Improving developer productivity with the cloud

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Let’s take a common scenario: you are using an Agile development model and your developers move between projects. To support this, most developers have hefty development environments to support multiple work flows and test beds. Now let’s take Frank, a Java developer currently working on your storefront. Frank’s skills are needed to help on a messaging infrastructure with another team, so he is going to temporarily shift to the B2B team to help with processing of punchout orders and associated traffic.

First thing Frank has to do is set up his development environment. Now this could be everything from installating the Integrated Development Environment of choice to simply creating a new workspace and adding in a new team project. For our purposes, let’s say Frank is currently using a WebSphere Commerce Toolkit and wants a clean environment. Now Frank starts installing Rational Application Developer, which probably takes somewhere in the range of 2 – 4 hours, depending if he has the disks. Next, if needed, he has to configure his test bed and and map it to the correct security model. If he is lucky this takes only one day. Are you relying on hope? Hopefully everything goes according to plan and there are no errors, otherwise Frank in this case could end up looking like this:

All your developer wanted to do was to work on this other team for a few days to weeks to help with the project. These delays can have a significant impact on dynamic teaming. Best case the delay was only a day, but if the products in the stack required support, then it could take days or even longer to get an environment up and running. Then if we are lucky the developer gets online before the project milestones have been passed.

Surely there must be a better way to enable your developers. There must be a way to get them up and running in under a day. How would being able to get your developer started on the new project in 20 minutes change how your organization works? Imagine your developers being able to move smoothly and quickly between projects, possibley even working on multiple projects at once, and never needing more hardware at the desk.

This is all possible in the cloud with IBM DevOps (development and operations). Imagine your developer requesting a new image for the new project and 20 minutes later the developer is reviewing code. Frank has a development environment delivered, with the IDE, the team sharing and test bed, all configured and ready to go. No more waiting and hoping they can get this done in a day, its done before you finish reading this article.

Now let’s take this thought process to the next step. Imagine that you have a global company with diverse employees. No one is available to help the employees get the build environment set up, which has in the past been troublesome. Usually this task is accomplished with another developer working in tandem to get the environment set up and configured. But with DevOps, it does not matter if there is even another developer awake when your start a new developer on a project. The new developer signs on, gets the image and it’s configured for the developer’s access to the source repository. The developer downloads the code and starts working. No more struggling to support these lone developers. They will now move seamlessly from project to project without hassle.

The cloud can give your organization wonderful flexibility for your development resource. Additionally it will allow you to quickly perform the needed tasks to support your Agile development model, and provide quicker release cycles, delivering what your clients want. Another added benefit is that your developers will be doing development instead of struggling with installing software and configuration. You want them to be in the code, not just struggling to even be able to see the code.

In the end, this approach can reduce overhead and lost productivity, provide better employee satisfaction, and allow for better teaming. Reducing the barriers to your employees is a good thing for everyone and can allow you to deliver your projects ahead of schedule with better quality code. In addition, you should have developers and testers that end up looking like the following developer instead of the first picture.


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