Agility and speed are two of the most sought-after superlatives in today’s competitive digital economy. Not surprisingly, these adjectives also apply to organizations’ internal IT departments. The pressure on engineering teams to increase the rate at which they deliver software has significantly grown over the years, resulting in a massive movement around DevOps today. However, working with evolving DevOps practices calls for enhanced levels of agility and speed to deployment. Cloud is a direct response to that need and provides the perfect platform for businesses to keep up with changing IT innovations and drive greater efficiencies. As it turns out, there is a strong correlation between a sophisticated cloud environment and an organization’s ability to execute a high performing software delivery cycle. According to the State of DevOps 2018 report, teams that leverage all of cloud computing’s essential characteristics — defined by NIST as on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, and measured service —are 23 times more likely to be high performers. It is important to understand how cloud computing complements DevOps for a successful IT transformation.
The significance of cloud computing vis-á-vis DevOps
By shedding traditional hardware inventories and offloading your CI/CD, testing and DevOps into the cloud, you can ensure that scalability becomes an integral part of application development ecosystem, which in turn facilitates reduced infrastructure costs and increased global reach. Cloud technology enables you to obtain and configure capacity with minimal friction. With AWS EC2 and Google Compute Engine, for instance, you can launch VMs on demand, predefine sizes and even leverage Custom Machine Types to meet very specific requirements. Your DevOps teams can deliver applications, code, and services with automatic scaling capabilities, allowing them to quickly scale capacity, both up and down, as your computing requirements change. They can even isolate services for specific use-cases.
Improved efficiencies, faster time to market
The use of cloud enables organizations to improve developer efficiencies at an individual level with cloud tools, application-specific infrastructure, and self-service catalogs and pace up the development process. Application-specific infrastructure allows developers to gain more control over their own components, resulting in reduced wait times. Self-service methods for provisioning infrastructure (using AWS Service Catalog) allows developers faster access to development environments, without the need to wait for IT operations to provision resources for them. With such flexibility, they can quickly conduct new experiments, fail fast and just as easily succeed in bringing new products to market faster.
Fosters a culture of collaboration
At its core, DevOps is essentially a cross-joint effort that relies on seamless and effective collaboration between development and operations teams in order to meet business needs. The cloud provides the perfect platform to foster such a culture of communication. The use of cloud as a single common language dissolves the separation between teams and allows everyone to combine their efforts and learn new approaches at the same time. Including operations groups in the development procedure and the other way around helps to create a meeting point that leads to strong team dynamics and facilitates sharing of understanding and skills.
Streamlined technology stack
Modern applications need complex technology stacks that require great effort for creation and configuration and it certainly is a huge challenge to manage a DevOps practice when components are all over the place. The centralized nature of cloud computing provides a standard platform for testing, deployment, and production for DevOps automation and a single window that lets you view, manage and control your entire DevOps practice. In Google Cloud Platform (GCP), there is something known as a Cloud Console, which helps you view your datastores, networking policies, web applications, data analytics, VMs, developer services, and much more.
Optimal use of resources
It is much easier to track the use of development resources and associated costs, when leveraging cloud-based DevOps. Clouds offer usage-based accounting, which tracks the use of resources by application, developer, user, data, etc. and enables users to optimize performance by making the necessary adjustments.
Together, DevOps and cloud computing are interlocking parts of a strategy to drive meaningful IT transformation that directly impacts business goals. You can start by dipping a toe in to figure out which of your services will work well in the cloud and cut the chances of mistakes. Once any apprehensions about potential risks associated with the shift are addressed and your DevOps practice sets foot firmly in the cloud, it becomes easier to open the door to continuous experimentation and several new opportunities with enhanced levels of agility and speed of deployment. For example, you can start new initiatives around event-driven, serverless compute and explore if it fits well with your organization. Learning what works, and how it works for your organization, will show you how to propagate it more widely.
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Also published on Medium.