DevOps has ushered in a new era of agility, with diverse teams working collaboratively, sharing knowledge and responsibilities, and quickly delivering products and services. However, as competition increases amid demand for continuous process improvement, it’s not enough to just “do DevOps” – businesses need to unlock the full potential of their DevOps ecosystem.
For many businesses, this means addressing challenges that can substantially reduce productivity, such as diverse automation tools working in silos and a lack of coordination among deployment processes. By tackling each issue with an automated approach, businesses can overcome these DevOps ecosystem challenges.
Common Continuous Deployment Challenges
First, let’s look at each of these challenges in more detail:
- Automation silos. Even though the DevOps culture is anti-silo in nature, enterprises often use disconnected tools to automate individual processes. This creates automation gaps that slow down DevOps and make compliance a nightmare, as organizations need consistent, real-time operational controls for change management, updates to configuration management databases (CMDB) and other processes.
- Independent pipelines: Many enterprises have independent database and application deployment pipelines. This makes it difficult to track database-related changes and requires continuous coordination across teams, increasing the risk of manual errors. It also prevents enterprises from leveraging the benefits of automation.
- Lack of visibility: With various development and deployment tools and processes, many enterprises have limited or no end-to-end visibility, which hinders their ability to collaborate and innovate. This also makes it difficult for all stakeholders to gain the system awareness required for making effective decisions.
Pulling Together Disparate Pieces
To address these challenges, businesses need to look to automated approaches that integrate build, test and deployment processes into a unified workflow. By pulling these processes together, DevOps teams can track, control and manage changes in the deployment pipeline, minimizing risk, reducing delivery times and accelerating feedback.
With this approach, DevOps teams would also get a comprehensive, real-time view of the software delivery pipeline and processes, which would enhance communications and speed issue identification and resolution. Such a solution should also accommodate organizations that use multiple DevOps tools, by enabling the creation of custom profiles that provide a single system of record to track and visualize the DevOps ecosystem.
How One Business Optimized DevOps
We worked with a large investment management organization to integrate its DevOps tools with the ServiceNow platform to centralize and automate the continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline with self-service capabilities. Prior to the DevOps solution, application teams were working in a siloed fashion, with no visibility into the lifecycle management of the application. This solution – called SMART DevOps – provides not only centralized management for DevOps but also integration with IT service management (ITSM) processes, providing full visibility into application deployment.
The business can now track and manage all the changes in the pipeline to minimize potential risks and maintain an accurate and updated CMDB. With the integration of ITSM processes, such as incident, problem and change management, with the DevOps platform, the organization now has a centralized solution and self-service capabilities, resulting in faster and automated delivery of changes.
Business leaders expect great outcomes from DevOps adoption, but these won’t be achieved with automation silos, disconnected application and database deployment pipelines, and a lack of systems visibility. In fact, a disconnected approach to DevOps can actually result in greater risk than not adopting it at all. In order to meet the time to market and agility goals promised by DevOps, businesses need an automated approach to managing applications and databases throughout the DevOps lifecycle.