Cloud and DevOps - better together

Posted by Igor Mameshin on Sep 17, 2017 12:14:47 PM
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A few months ago Jason Bloomberg published a great article in Forbes:
You're Now 'Cloud First.' Are You Ready To Be 'DevOps First'?

It is so true that in order to unlock the real benefit of the cloud, it's necessary to implement DevOps.   If you don't start with DevOps, "productivity can grind to a halt because development teams can’t deploy their code.”

Cloud and DevOps go hand in hand - while you can have one without another, they are much stronger when applied together.  It's a classic case where the whole is greater than the sum of its parts.

I still remember conversations a few years ago, when enterprise IT leaders were saying "cloud is only for startups", "cloud is not compatible with our IT processes", or "cloud is insecure".  Times have changed, and it is now broadly recognized that Cloud-First strategy unlocks innovation, creating limitless possibilities.  Also, we observe how traditional companies that are not leveraging the cloud are already falling behind both in terms of innovation and security.  The latest example is Equifax, which was hit with a devastating cyber attack.  Equifax did not keep most sensitive data in the cloud, and data centers can be even less secure than the cloud.  They got hacked because of easily preventable vulnerability.  If only they had DevOps that provides ability to redeploy software more frequently, this massive data breach could have been avoided.

While Cloud-First is now broadly accepted, there is still a lot of uncertainty about the value of DevOps: "DevOps is not compatible with our IT processes", "DevOps is only for small dev teams and startups", "we can't automatically deploy to production because of security requirements".

Many CIOs and software engineering leaders are looking for better approaches to deal with cost, security, deployment, automation issues in the cloud.  They want to use the cloud, but they have all those existing processes that are not compatible with the cloud.  DevOps-First approach is the idea of not only doing the cloud, but also doing it right.  And the sooner companies can adopt both cloud technology and DevOps, the better positioned they will be to compete in an increasingly fast moving, highly competitive marketplace. The key is to accelerate Cloud and DevOps transformation based on established engineering practices, instead of reinventing DevOps.  This typically involves modernizing existing applications for the cloud, developing new cloud-native applications, and transforming the architecture and infrastructure. The end goal is to create a new technology operating model and culture that enables the company to innovate more quickly, and to deliver new software features much faster and more efficiently.

Infrastructure as Code is required for successful cloud implementation.  Cloud providers created programmable infrastructure.  Instead of manually configuring infrastructure, you can write scripts to do it. Not just scripts, you can actually fully incorporate the configuration in your applications code.   However, writing all required infrastructure automation code is not a simple task, it requires significant investment into DevOps automation and changes to IT processes. Cloud and DevOps.jpg 

Agile Stacks is DevOps automation platform that generates stack automation templates for cloud environments, with built-in compliance, security, and best practices.  We are offering full stack DevOps automation using a new approach which is based on machine generated infrastructure code and automation hub (SuperHub). 

What does "DevOps First" approach mean to our team?
We came up with the following formula to successful DevOps:
DevOps = IaC + CI/CD + SRE
IaC (Infrastructure as Code)
Infrastructure automation to define, review, version and manage applications, pipelines and infrastructure as code.  Automated IT processes such as asset management, change management, configuration management, application deployments, security policies, network management, and more.
CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment)
The key to winning with software is being able to deploy that software continuously to users.  
SRE Operations
Automated change management, performance monitoring, scaling, security configuration, cloud cost monitoring and optimization.
Stack automation templates for cloud environments are implemented with built-in compliance, security, and best practices. 
The above three areas of DevOps automation bring successful engineering practices that allow companies to achieve full potential of the cloud.  Automating repeating tasks such as testing, configuration and deployment allows companies to free up valuable time and resources to focus on other important activities such as building new software features, and reduces the chance of human error in day to day operations.
Interested to learn more about DevOps?  One of the best resources for understanding the concepts of DevOps is the book by Gene Kim, Patrick Debois, John Willis, Jez Humble:

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