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The Foundation of DevOps
By: Andreas Grabner
May. 17, 2017 09:45 AM
DevOps is speeding towards the IT world like a freight train and the hype around it is deafening. There is no reason to be afraid of this change as it is the natural reaction to the agile movement that revolutionized development just a few years ago. By definition, DevOps is the natural alignment of IT performance to business profitability. The relevance of this has yet to be quantified but it has been suggested that the route to the CEO's chair will come from the IT leaders that successfully make the transition to a DevOps model. If this still seems foreign to you, I recommend reading up on DevOps Blog from IT Revolution, the OpsCode Blog, and check out The Phoenix Project.
Despite all the talk around simple monitoring tools, breaking through the walls between Dev and Ops still poses a real challenge. This is because of a misunderstanding around Operations real purpose - extracting real value from its resources. According to Kevin Behr the definition of Operations is the act of harvesting value from IT resources. Anything that prevents this from happening is a detriment to the business. This means that firefighting and war room sessions are a hindrance to the DevOps model. The following screenshots are good examples of a war room scenario.
Unexpected crashes of websites upon new rollouts still lead to "War Room" situations - despite all the good efforts of DevOps and Agile Delivery/Deployment
Successfully riding the DevOps train: Many of our production customers that made it through the firefighting mode applied the principals of DevOps with a special focus on Application Performance. In this article we describe the steps and milestones companies need to go through in order to level-up their Operations and Engineering Teams to provide more value out of the existing resources.
The Foundation of DevOps
The Lack of Performance Focus
Looking at these common problem patterns it is clear that despite all the DevOps efforts lots of performance and scalability-related problems still make it into a release deployment. Why is that? Because our organizations are still very much driven by business requirements that need numerous new features being pushed in ever shorter release cycles. Teams keep growing and are being spread around the world. In order to keep up with the pace, third-party components are included in the code in place of in-house innovation. This "natural" evolution however is also the root cause for firefights and limiting the benefits of DevOps because there is too much focus on pushing functionality through the Deployment Pipeline but not enough focus on Performance.
More developers across more locations including more untested 3rd party code with less time to focus on performance
Plugging Performance into DevOps
There are several key milestones to consider:
Milestone 1: Level-Up Performance to Increase Feedback Between Ops and Development
Milestone 2: Level-Up Performance Thinking of Engineering
The Ops team shares data with engineering to highlight the performance behavior of their applications under real production load. This helps engineers to prevent these top performance problems from entering production and with that eliminating the need for firefights.
The test teams do their share by providing automated performance test frameworks and educating engineering on how to automate testing for these performance problem patterns.
Milestone 3: Level-Up Load and Capacity Testing
Running tests against the production system gives better input for capacity planning and uncovers heavy load application issues
Milestone 4: Level-Up Performance Test Automation
Automatic Integration Tests run in C/I to detect performance regressions on metrics such as # of SQL Calls, Page Load Time, # of JS files or Images ...
What's Next? Build a Performance Center of Excellence
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