By Scott Seaton, Logicalis US Business Development Specialist, Solution Providers

Software firms know all too well that improving the DevOps process is critical so that application deployments, updates and upgraders for customers occur faster, more efficiently and with fewer errors. Improvements to the process can also lower the number of required resources to develop, test and deploy software, which lowers operational costs and improves the bottom line.

The primary goal is to accelerate the software development lifecycle to release new features faster so customers can take advantage of current trends and so your software firm gains an edge on your competition. But getting Dev and Ops to work seamlessly as a true DevOps team often proves too difficult.

Like Mixing Oil with Water

The two teams tend to mix like oil and water given the make-up of creative software developers and the engineer-minded approach of systems personnel. There thus needs to be a cultural movement to bring these two groups together so they can create an environment of continuous software delivery.

In addition to the cultural change, another key aspect of improving the DevOps process lies in the level of automation that the team applies to the way in which it develops, tests and moves code into production—during the initial deployment stage as well as with upgrades and system patches. Automation helps knock down the hurdles that block software and updates from going into production.

These obstacles often emerge from the production side because Ops needs to worry about configuring and reconfiguring machines, power management, security policies, and new-build policies. All of these factors can slow down software developers, which are under pressure to get software released. But they can’t succeed if they are not able to get the servers they need from Ops.

New Automation Tools Hold the Key

There are all kinds of new automation tools, such as configuration management, that help DevOps take on this challenge and move closer to achieving a continuous software delivery cycle. Configuration management helps eliminate one of the most common DevOps problems—a mismatch of configurations among servers that span the development, test and production environments.

Ops may apply changes to a production server, such as security patches, but the Dev server might then be out-of-date. By using a configuration manager, your team can automate the process to make sure all servers across the development-test-production lifecycle are on the same OS version with all the same patches. This helps maintain consistency so when code is promoted from one environment to the other, it works correctly—rather than having to back out the entire code and troubleshooting all of it.

When utilizing automation tools like a configuration manager, it’s also important to provide the necessary training and project management methodologies that the DevOps team needs. These components help them work together more effectively to create a more efficient and new way of moving code from development to production.

A Partner That Can Assist

This is an area which Logicalis can assist. We specialize in the leading configuration management tools such as those from Puppet Labs, Chef Software and SaltStack. In addition to providing these tools, we can run them as a service to keep all of your servers up-to-date. We also provide documented DevOps workflow processes.

In our next blog, we will take a look at the next step in the evolution of helping software firms achieve continuous software delivery—orchestration. Orchestration involves coordinating multiple cloud environments for provisioning software to customers and enables a push-button approach for moving applications to the appropriate environment.

Logicalis is a global cloud and managed services leader with nearly 4,000 employees operating in 24 countries. Our Solution Providers Practice is dedicated to enable, support and accelerate software companies’ growth across global markets with reduced time and risk. To find out how we can help your firm, click here for more information.