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Blog Post

The Collaboration Required for DevOps | @DevOpsSummit #DevOps

Automation workflows provide holistic visibility and common ground for healthy DevOps

Five Ways Automation Promotes the Collaboration Required for DevOps
by Vladi Shlesman

Collaboration is vital to a DevOps ethos that promotes agile deployment. The variety of people, tools and workloads often combine for a chaotic application release cycle with no running thread. Automation can be the common denominator that binds the process together.

Automation documents every step of each release whilst providing a single architecture: a high-level summary of the entire project that can be accessed by every staff member involved. This helps to delineate relationships between complex processes and promotes the blurring of responsibilities that DevOps is based on.

These five tenets of DevOps should develop naturally once automation is introduced:

1. Communication
Historically, Dev and Ops might even have been in different offices or even different continents with little communication. A new app could have been "thrown over the wall" from Devs to Ops without the latter knowing too much about it until that point. Application automation can be a catalyst for discussion.

The full audit chain automation produces means all changes are propagated to the rest of the team. This negates superfluous emails being sent or questions being asked and means discussions can be efficient and productive.

2. Trust
Dependencies and complexities that can hold up a release cycle are laid out visually in an automation dashboard so Ops know how to deploy, when and to which environment.

Because each process is outlined end-to-end in a standardized, repeatable loop, every contributor to the release cycle can be trusted to start the process, as all it takes is the push of a button. This reduces the need for supervision and allows staff to get things done quicker by removing bottlenecks that were previously caused by waiting on a certain member of staff to do a job only they knew how to do.

3. Trial and error
In the past Devs and Ops tended to form different sides of the war room. Blame needs to be replaced by constructive analysis, which enables staff to express themselves without fear. By releasing apps faster and in smaller iterations with automation, each error is insignificant and isolatable. Ops can adopt a desire to change, while Devs can learn to make change more reliable.

DevOps slogans such as "Done is better than perfect" and "Break things and move fast" are dependant on rapid, efficient reconciliation. When things go wrong the team can see where and why the fault occurred. The ability for rollback, a full audit trail, and the visibility application automation gives the release process means issues can be identified and resolved quickly.

4. Software unification
Dev and Ops can be separated technically as well as physically, as the large amount of different software used in a release cycle can hinder collaboration. Sometimes Ops can be too busy to enable Devs with new software quickly, so Devs can download open source tools to make things happen faster.

At the same time a number of legacy apps (especially mainframe) that do not fit into the open source world of DevOps could be in use. There can be more than 20 separate pieces of software being used in total. Automation tools show metrics on release and status, whilst ensuring the same both sides use the same tools and platform to ensure consistency.

5. Time-to-market
Applications mean money
and delivery takes time. Cooperation and automated processes reduce risk of error, and allow DevOps to move faster without crashing, while enabling them to recover quickly when something does go wrong.

Application automation allows staff to concentrate unimpeded. Rather than taking time to explain what they have done and what they are going to do, Ops can get on with the job while their progress is tracked from anywhere in the world. Automation allows the right kind of communication at the right times to enhance speed and agility.

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Only when these five tenets become second nature can a DevOps ethos truly flourish. With application automation comes understanding. It brings agility and a collaborative mindset, which enables DevOps to bring innovative new apps to market faster, without additional risk of change.

Read the original blog entry...

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Automic, a leader in business automation, helps enterprises drive competitive advantage by automating their IT factory - from on-premise to the Cloud, Big Data and the Internet of Things.

With offices across North America, Europe and Asia-Pacific, Automic powers over 2,600 customers including Bosch, PSA, BT, Carphone Warehouse, Deutsche Post, Societe Generale, TUI and Swisscom. The company is privately held by EQT. More information can be found at www.automic.com.

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