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5 Real-Life Lessons About DevOps

When evaluating DevOps solutions, you look for certain functions and features knowing they will result in a variety of benefits. These benefits may include fewer mundane and repetitive tasks, less frequent outages, lower labor costs, and increased competitiveness from a faster time to market. However, there are numerous other benefits that you’ll discover and lessons about DevOps you’ll learn after adopting DevOps.

Here are 5 real-life lessons about DevOps that our customers have learned.

1. A central platform will make your life easier.

It’s impossible in the modern business environment to not have a wide variety of technologies. In your IT landscape, you may have several applications, like Oracle E-Business Suite or Salesforce, a BI platform, a ChatOps solution, a credentials store or secrets management tool, databases like Postgress or Oracle, and cloud resource from Amazon, Google, and Oracle. Additionally, you have technologies to run those technologies, like continuous integration, test, and quality automation tools, containers, cloud resources, and source control management.

Moral of the story: you have a lot going on.

With a central platform, you can manage all these moving parts and simplify communications with your team.

After adopting FlexDeploy (our DevOps platform) one Pella Corporation IT manager remarked, “We are seeing the benefit that a common platform provides in multiple ways. Our teams are able to use one tool for our broad technology landscape, and multiple roles (developers, operations, testers, management) are all seeing the same information.”

With FlexDeploy as a comprehensive and flexible DevOps platform, Pella experienced a significant acceleration of application deployments, a major improvement in quality, and a reduction in environment outages.

There’s a debate between a best of breed approach versus an all-in-one platform. One argument is an all-in-one platform may not have the correct features or functions to cover a certain niche or may not integrate with all your technologies.

Pella took advantage of FlexDeploy’s plugins for E-Business Suite, WebLogic, SOA, ADF, APEX, and ORDS. As a result, they fully automated the delivery of changes, eliminating manual work and scripting. Pella’s IT manager remarked, “The breadth and depth of plugins for Oracle, open source, and other commercial tools and technologies is second to none.”

FlexDeploy's Pre-Built Integrations and Plugins
Some of FlexDeploy’s Pre-Built Integrations and Plugins

In addition to a depth of implementation of both commercial and open source tools and technologies, a platform should have a breadth of features across the continuous delivery toolchain. This will foster a high-quality and repeatable process and allow for faster software delivery.

One company in the high-tech industry had been using Jenkins and Kintana for several years, so they were quite familiar with automation. However, these tools were not orchestrated together and had to be triggered separately. The result was additional time to deliver changes, higher costs, and islands of automation.

Additionally, neither tool could meet all the requirements for a streamlined SDLC. The existing Jenkins implementation could handle the continuous integration (CI) aspects of a CI/CD pipeline, but it wasn’t Oracle aware and the team needed to develop and maintain scripts. Kintana, on the other hand, was Oracle EBS aware, but didn’t have the required CI/CD capabilities or support other Oracle and non-Oracle technology.

The organization wanted an automation tool which could be used across their IT landscape, starting with Oracle and going well beyond over time. Thus, FlexDeploy was the right solution, as it is a comprehensive platform with build, deploy, and release all built in. It not only has support for over 100+ open source and commercial tools and technologies, but also integration/API support across the tool chain.

As a result, they automated the lifecycle from build to production, saw a 10% time savings overall per release and a 40% time savings for operations (migrations) per team per release, and were able to reallocate resources.

A common platform with depth and breadth will certainly make your life easier. A single platform allows one person to orchestrate code moves and go-lives, allows teams to view the same information in a central location, and automates processes for your entire IT landscape.

“The breadth and depth of plugins for Oracle, open source, and other commercial tools and technologies is second to none.”

2. The implementation of a solutions doesn’t have to be long and complicated.

With such an extensive platform, the adoption process must be time-consuming, expensive, and complicated, right?

Not at all.

Fully implementing a DevOps practice can take anywhere from 6 to 24 months, according to the SD Times. But it doesn’t have to take that long!

Dan Goerdt, President of Flexagon, states, “With FlexDeploy, companies need only one tool to anchor their automation platform, significantly cutting initial implementation time and cost, and providing an easier-to-manage and more cost-effective solution over time.”

Starkey Hearing Technologies experienced this with their implementation of FlexDeploy. The Senior E-Business Suite Developer reported, “We were able to fully implement and test FlexDeploy with 30 hours of remote configuration assistance and experienced no financial risk whatsoever in the acquisition, something rarely seen with other vendors.”

The technical team at Starkey was happy to have a powerful and intuitive platform. “The team was elated with the results; the developers felt that they were being provided with a strong tool that made their jobs easier without a bunch of wrangling, complex training, or complex software to install on every PC.”

The sooner you get up and running, the sooner you can start saving time and money and begin working on real value-adding projects!

FlexDeploy’s out-of-the-box plugins and blueprints are two ways to get your technologies integrated into the platform and start building and deploying quickly.

