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Making DevOps Real for Power Systems

Hayden Lindsey VP and Distinguished Engineer, IBM Rational Software - Photo by Bryan Regan

Business innovation is increasingly delivered through software. The rapid pace of market, economic and regulatory change is driving the need for business agility, pushing software delivery to become faster and more predictable. However, employees involved in various stages of software delivery frequently work in their own silos.

On one hand, developers are striving to deliver new application features as quickly as possible. On the other, the operations staff must ensure platforms and systems run smoothly and dependably. This relationship frequently resembles a baton handoff in a relay race.

“DevOps is about establishing an enterprise capability for accelerated and continuous software delivery that enables our clients to seize market opportunities and reduce time to customer feedback.”
—Hayden Lindsey, VP and Distinguished Engineer, IBM Rational Software

DevOps changes that. It makes the relationship more like a rowing team pulling together to win a race. And IBM takes that concept one step further by extending it to the lifecycle of an application—from inception to consumption.

“DevOps is about accelerated, continuous delivery of software innovation,” explains Hayden Lindsey, vice president and Distinguished Engineer, IBM Rational* Software. IBM views DevOps as spanning the entire enterprise, accelerating delivery of multitier mobile and cloud solutions. Recently, IBM Systems Magazine sat down with Lindsey to learn more.

IBM Systems Magazine (ISM): Can you describe DevOps and explain why there’s so much buzz about it?
Hayden Lindsey (HL):
All businesses want to be more responsive to client needs. That’s nothing new. But some key market shifts underscore the need for increased business agility, and that relies on software. The exponential increase in the number of empowered users has driven higher expectations for a quality customer experience. And the rise of disruptive technologies like mobile, social, big data and cloud puts even more pressure on today’s IT organizations. Delivering high-quality applications, especially customer-facing applications, is more critical than ever.

The conundrum is that IT has to do all of this while maintaining or even reducing their budgets. Delivering applications every six, 12 or 18 months is no longer acceptable. From what I see, companies are having a hard time dealing with this and the stakes are much higher today. Take mobile, for instance. The cost and risk of delivering poor quality or unusable applications can have an immediate and negative viral response from a constantly connected global user community. Not having a mobile channel at all is even worse.

When you think about the agile movement, development shops are doing things faster, breaking work into smaller deliverables and then delivering that work as frequently as possible to their clients. Meanwhile, operations teams—especially in larger companies—are working aggressively to ensure mission-critical systems never go down. Operations teams are naturally going to be pushing back on increasing the frequency of change to the production systems; thus, the dilemma.

DevOps is a set of principles to address this situation. It’s about linking development and operations more seamlessly. It guides you to get applications into production more quickly by promoting collaboration between the development and operations teams. That’s an industry view. The IBM view extends this outward and across the enterprise—building feedback loops with customers and other stakeholders from the lines of business to the help desk in order to maximize the business value of software in an accelerated and continuous manner (see “DevOps Lifecycle,” left). Ultimately, DevOps is about establishing an enterprise capability for accelerated and continuous software delivery that enables our clients to seize market opportunities and reduce time to customer feedback.

Evelyn Hoover is executive editor of IBM Systems Magazine. Evelyn can be reached at ehoover@msptechmedia.com.

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