How to move forward without breaking things?
Estimated reading time: 5 minutes
During Puppetize Digital, the annual user and community conference of infrastructure automation company, Puppet, automation was at the heart of every presentation, speech, and conversation.
Many keys technologies and methodologies to enable infrastructure automation, was talked about not least of which is DevOps. In essence, DevOps is a methodology meant to improve work throughout the software development lifecycle.
CEO Yvonne Wassenaar kicked things off with one problem statement lurking in so many organisations’ ‘minds’ – there is so much pressure coming from the top to innovate quickly, deliver more apps, and increase (app) release frequency that a team’s chance (of) introducing risk into the tech stack (increases) because they’re racing against the clock at the direction of evolution.
So, how do you move forward without breaking things, without introducing risk into the system?
That question looms large in today’s world. With a view to scale DevOps practices, Puppet has been a founder of the movement and is active with one of the most involved communities on the planet for over a decade, according to Yvonne.
She gave the example of the New York Stock Exchange, the world’s largest exchange uses Puppet to power its operations with hundreds of thousands of servers managed by Puppet Enterprise, and providing assurance for the auditors that security updates, are fast and consistent.
DBS a multinational banking and financial services corporation headquartered in Singapore pledges to its customers with confidence. Yvonne said, it is one of the most secure banks in Asia, because it uses Puppet’s security configuration solution.
So, how do you move forward without breaking things without introducing risk into the system?
According to Abby Kearns, Puppet CTO, infrastructure automation is the growing backbone for business imperatives, like delivering new digital capabilities to market faster, maintaining compliance and security policies, operating with greater stability and resilience.
Abby said, “And of course, doing it all more efficiently. We make this easier with self-service offerings like Puppet Spoke, continuous compliance with Comply and our latest comply enforcement modules, and with an event-driven workflow automation platform to accelerate you into the future of operations for cloud native infrastructure.”
Trends and analyst findings
Abby shared two key findings by analyst company, Gartner. Gartner reports that introducing automatic compliance, early in the DevOps process can improve an organisation’s time to market by 20-percent, giving it that competitive edge a business needs.
Puppet is here to help you operate your infrastructure, be it on-prem, in the cloud, or all the above, more easily, and with greater agility, she said.
“We’re also here to help address that growing skills gap as cloud native architectures become the standard,” she also said adding that Gartner reports insufficient skills and resources as key challenges to IT infrastructure and operations.
“Today, a number of customers ranging from large telecom to health care providers have adopted the Puppet Spoke integration to enable self-service operations across their organisations, enabling their users to make changes faster, and in a more auditable way,” Abby said.
Gartner reports insufficient skills and resources as key challenges to IT infrastructure and operations.
A top customer use case has been to enable self-service operations, and to address this they have partnered with ServiceNow to support Self-Service Automation at scale.
State of DevOps report
DevOps is a major component to what Puppet is trying to achieve with Infrastructure Automation.
Puppet CTO, Nigel Kersten tried to unpack scenario which was reflected in the the State of DevOps reports, which is the cause behind organisations not able to take full advantage of DevOps initiatives.
He said, “When it comes to a large organisation, the thing that’s actually key for evolving to the higher levels of DevOps is team-to-team interactions.
“Because we’re all part of a much larger system, when we’re inside a technology organisation.”
He wanted to emphasis that it’s not just about developers and operations, but other adjacencies that are important as well, such as audit, security, compliance, change management, and more.
When it comes to a large organisation, the thing that’s actually key for evolving to the higher levels of DevOps is team-to-team interactions.
“If those teams aren’t all interacting with each other in a positive and efficient way, you’re probably not going to do that well as an organisation.
If the metrics of how frequently an organisation deploys apps and changes is used, Nigel shared that results could be categorised into three groups – low, medium, high.
The Low level group would typically deploy in weeks or months, while the medium group could deploy apps in weeks or days.
“But then, at the highest levels of DevOps, it’s essentially on-demand, or every couple of hours.
“And in these things you can see, there can be a pretty drastic impact on your ability as an organisation to anticipate change, plan for change, and actually plan based on how quickly you can move.”
Nigel highlighted again that the key to moving along successfully and delivering software quickly is optimising those team interactions, and a rough gauge of a highly evolved organisation, would be one that tends to answer ‘yes’ to these questions:
- Does my team have a clear understanding of their responsibilities to other teams?
- Does my team have clear goals and plans for their work?
- Do teams adjacent to my team, have a clear understanding of their responsibilities to my team?
- Do teams that share common tooling and methodology with mine, actively share best practices among themselves?
It’s about breaking down silos between different parts of the organisation, because this was one of the biggest problems that gave rise to the DevOps movement in the first place!
Nigel wanted to caution against equating an organisation’s use of Puppet solutions, as being on the DeveOps journey.
“One of the things that’s always been a little bit frustrating has been when people go, You know what, I’m using Puppet now, therefore I’m doing DevOps.’
“DevOps has always been a movement,and about much more than just technology.
“It’s not just about managing infrastructure in a lean way or an agile way. It is also about the cultural changes, it’s about breaking down silos between different parts of the organisation, because this was one of the biggest problems that gave rise to the DevOps movement in the first place!” Nigel concluded.