the I.T. Consumer
An Archestra Notebook
The rush to DevOps Glory would not be nearly as interesting if 9 out of 10
companies were not already intent on doing it. There are even entire vendor
organizations that have repositioned in the market to be DevOps vendors.
This is further interesting, however, because not more than 3 out of 10
companies agree on what DevOps is.
To be fair, there is a lot of overlap of their ideas, which should be expected
because everyone is looking for a practical consensus on how to recognize it
when they see it. This effort is neither more nor less easy than similar previous
efforts to deal with such things as “innovation”, “agile”, and “configuration
items”. There will be lingering concerns about what is, at minimum, necessary to
“actually have it” or to “do it right”...
The agreement may resolve itself, mainly by avoiding brute-force insistence on
specific tools, procedures, or metrics – all of which are simply “means”.
While we’re waiting for the calm to set in, the surprising and useful realization
should be that DevOps is neither “about” generic Development nor generic
Instead, it is about objectives to be addressed by both where neither can address
them successfully alone.
The single most important objective has to do with solving the problem of things
not working correctly under high stress of demand, diversity, or change.
In other words, the objective is Supportability, and the problem is how to
The most undesirable condition that DevOps is asked to address is the case
where rigidity displaces robustness and frustrates the ability to adapt proficiently
to changing business conditions.
Rigidity can occur in the mechanism that supplies service, in the functional
tolerances of the service, and in the scope of effectiveness of the service.
DevOps is expected to manage through and away from rigidity. The service
design model is both a guide and a diagnostic for determining the level and
location of alternatives that can offer timely adaptation with low risk.
That then amplifies the difference between two kinds of assurance to users: the
value of relying on services for productivity, versus the value that a reliable
service can offer to users. It becomes clear that the primary user perspective on
support is assurance.
Users have increasingly shown that they prioritize the ability to rely on services
more highly than they do the reliability of a given service.
This is reflected in their quick migration to other services based on capability
instead of on quality. Subsequently it is reflected in the pressure on a provider to
quickly extend quality into new capabilities.
As a result, the business development of a portfolio of services becomes the
true nature of “Dev” in DevOps while continual alignment of service availability
to current needs is the true nature of “Ops”, most visible in a catalog of services.