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How DevOps Supports Dynamic Needs of Web Applications

Developers and Operations Staff Collaborate
 

DevOps is a collection of ideas that improve and support the relationship between application development and the operations of the application. The word itself is formed from development and operations. This set of ideas was born when web applications became prominent; it became obvious that the techniques of the past wouldn’t adequately support the dynamic needs of web applications.

A natural tension has always existed between change and stability.

Developers are paid to create change in the form of new applications and changes to existing ones. When developing for the web, changes were often made rapidly and frequently.

The operations staff is paid to provide stability, and those changes were hard for them to control and make with predictability as they enabled new and changed application functionality. Tension between the groups sometimes increased because they belonged to different teams within a company.

DevOps Goals

DevOps goals can be explained in the context of two main ideas: business agility and alignment of IT with the company. Business agility is supported by DevOps through techniques that make more frequent deployments possible through the increased use of automation for testing as well as packaging for production distribution. Automation helps maximize the predictability and efficiency of operational procedures, which is especially important when changes are made multiple times in a day.

IT alignment is supported because members of both development and operations are going for the same goals using the same approach and a common toolset. Development, testing, quality assurance, maintenance and operations specialists are often part of the same team supporting the business goals of the company.

Continuous Planning

Planning for DevOps is continuous, as project teams adjust their goals based on immediate customer feedback. Planning tools such as IBM Rational Team Concert* include the agile planning approach—a method that combines small parts of the application through iterative and incremental developing—which is a good fit for DevOps projects. In addition to the Rational* tools, several other project planning and management tools are available, many with an agile focus. Tuleap Open ALM, Orangescrum, Taiga, Odoo and MyCollab are five project and planning tools reviewed on opensource.com (red.ht/1ogcGTc).

Tools That Support Collaboration

Collaboration between the development team, customers and others, such as quality assurance specialists, is a key aspect of DevOps. The collaboration tool must be aligned with the development approach. Rational Team Concert is a good match for DevOps because of its built-in support for a variety of development approaches providing samples and templates to get a team off to a fast start. Other open-source and proprietary collaboration software is available as well, and some of it aligns with both agile and DevOps.

Joseph Gulla is the IT leader of Alazar Press, an imprint of Royal Swan Enterprises. Previously, he was an executive IT specialist at IBM ending his 28-year career with the company in August 2012.


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