Agile Development Drives DevOps Transformation

Michael Vizard
Oct. 18 2013, 09:00AM EDT

The thing about agile development is that for all intents and purposes an application is never done. Successive waves of updates to an application means that development teams have to come to terms with the simple fact that the care and feeding of any given application is a continuous process that takes place over many years.

That may give some developers cause for pause when deciding to build new applications. In some ways developing an application is roughly equivalent to deciding to raise or adopt a child. Of course, over time an application can have many parents. But like any child, the more structure there is the more the application or child tends to thrive.

With that issue in mind Electric Cloud, a provider of an application release management platform, today at its Spark 2013 summit unveiled a Continuous Delivery partner network that includes Opscode, Rally, Parasoft and Wind River.

According to Electric Cloud CEO Steve Brodie, Electric Cloud is exposing APIs to select partners to create provide a platform for managing continuous delivery of applications that spans everything from management of the application development process to the deployment of those applications. The ultimate goal, says Brodie, is to extend the out-of-the-box integration of the Electric Cloud release management platform.

Part of the general DevOps movement, Electric Cloud is also releasing a series of blueprints that organizations can leverage to manage the application release process. Rather than throwing code over the proverbial wall, developers are being asked to work more closely with IT operations teams. This DevOps movement is not only leading to more automation across the IT environment; it’s critical to enabling the cadence of updates that are now being routinely delivered via agile development methodologies.

In fact, Brodie contends that the whole agile development movement can’t exist without first transforming the DevOps process. DevOps is really the only way IT operations can scale the processes needed to support that accelerated cadence of roll outs of new applications and updates to existing ones. For developers used to working on their own that creates a number of cultural challenges; not the least of which means working more closely with IT operations people that many of them have historically ignored.

Of course, working in isolation doesn’t help anybody. Every developer has created an application at one time or another couldn’t run on the installed systems. They then either have to rewrite the application or require the organization to invest in new infrastructure. Either scenario will result in an uncomfortable conversation with executive management.

In short, continuous delivery in particular and DevOps in general is really an exercise in self-preservation. Rather than something to be end run, the IT operations team is actually responsible for the care and feeding of the applications, otherwise known as their babies. As such, developers might want to start treating IT operations people more like members of their extended family than the people they blame every time their application doesn't behave the way they want.

Michael Vizard

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