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DevOps + ITSM = The ultimate operations toolchain

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The goal of my blog post is to demonstrate how IT Service Management and DevOps are perfectly complimentary, despite the modern myth of the two being enemies.

What is DevOps?

Since 2009, solution delivery practices known as DevOps have been gaining momentum within enterprises that typically previously enforced separation between development and IT operations. The culture of each appears to be at odds with one another. Development wants to apply changes rapidly to respond to customer needs. Operations seeks to minimize changes to ensure stability in the environment. Some may even suggest that the DevOps movement has grown out of frustrations with IT operations and service management.

Under the banner of DevOps, there are various services and open-source tools for continuous integration and delivery capability supporting the development side. However, it would be a disservice to DevOps to ignore operations. High-performance DevOps teams are finding success with deeply integrated ITSM tools and practices.

How can development improve by accommodating operations practices?

Operations teams catalog their environment configurations to a precise level of detail. Development teams should store this environment configuration along with other source code artifacts tracked in version control. Software-defined environments are nearing practical usage with Cloud platforms like IBM Bluemix and SoftLayer OpenStack. Development teams also automate their deployment processes into production using tools like Jenkins or IBM UrbanCode Deploy. The sooner a development team can put these capabilities in practice, the sooner the team can provide production-ready application code and show confidence in deployment processes that are tested with every delivery and stable application configuration.

How can operations improve by accommodating development practices?

Aligned with development, the operations team can utilize automation to provision environments. Popular tools for this task include Puppet and Chef, or the team can define containers for Docker. Once the environment is created, its health can be monitored and acted upon proactively. One such open-source monitoring tool is Nagios, which supports hooks to integrate with popular messaging platforms like Slack. This empowers team members to be aware of the environment and notified about significant events requiring attention. Process-wise, the development team must be incorporated into the incident resolution process. They should be the first responders to application issues; they are uniquely suited to quickly resolve those “2AM issues.”

Final thoughts

I hope I have demonstrated how development and operations teams do not need to be at odds with one another. Rather, they should combine their skills and techniques to practice DevOps. After a closer look, they are ideally suited to work together with the shared objective of providing an excellent user experience.

Still curious how it all works? Explore the ITSM smartpaper to put it all together.

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