DevOps

Drive DevOps transformation: Have developers own application monitoring

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DevOps is not a new concept in the software development community. It has been with us for the better part of a decade. As with any new practice, the early adopters tend to vet out best practices that help spread the growth to a wider community. To learn more about the role that DevOps is playing in organizations today, IBM conducted a global study on DevOps adoption, usage patterns, and impact. Key observations from this study show how DevOps impacts all three pillars of software development: people, processes, and tools.

People & Process

One of the first observations that caught my attention from the survey was almost half of the application owners said the need to use APM solutions earlier in the application lifecycle was an influential factor in their adoption of DevOps practices.

This is more than just a process shift to introduce application monitoring earlier in the cycle — it changes the “who” behind implementing these monitoring solutions. On these DevOps teams, developers are the ones that think about monitoring in the application design and coding cycles. This is a break from the non-DevOps approach where a separate operations team would introduce an application monitoring solution after the application is in production. The other implication is fewer surprises when the application is promoted into production because the developers use the monitoring tools to develop their code.

DevOps teams are fully responsible for production — meaning everyone gets called out during a production issue, no matter what time of day the issue occurs. This is new for developers to be involved in this interruption in sleep, wherein pre-DevOps organizations it was the operations team taking call outs and restoring service as best they could from runbooks. Developers now have more skin in the game.

Thus, you see tremendous productivity around improvements to the monitoring tooling following each outage to prevent that problem from happening again. This helps transform the culture and builds monitoring into the DNA of these applications. This was validated by almost half of the respondents who said that once DevOps was integrated into their culture, the approach actually improved the quality of their applications, reduced downtime and increased customer satisfaction.

Tooling

The final observation that caught my eye was the role of application monitoring as the driving force in adopting the DevOps culture. The study cites leveraging APM tooling earlier in the application deployment process as the top factor that influences companies to adopt DevOps with 48{07c2b926d154bd5dc241f595a572d3349d41d98f2484798a4a616f4fafe1ebc0} of the respondents selecting that choice over other factors like negative end user feedback, insufficient collaboration, and the need for faster time-to-market. This reinforces the notion that getting development involved earlier in the application monitoring paves the way for the adoption of a DevOps culture.

For an in-depth look into how APM and DevOps should seamlessly work together, check out the free APM DevOps for Dummies ebook.

Recommendation

I recommend digging further into the study if you are in charge of a development team and working through a DevOps transformation. Take a look where application monitoring is introduced in your development process. Do your developers have skin in the game when there is a production issue? These are the key things to be looking at as you transform to a DevOps culture.

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