DevOps professionals might secretly be ninjas. To understand why, we have to look at what DevOps is and what DevOps professionals do. Wikipedia describes DevOps as a "culture, movement or practice that emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both software developers and other information-technology (IT) professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes."
That's an accurate description, but it doesn't really suggest "ninja.” So let's look at it a different way.
Virtual machines, virtual networks, virtual infrastructure, and so forth have created a highly flexible IT environment. By now, most enterprises have many virtual assets they can deploy—sometimes in combination with physical assets—to solve business problems, and operation challenges more quickly and effectively, if they know how to do it.
DevOps knows how to do it. DevOps can professionals look across the enterprise and identify opportunities to solve problems and boost efficiency, and they have the skills to make it happen.
Here are a couple of examples:
- Suppose you have a public-facing web application that runs in your private cloud, such as a shopping cart for your products or services. You can usually expect a consistent workload or easily predictable jumps in activity on your shopping cart, but suppose something really takes off. Maybe a marketing campaign goes viral, or you get a homerun product review that makes everyone want to buy from you. That increase in traffic could slow down your web application and impact the customer experience. That's where DevOps comes in. A DevOps professional could write code that would automatically spin up additional virtual machines in your private cloud to handle the unforeseen spike, keeping sales moving and keeping customers happy.
- Looking inside your enterprise, suppose you have multiple internal applications running in your same cloud, and from time to time all of the applications coincidentally have high demand, resulting in slowdowns for everyone. A DevOps professional could work across the organization to determine which applications to prioritize, and create code that keeps the truly vital application running optimally by dynamically assigning it the resources it needs, rather than letting the various applications blindly compete for resources.
That's ninja-caliber problem-solving. But to do what they do, DevOps professionals generally need to be able to build and test their solutions quickly and efficiently. One way to help them do it is to give them a ready-built platform in which to work, called Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS).
At Dell, we currently provide PaaS using RedHat OpenShift. If you have some DevOps ninjas in your enterprise and you'd like to learn more about helping them get the job done, check out these discussion videos between Dell’s Barton George, who is (among many other things) a DevOps guru and thought leader, and Thomas Cameron, Global Solutions Architect at Red Hat.
PaaS might be just what your ninjas need.