IT Infrastructure & Operations in the age of DevOps

DevOps adoption and transformation continues in organizations but still large portion of this lies with development teams. So, where IT Operations is heading in the Age of DevOps? Let's try to understand with few Q&As and excerpts from Modernizing IT Operations in the Age of DevOps: Guidance on Evolving Skill Sets for the Cloud report by IT Revolution

Question: What is changing for Infrastructure and Operations Professionals?

Answer: Physically provisioning environments, compute and server is becoming outdated. This is now through code and API calls. So, these professionals need to learn coding and best practices of development life cycle. Skillset needs to be improved to successfully shift-left. They need to come out of silo and work as product centric team.

Question: What business expects from IT Infrastructure and Operations with DevOps in the background?

Answer: Primarily three things

1. Continuous control of costs: Provisioning is as important as de-provisining

2. Need for speed: Self-service model so that IT Operations doesn't become bottleneck

3. Part of cross-functional team: Work together with business to solve problems rather than doing work for others.

Supporting organizational agility and speed, contributing operational expertise to all dimensions of IT delivery, and managing infrastructure cost-effectively in a world of an infinitely elastic supply of infrastructure.

Question: What is primarily shifting from traditional IT Operations?

Answer: Rather than just focusing on availability, mean time to restore, mean time between failure IT Operations team must focus on the speed at which resource can be delivered to meet the business outcomes along with reliability, resilience, and cost-effectiveness.

Question: How focus of IT Operations has shifted along with technological shifts?

Without sacrificing stability and efficiency become an engine for value rather than just being a cost center

Question: What are the common issues with siloed organization?

Answer: Increased bottlenecks, slow handoffs, miscommunication, tooling mismatches, delivery errors, excess rework, and conflict. High variability and management's primary focus is protecting team's capacity.

Question: How can we get away from disadvantages of siloed organization?

Answer: Organizations need to adopt two pronged approach -- first remove as many hands-off as possible by creating cross-functional, product-aligned teams. Second, create internal service providers (focused on creating on-demand, pull based self-service which other can use).

Question: In Infrastructure Operations what are few examples of self-service based internal service providers?

Answer: environment management, network tasks, database tasks, on-demand health checks, monitoring/metrics setup, incident response capabilities, and more.

The key is that these internal service providers aren’t doing the work for the requestors. Rather, they are building and scaling services so they can stay out of the other teams’ way.

Question: What are the few of the capabilities which IT Infrastructure Operations need to build to deliver in modern environment?

Answer: Configuration Management, Code and Artifacts Management, Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Containers, Cloud and Platforms, Analytics, Serverless (Functions as Service) etc.

Question: How can you transition to Modern Operations environment with DevOps at the backdrop ?

Answer: You can do quite a few things

  1. Change in perspective: Change the view of what we deliver. IT should see themselves as engine for innovation and business value rather than just keeping the lights on. Start becoming more inquisitive and interested in the needs of the business. Also, change the way we measure IT. MTTR, MTBF still exists but speed to delivery is more important.

  2. Develop code-first mentality: Manual or semi-manual Operations efforts based on Shell Scripting and CLI makes Ops a bottleneck. Infrastructure changes need to be tagged, tracked and tested. Efficiency in version control like Github is required. (start learning JSON, YAML and XML. Then move to REST API calls)

  3. Become Product Centric: Do an analysis how your Operations (if perceived as product) is better than other externally available products? Just see if your services are modular, easy-to-consume (like it happens in AWS for e.g.)

  4. Leadership Participation: Leaders must have that emotional connect. It is not just re-education or new roles. Teams should find a purpose. Just consensus from leaders is not important, participation is required. Leaders are responsible to decompose work into tasks and set goals.


Modernizing IT Operations in the Age of DevOps: Guidance on Evolving Skill Sets for the Cloud by IT Revolution

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