At a recent speaking engagement, Robert Stroud of CA Technologies, approached the concept of DevOps to a bunch of ITIL people with a less than positive response. To quote Mr. Stroud, they “looked at me as though I had 2 heads!” The visual is lovely but the reality is that DevOps is growing and ITSM professionals need to accept that.
DevOps is an IT service delivery approach that found its foundation in the agile philosophy with an emphasis on business outcomes. The objective is to bring development and operations together to deliver enhanced business outcomes with continual code and configurations promoted to production.
I recently asked several people if DevOps is a standard or framework methodology only to get the reply that there is a minimal source of documentation and no manuals available for purchase. IT is more a culture where the assumption is that both applications and infrastructure are “code.”
An example I experienced recently while talking to a fellow passenger next to me in row 26 on a flight from New York to San Francisco – he was puling backlog from this allocated backlog, coding the change, promoting his code to the test environment, getting the results back and then promoting to production. During a 6 hour flight he completed and promoted 6 changes to production including one that failed which he backed out. No Change Advisory Boards, no change entered into the system, no incident reports and 6 changes to production and no downtime.
Typically, DevOps brings development and operations resources together, typically physically who usually do not work well together, not simply handing off to each other. Rather than being a methodology, DevOps leverages other methodologies such as Kanban and SCRUM, which are typically built on agile techniques. In breaking down these organization silos and reducing change into smaller bite size pieces removes the risk associated with complex changes. A fundamental component of DevOps is building the test plan up front to ensure that you test and of course backing up the production environment to ensure that you can easily recover should you have an error.
Now DevOps is not for all environments and cloud service providers are early adopters of this methodology. Starting with a clean sheet of paper they can develop efficient approaches to continue integration and deployment between development and operations.
So does ITIL completely go away? No, but the manner that you use ITSM processes does change. For instance, the use of automation and automated controls is critical. An example could be as you promote some code from Dev to Test, you could update the change (which was automatically created when the backlog item accepted) and upon the successful conclusion of the testing the relevant changes to the system including the CMDB, configuration, inputs, outputs, reports and impacted processes so ITIL is not dead, simply refined and automated.
Now DevOps is not for everyone and most organizations cannot start over, but, DevOps works well in the cloud or Web 2.0 environments so can I suggest that you look at these initiatives or your Mobility activities as potential candidates.
What do you think?
Click here to read Mr. Stroud’s full article ‘DevOps, fad, reality or simply the death of ITIL’