More and more product companies are now installing business agility by moving to Cloud and bidding goodbye to the traditional legacy systems. In this constant chase to remain Agile and launch products faster to market, companies are also leveraging DevOps. DevOps as a service not only helps to automate redundant tasks and the entire delivery pipeline but also orchestrate the overall infrastructure in a better way.
While there are multiple benefits of adopting DevOps, it is still very difficult to convince all the stakeholders and have a buy-in for automation in legacy companies. Some companies are still not able to understand the value that DevOps can bring to the table. According to the State of DevOps 2017 survey, approximately 29% respondents saw no value in adopting DevOps while 31% stated that they do not have the expertise.
Outlined below are some of the common barriers to adopting DevOps and ways to overcome them.
- Lack of Experimentation
Experimentation is the key to success for any forward thinking business. Adopting new digital technologies not only helps to remain Agile but also stay ahead of the competition. Most legacy companies have a fear of failure, and they feel adopting DevOps might impact stability and lead to downtime and latency. Moreover, they are also afraid as there are costs associated with automation and failing at it could impact bottom-line drastically. Some companies also fear to adopt DevOps as they think automation is time-consuming.
In the long term, automating delivery pipeline is cost-effective as it eliminates redundant tasks and facilitates continuous delivery. Lack of experimentation remains a barrier till the time there is fear of failure. It is only by setting up the automation and reaping its benefits companies can overcome this failure. Moreover, companies can invest time in identifying their core infrastructure problems so that they are addressed with automation and DevOps tools.
- Lack of Buy-in
Apart from lacking experimental mindset, legacy companies also need to have a strong buy-in from all the stakeholders to adopt a new technology or culture. At times, there is no buy-in from management while at times development and operations team do not want to move out of their own comfort zones and understand problems and support each other. Legacy companies also have a resistance to change because their legacy systems and way of working are complex and changing them to set up automation is difficult. Development, testing, and operations team must be open to learning new methods and skills to upgrade themselves. Management should not fear to fail and facilitate cross-functional working environment. Moreover, lack of buy-in can also be tackled by looking at the success stories of other companies in the similar space who have successfully adopted DevOps.
- Monitoring is Challenging
Infrastructure Monitoring is the key to Agile IT. Many companies do not have the necessary tooling skill sets and expertise to monitor the health of the delivery pipeline and infrastructure. Application, database, and server need constant monitoring, and most companies feel that DevOps will only add to the complexity. This is however not the case. Monitoring challenges do not grow with DevOps but rather reduce. There are various DevOps tools to monitor resources, set up alerts and provision infrastructure automation and leveraging them is a sure fire way to adopt DevOps swiftly. Some Agile teams also split software modules so that each can be independently developed, tested, deployed, and released.
- Complexity of Architecture and Hybrid Design
Companies prefer hybrid cloud because of benefits such as improved security, enhanced agility, and capabilities to mitigate risk with workload testing. Moreover, some of the legacy companies also have a complex app architecture because of multiple enterprise-level functionalities included in it.
Companies with a hybrid environment and complex architecture most often feel that adopting DevOps would be a painful exercise and setting up automation without manual intervention might not work. This is mainly because applications are sometimes developed, tested or managed in isolated environments due to the hybrid design. It makes the deployment and release of each separate component sluggish and automation, a tough nut to crack. However, the complexity can be tackled by migrating workloads and leveraging microservices. DevOps would prove to be beneficial when blended with microservices and containerization.
- Cultural Differences
Outsourced software product engineering and distributed development are very common with most product companies. At times, these teams work in silos, and the development teams have limited knowledge about operations team. Product owners, development team, testing team, and operations team work in different time zones making coordination extremely difficult. Development teams do not wish to understand ops challenges and are limited to working only on dev tasks. The culture of the two traditional teams and mindset can limit automation.
Dev and Ops team need to come together to make DevOps successful. If teams are working in distributed environment, they need to overlap time zones to facilitate continuous integration and deployment. They can connect to one another via video and audio conferencing systems. A strong culture can not only help in realizing the real business value but also encourage strong coordination.
Moreover, there could be a remote DevOps leader who could train both the teams on tools and processes. Disparate application functionalities should work seamlessly along with optimized resource allocation.
- Change Management is just thought of as a New Team
Change Management is not about forming a new team “DevOps” by combining pre-existing teams. DevOps is a complete transformation in the way of working, culture, monitoring, optimizing, and automating tasks. With tech teams need to release shipping multiple times a day, automation is crucial. Combining development and operations team will not automate the pipeline or make the system resilient. One of the major goals of DevOps is to automate redundant tasks and make the system fault tolerant. Apart from automation, DevOps also focuses on improving time to market with early and continuous bug detection and fixing.
Wrapping it up, there might be various technical challenges that come along the way while implementing automation, but there are hardly any barriers that should stop companies from implementing automation. It is a big myth that most companies feel DevOps is complex. In fact, it helps to simplify complexities and go to market faster. There are various DevOps automation tools such as Docker, Chef, Puppet, Jenkins, and others that companies can use for a swift DevOps transformation. If companies plan out a strategic roadmap to DevOps, they would be able to overcome hurdles and barriers to DevOps.