“The team was elated with the results…”

3. You need a solution that grows with you.

Business is never stagnant, especially in the IT department. You’re always adding new technologies and improving on your current ones. The fast-paced, competitive business environment means you have new, higher requirements that need to be met.

So, you need a DevOps solution that grows and scales with you.

When selecting a platform, you should look for extensive technology coverage. A good platform should have out-of-the-box solutions for a wide variety of technologies, the ability to integrate with best of breed tools, and functionality to grow with your landscape (i.e. webhooks, rest APIs, plugin SDK, etc.).

Your vendor should also be increasing its coverage of technologies. At Flexagon, we live and breath “continuous”. We deliver major releases of FlexDeploy 2-3 times a year and minor releases monthly. With every release, there are new plugins and integration with more technologies.

One team at a biotechnology company had a growing IT landscape, with no stop in sight. Without sufficient automation, productivity was negatively impacted. The team worked overtime to meet requirements, which often resulted in errors. Current processes were not ideal and growing more was a daunting idea.

With FlexDeploy, they eliminated manual and scripted processes and automated deployments. This repeatability saved the team time and made the growing IT landscape manageable, scalable, and auditable. Overall, they reported average time savings of 70%!

4. Without sufficient automation, agile methodologies are unattainable.

The IT landscape is rapidly shifting from traditional waterfall to agile methodologies and automation. At an increasing rate, companies are ditching time-consuming and error-prone manual processes and adopting continuous integration, continuous delivery, and release automation.

The Shifting IT Landscape
The Shifting IT Landscape

Although you may be automating more than ever before, agile methodologies may still be unattainable.

One computer software and hardware provider experienced this conundrum. The organization was moving to an agile software delivery process. Instead of increasing their speed and quality of deliveries, this shift compounded and magnified their challenges and the IT team found themselves unable to keep up with the increased speed demanded.

They struggled with manual and scripted approaches, lost productivity, and an inability to answer questions from release management and senior level executives about release statuses.

They knew something had to change, so they evaluated DevOps platforms and found FlexDeploy. With FlexDeploy’s CI/CD and release automation and orchestration capabilities, they shortened their release cycle from six months to one, significantly increasing the amount of content they could deliver. Release windows were cut from six hours to ninety minutes. Engineers were freed up to continue development as the pipeline and release management features reduced the need for human intervention and management.

With DevOps, they could dive headfirst into an agile methodology without sinking under an overwhelming number of tasks.

5. DevOps will benefit all your stakeholders.

As you can assume, those working directly with a DevOps platform benefit greatly. However, all roles in the organizations are impacted to some degree by the processes in the IT department.

Not convinced? Think of it the opposite way: if technology is lacking, everyone in the organization struggles in one way or another.

For the computer software and hardware provider previously mentioned, FlexDeploy helped enable a smooth and self-service pipeline. All stakeholders benefited, including Developers, Quality Assurance, Release Managers, Management, and most importantly the business who was depending on more responsive and effective technology solutions.

Ultimately, the whole organization profited. The team manager put it best, “FlexDeploy has shifted our developer’s focus to writing code and delivering enhancements that help our business, and away from the time consuming and error-prone deployment activities. Faster software development, more frequent releases into production, and higher quality.”

Before adopting FlexDeploy, the IT team at Nuance had to submit all change requests  to the DBA team for execution. However, after implementing FlexDeploy, code could be moved across environments without manual intervention. DBAs now had to spend drastically less time involved in those tasks, which meant less action to coordinate and more time for the DBA team to work on other initiatives.

In fact, teams across the organization benefited from increased collaboration and a more efficient delivery process which reduced deployment time by 80%.

Everyone at your organization will benefit from the cornerstones of DevOps, including Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Release Automation, Test Automation, and collaboration. Happier and more productive teams result from the elimination of manual tasks, improved releases, and reduced outages.

Even your customers will benefit!

As you streamline your software development and delivery process for yourself, you’ll have more time to make improvements for your clients and customers. Your time to market will drastically decrease so you can deliver the latest innovations rapidly.

Automation and the elimination of human error will make the end user’s experience more consistent by improving processes and applications. Additionally, the frequent release of small batches of code and increased visibility in your SDLC will result in quicker outage resolutions.

Overall, DevOps makes the experience with your company more enjoyable for customers.

“As we expand the use of FlexDeploy, our team can further increase output which directly increases our value to the business and our customers.”

Time to learn new lessons about DevOps.

There’s no doubt that DevOps has benefits, now it’s time for you to start experiencing them. While you’re evaluating various new solutions or extending and maturing your existing DevOps toolchain, be sure to keep an eye out for the features and functionality you need, evaluate the responsiveness and helpfulness of the vendor, and find a solution that will help you now, exactly where you are.

“I wish I would have known that FlexDeploy by Flexagon existed earlier!”

Rob Elliott at Starkey Hearing Technologies

What other lessons about DevOps will you learn in your journey to agile?

FlexDeploy for DevOps Datasheet

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