The Challenges and Rewards of DevOps and Agile Integration

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Skytap is a leading provider of self-service cloud automation solutions for dynamic workloads like development and testing, software demos, and virtual training.

Organizations can accelerate the pace of software development, deployment, and innovation by combining DevOps with a hybrid cloud architecture and embracing agile development methodologies. DevOps brings order to an otherwise chaotic and complex world of application and service development, testing, deployment, scaling, and monitoring.

By breaking down barriers between previously siloed, independent teams, DevOps enables a unified approach to enterprise software development, testing, and delivery that reflects the needs of the entire application lifecycle. It strives for more collaborative, productive relationships between development and operations teams, with faster development cycles and reduced production risks. DevOps carries many advantages over traditional development processes, including fewer bugs, faster fixes, and increased visibility.

However, it also presents new challenges. A significant reorganization of personnel is required, and DevOps demands a greater degree of interdepartmental coordination. The agile development model enables the enterprise to produce higher-quality software that is more in tune with user needs and offers swifter release cycles. However, enterprise IT environments are rarely optimized to leverage the software acceleration and innovation advantages of agile release cycles. Not only are traditional development environments slow to provision, but they are difficult to change once created.

Implementing agile development requires a disciplined approach to managing the high amounts of automation involved. Virtualization technology can be used to run all aspects of the enterprise IT environment, allowing organizations to provide the elasticity to scale resources to optimize both agile development and DevOps initiatives.

Implementing DevOps to increase acceleration and innovation requires adopting agile development methodologies, and agile development requires quicker and more frequent release cycles. The ability to tear down and rebuild a test environment in minutes—and then to do it over and over again—isn’t just a nice-to-have capability for agile; it’s a necessity. Automating this process so that it is visible to change control but doesn’t require intervention or special approval to implement reduces the time needed for development.

DevOps and agile development are a natural combination, but there’s one more element needed to allow the enterprise to accelerate the pace of software development, deployment, and innovation. Organizations need to delve further into the role of automation in DevOps to help the enterprise streamline the provisioning of resources to enable agile development.

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Sumit Mehrotra

Sumit Mehrotra is the director of product management at Skytap, where he is responsible for product strategy and roadmaps. Prior to Skytap, Sumit worked at Microsoft on products including Windows Azure and Windows. He holds an MBA from University of Chicago Booth School of Business and a Masters in computer science from Boston University.