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How to accelerate software development by harnessing the power of DevOps, agile and hybrid cloud

Sumit Mehrotra, Director of Products at Skytap | May 14, 2014
Software development teams and operations/system administrators have historically pushed each other in opposing yet complementary directions. While development teams focus on delivering new features to end users, operations personnel generally focus on software deployment, minimizing liabilities and risks, and optimizing performance and reliability. The natural friction between the two groups can create a productive balance, but oftentimes it causes obstacles, resentment and a loss of revenue.

Hybrid Cloud

Automation is the key to accelerating software development and deployment. Provisioning a server in three weeks is no longer acceptable — organizations should be thinking about how to provision a server in about three minutes.

A hybrid cloud is a cloud computing environment where an organization integrates its private cloud environment with the scalability and flexibility of a public cloud environment. Hybrid cloud allows the enterprise to take advantage of the scalability and cost-efficiency of public cloud computing without exposing mission-critical applications and data to third-party vulnerabilities. The enterprise provisions compute, storage, and networking resources delivered as a service, with self-service access via web interfaces and APIs.

Software development and testing can be performed in a production-like environment, and applications can be deployed and scaled in hours instead of weeks. Hybrid cloud enables the enterprise to provision and release resources in minutes, and benefit from a pay-for-usage model that accelerates software development by allowing developers, testers, and operations personnel to gain quick access to the resources they need to perform their jobs.

The hybrid cloud becomes a secure, IT-managed extension to your existing internal IT infrastructure and delivers the best of both worlds:

  • Developers are enabled with the self-service, on-demand, elastic nature of a public cloud
  • Enterprise IT readiness equals control, visibility, and security of on-premises resources

Some enterprise workloads are better suited for in-house infrastructure, while others are better suited for the cloud. Predictable workloads are preferable for enterprise data centers, while dynamic workloads are ideal for cloud computing. Predictable workloads are core to IT operations and require dedicated IT resources, with IT staff managing the application changes. But enterprises are increasingly moving dynamic workloads to the cloud because they have unpredictable capacity needs and require collaboration and frequent changes.

For example, a software development process entering into the late stages of performance testing will require increased computing and networking resources. IT would either need to have spare capacity handy and idle or would need to rapidly procure, prepare, and provision new equipment to meet these demands. In today's volatile economy, few businesses are willing to plan and purchase IT resources based on a forecasted "high-water mark" of demand, only to have this equipment remain otherwise underutilized most of the time. The hybrid cloud model provides for dynamic capacity management, and automated solutions decrease the IT support burden.

The Power of DevOps and Hybrid Cloud

Incorporating hybrid cloud into your IT strategy already starts you down the DevOps path by breaking the traditional barriers between development, test, and IT. IT can work with development and test teams and equip them with dynamic, flexible, and easily shareable cloud-based environments that are available on demand within minutes. By integrating cloud-based services into the overall IT architecture strategy, software development teams are better able to create, change, and scale complex computing environments as often as needed. At the same time, IT is able to retain the full visibility and control required for security and operational governance over these environments. Just taking this first step toward DevOps brings huge benefits for teams.


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