The Cloud and DevOps

Updated on July 26, 2016 by Mike Baukes

I recently came across this article about DevOps. How are Cloud and DevOps related?I’ve seen a lot of “DevOps explained” articles and blog posts, but this one stood out to me, both because it was well-written and because it made me think more about why DevOps is important to cloud computing.

“One of the hopes of cloud computing is that the burdens associated with hardware acquisition and setup become a thing of the past. As this becomes a more of a reality for average organisations, the bottleneck shifts from the provisioning stage to the deployment stage"

While effective provisioning was an IT issue before, particularly with virtualization and the introduction of server sprawl, the trend towards cloud computing creates new problems with the proliferation of services (PaaS, IaaS, etc) available and with the ability to move workloads from private infrastructure to the cloud. Now the focus is shifting, from virtualization and provisioning to increasing the quality and efficiency of these services now running externally. Software Defined Networks represent a new challenge, as the management of these workloads becomes the problem. This concept is clearly linked to cloud computing, because software defined networks can exist and run in the cloud.

Considering the efficiencies and control that automation represents, it seems like a pretty natural trajectory that both cloud and software defined networking can be automated by a shared toolset. For example, provisioning a network, participant servers, and underlying storage with granular levels of control is exactly how internally managed data centers were built for years. With loosely coupled services now available to provide all of these functions, and the awareness that the reason for the DevOps movement is entirely based on the need for greater quality and efficiency, it is evident that transparency, control and collaboration between multisource IT teams is the paramount challenge that needs to be resolved.

At a high level, what the article really discusses is the changing focus on managing non core business assets and sourcing them effectively. A business should be able to focus on their customers and their core services, rather than be impeded by “behind-the-scenes” issues, such as their IT infrastructure. For this reason, transparency in managing a company’s infrastructure is a necessity, so that it can be done as easily and effectively as possible.

This need is being addressed by an increasing number of companies with implementation of a “DevOps culture” (with varying levels of success). When done right and collaboration truly happens, companies are able to gain control over their infrastructure through added simplicity and transparency within it. This leads to the IT department spending less time on annoying issues, like “remembering magic config variables” (a problem that UpGuard can fix :)), and more time doing what actually needs to be accomplished.

Read Next: You're Doing DevOps Wrong - Automation in the Enterprise