombarded with DevOps success stories – “DevOps has increased our deployment frequency by a factor of 30“, “Thanks to DevOps we are 20x faster than before” etc. Reading these statements one could think that DevOps is a “solution” that can be deployed like a Web Server. Quite the opposite is the case. DevOps implementation is not as straight forward as some vendors make it. 

The question is “why”? Why is DevOps not straight forward? I believe that there are two sets of challenges that exists when adopting Devops – I call them “the DevOps Dual-Challenges”: 

Clients have to deal with the complexity of existing environments – pre-production environments do seldom reflect live production which can make it difficult to perform fast root-cause analysis. In addition existing teams work in some separation to each other and the speed of innovation in the software and hardware area is increasing. I call these “outside-in challenges”.

In addition clients have to deal with inside-out challenges. The fact that DevOps is still misunderstood. The fact that many see DevOps as a Tools implementation and that it can be difficult to devise an effective and efficient implementation approach. Plus our clients never stay still – there is already a significant change programme under way and DevOps implementation has to co-exist.

To address these dual-challenges I believe that it is important to: 

  1. Have a Plan

    • Understand where you are and where you want to be
    • Understand how to get there
  2. Cover all 3 Areas

    • Focus on people, process and tools
    • Do not just implement a tool
  3. Proceed Step by Steps

    • Understand the maturity model
    • Know where you are and where you want to be
  4. To apply supporting measures

    • Standardisation as well as virtualisation will help
    • Combine these with wider activities

It is important to see all four aspects in context of wider change programmes. This will help with deploying DevOps based capabilities, tools and approaches.

Are you attending VMWorld 2015 in San Francisco? On September 1st @ 11:30am I will be spending 1h to provide some insight how we help clients making best use of DevOps – here is a link to more details. It would be great to meet you there!

Thanks for Reading.

About the Author: Gunnar Menzel has been an IT professional for over 25 years and is the VP and Chief Architect Officer for Capgemini’s Infrastructure Business. Gunnar is also currently the President for the Open Data Centre Alliance. His main focus is business- enabling technology innovation.