DevOps Services Outsourcing is the new IT (DAAS: DevOps As A Service)

DevOps Services Outsourcing is the new IT (DAAS: DevOps As A Service)

Devops Services is disrupting tradition in house IT models.

Every business has all the same moving parts that makes it work, including technology. 

And every business wants to keep the cost of business as low as possible. Even tech giants can’t cover every IT need (including deploying new applications, moving to the Cloud and more) so “outsourcing” was the solution managers relied on. But outsourcing has changed. A lot. It is likely DevOps Services, DevOps Consulting, or DevOps As A Service (DaaS) is part of the conversation now.

DevOps Services is inevitable

Your business could be a small professional practice, a two person startup, a mom-and-pop storefront, a company with a few hundred employees or giant global enterprise but soon DevOps Services support will come to mind for your IT needs.

The buzz and promise of outsourcing even just a few years ago was that it could help provide IT solutions at lower costs.  Every business has a budget and a schedule to meet. Owners and managers will always seek faster and cost-effective IT solutions and services. The answer used to be if you didn’t have the staff, or the job was bigger than your team, was to go outside. Outsourcing has been the answer but what it means has changed in the last few years. Increasingly the phrase DevOps Services pops up.

According to the State of DevOps 2018 Report, it’s a global and growing trend.

Outsourcing as it used to be done wasn’t always cost-effective and had problems. It has evolved into solutions with a focus on frequent and faster fixes and deliveries: DevOps

More IT planning meetings will include discussions about DevOps Outsourcing because IT / operations managers are looking for ways to both reduce the software delivery lifecycle and maintain uninterrupted product and/or service functionality.

First, some background to refresh the memory or to provide a starting point.

The first conference focused on DevOps was in Belgium in 2009 and its adoption began to pick up speed in 2014. A simple chart about adoption shows how quickly it happened.

DevOps’ principles emerged from the solutions developed by companies which exploded in size from a single “box” into data-centers – including tech giants like Google and Facebook which had to develop and deliver products and solutions continuously. This trend continues to grow in popularity despite the fact that “academics and practitioners have not developed a unique definition for the term “DevOps””.  Many may agree with the following definition from Wikipedia:

DevOps is a set of software development practices that combine software development (Dev) and information-technology operations (Ops) to shorten the systems-development life cycle while delivering features, fixes, and updates frequently in close alignment with business objectives

DevOps is a software engineering phrase.

DevOps software engineering describes the merging software development and software operations.: Dev plus Ops = DevOps. Different teams, made of developers and operations professionals, each with specific abilities and strengths who used to work in silos, are merged.

It is also a philosophy describing the “[transformation of] the way operations, developers, and testers collaborate during the development and delivery processes” so that they work together closely. 

Why is DevOps displacing older outsourcing models? The older model involved divided teams with specific functions.  A popular older model was:

to assign individual organizational functions— for example, application development, testing/QA, or service operation—to external vendors.

However this model introduces additional handoffs and potential friction between functional groups. The functional division of responsibilities can also inhibit agility…changes…are difficult to manage across external silos.

The handoffs and silos created in many outsourcing models have drawn criticism… because they are perceived as a barrier to high performance.

tends to lead to batching work—and thus long lead times— because the transaction cost of taking work from development to QA to operations is so high when these are held in outsourced groups… high-value and low-value features get lumped together into each release…

Another factor helping to grow DevOps Services, Solutions or “As A Service” has been the growth of the Cloud. Research firm Forrester calculated that the global public cloud will be $178B in 2018 and Forbes estimates that 83% of enterprise workloads will be cloud-based in 2020.

Information Week, citing the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), reported that operating in the Cloud is defined by “on-demand self-service, broad network access, resource pooling, rapid elasticity, measured service.” These needs are met by DevOps philosophy.

Business investment in, and migration to, Cloud-based operations and infrastructure has been a major growth catalyst. The DevOps practice and philosophy of narrowing communication gaps between developers and IT operations and infrastructure, with fast fixes and automation, is a natural solution for what can be an unstable environment.

The State of DevOps 2018 Report confirms the cultural fit between the Cloud and DevOps solutions:

One of the key innovations of the DevOps movement is the idea of infrastructure as code. In this paradigm, we reproduce and change the state of our environments in an automated fashion from information in version control rather than configuring infrastructure manually.

This way of working is a natural fit for cloud infrastructure

Systems in the cloud are presumed to run on unreliable underlying infrastructure and must be designed to handle failures. This means cloud native applications must be resilient, able to respond dynamically to changes in workload (i.e., elastic), and easy to deploy and manage on-demand.

What characteristics may business clients expect from DevOps Services or Consulting?

  • A cross-functional team from collaboration of different specialists – no silos.
  • Continuous delivery, releases, is key. Fast and short software delivery times.
  • Faster changes also means faster fixes and higher security.
  • Automation – less friction from manual updates & more self-service.
  • Shared metrics and KPIs to maintain accountability and agility

How do DevOps consultants work?

They use “toolchains”, to implement 7 activities, or “initiatives” on behalf of their clients. Customers will need help to achieve these initiatives, whether they know it or not.

  • Planning – code development and review, source code management tools, code merging
  • Creating – continuous integration tools and build status
  • Verifying – continuous testing tools that provide quick and timely feedback on business risks
  • Packaging – artifact repository, application pre-deployment staging
  • Releasing – change management, release approvals, release automation
  • Configuring – infrastructure configuration and management, infrastructure as code tools
  • Monitoring – applications performance monitoring, end-user experience

Here’s a common visual to help you understand the workflow of the activities

Participants in the State of DevOps 2018 report who identified as working in DevOps teams has increased from 16% in 2014 to 27% in 2017 and 2018. Research firm Research and Markets, in its Global DevOps Platform Market 2016-2020 report, estimated about a 20% growth rate for the field.

Every type of business has DevOps professionals according to the State of DevOps 2018 report.

Based on these trends, clients are likely to adopt DevOps Consulting or DaaS, and there are many basic reasons, including:

  • DevOps consultants have expertise in dealing with unknowns and unique issues
  • Consultants will bring a culture necessary to deliver effective DevOps solutions
  • Solutions deployed are tailored for clients long-term needs
  • Clients’ resources are freed from some recruitment and training costs
  • Clients pay as they go for the time and resources actually used
  • Consultants assume the risks of deploying solutions and improving deliveries
  • Consultants have a mutual interest with clients’ success to win future contracts

Instead of outsourcing your IT solutions you’ll think DevOps Services support. The first step is an honest conversation about your business’s IT solutions needs and that begins with an email or phone call.

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