DevOps is a huge movement in IT at the moment. It applies lean practices across an IT organization. While Agile has promoted lean practices in the development of software for years, DevOps is a more recent movement. The movement recognized the interdependence of the delivery of software with the infrastructure that the software relies on.
Enabling Agility with DevOps
Lean practices recognize that software is only providing business value once it is released. Any time that feature is awaiting a deployment is wasted money. If we can release features as soon as they are complete, we can achieve the maximum business value from each feature that we implement.
In an Agile environment our measure of success is the release of working software and DevOps is a cornerstone to that achievement. An Agile team can achieve amazing velocity while developing the software itself, but without infrastructure and deployment, releasing is impossible. By automating QA tasks, deployment tasks, and configuration of infrastructure, we increase the speed the delivery of software.
While there are a number of organizations that have shown amazing success with DevOps (Flickr, Etsy, Amazon, Facebook, DropBox just to name a few), this approach doesn’t only apply to startups. Large organizations must begin to take on these tactics in order to stay competitive. I’ve seen vast improvements in productivity for organizations that take even the smallest steps toward a DevOps approach.
Getting started with DevOps
A great book that provides a good primer to DevOps through lean practices is Lean Startup. I also highly recommend the DevOps Zone at DZone. There are great articles there to keep up to date with the world of DevOps.
If you are just ready to get started and are looking for tools to fully automate your infrastructure, take a look at Puppet and Chef. These are the industry leading tools for infrastructure automation and both provide a great alternative.
If you haven’t started looking at DevOps in your organization, I highly recommend you do. Not only will it keep you competitive, but it may be the key factor to differentiating your organization from the rest of the market.