The value of developer operations (DevOps) practices and continuous delivery methodology for agile and fast-growing businesses has become fairly well known. DevOps enables the fastest possible delivery of applications and features, and the highest degree of IT labor efficiency. Many companies, however, continue to struggle with how to effectively adapt those practices and methodologies to realize the full value of DevOps.
When VMware itself switched to a modern DevOps workflow more than five years ago, the company says provisioning, which had taken weeks, was reduced to only 16 hours, and its functional QA testing time was cut from a week to eight hours. This kind of efficiency improvement can be functionally equivalent to hiring more developers, but at a fraction of the cost, because the abilities of the developers you already have are being properly utilized.
Properly leveraging employee talent is as important in IT as it is in any other department, but it may be more difficult to do at times, due to the job’s complexity, or the challenges of understanding what everyone is doing. Everyone can understand, however, that provisioning development environments (see below) is not an exciting or fulfilling use of time for IT ops staff. It is a job no one wants to do, which can be done more cost-effectively through a managed host or automation anyway.
A managed host is often ideal for a business looking to achieve the agility benefits of automation without taking on new tasks requiring new technical competencies. The managed service provider automates server environments as needed, giving your business the benefits of automation while further reducing the workload. DevOps methodologies also involve continuous ownership and monitoring of each specific service or project, an open approach to information sharing and collaboration, and above all, an embrace of the principles and practices that create an integrated IT pipeline to production.
Auto-Provision Dev and Test Environments
Automating infrastructure deployment and management is essential to DevOps. One of the easiest ways DevOps teams can streamline application development in VMware-powered private cloud environments is by automating the provisioning for their testing processes. A predictable environment helps to prevent delays in the dev process, and can also benefit the quality and consistency of the development work itself. Automated environments also tend to be more consistent and predictable than those built manually, which is particularly important for testing and QA.
Under legacy development workflows, operations teams that build development and testing environments would provide the environment for each application’s development individually. If the instance provided by the ops team is delayed, or not provisioned correctly, the development team is delayed from starting its work, and even a completely smooth dev process may fail to complete the application on schedule.
Test environments can not only be scaled up or down based on the test workload but also to speed up testing by reallocating resources when they are not needed for other applications. This often happens overnight, when other workloads are reduced on a consistent basis for many businesses.
Testing processes are often considered the low-hanging fruit of automation, but auto-provisioning environments to develop and deploy applications is a major step in the transition to a continuous delivery process. A VMware-powered Private Cloud enables the efficient, automated provisioning of all kinds of environments, setting up the infrastructure, configuration, and dependencies. A complete DevOps cycle also includes automation of planning, building, coding, integration, deployments, measurement and monitoring processes.
Automation Beyond Provisioning
An integrated DevOps approach means automating as many processes as possible. Whether leveraging a managed services provider to automate tasks for you or using VMware tools to do it yourself, a VMware Private Cloud environment is ideally suited to a broad range of infrastructure automation tasks. Modeling different stages in the application release pipeline, accelerating code compiling by integrating popular build servers such as Jenkins or Bamboo with Code Stream, and release management can all be taken care of by the server management service provider, or the DevOps teams if server management is done in-house. With servers for each stage in the delivery pipeline spun up and down as needed, DevOps teams can achieve new levels of speed and efficiency automatically.
In addition to provisioning environments, coding, and promotion through the pipeline, your managed VMware Private Cloud makes it easy to automate all of the monitoring necessary to maintain the performance of your infrastructure and the efficiency of your development pipeline.
A fully managed VMware Private Cloud solution takes care of most infrastructure responsibilities, including monitoring the operating systems of the VMs themselves. That can be quite valuable, as DevOps normally requires monitoring of applications all the way through the development pipeline and in production.
For companies that do not have a managed DevOps environment, VMware provides a wide range of tools, such as the vRealize Suite and Wavefront. Learning and implementing them all is a key responsibility of the DevOps team. For businesses running a managed solution like Liquid Web VMware Private Cloud, however, monitoring is part your service provider’s server management function. In the event that the DevOps team does notice an issue, an easy phone call puts your service provider’s enterprise support staff into action 59 seconds later.
Rather than troubleshooting managed VMs running cPanel with their service provider’s help, businesses with a small team or one-person shop for system administration can focus their energy on development by letting their service provider take the full management role.
VMware is used by businesses of all sizes and verticals to provide the virtualization platform for their DevOps environment.
The company also pioneered virtualization and is the market leader in private cloud infrastructure, so it is a natural choice for automating infrastructure. As referred to above, VMware runs its own continuous delivery pipeline with vRealize cloud management solutions and helped to pioneer cloud DevOps, so the platform is built to support the processes and VMware provides industry-leading documentation.
VMware Private Cloud with Liquid Web
Many organizations can benefit from both a continuous delivery approach and a managed Private Cloud environment. For those organizations, a VMware Private Cloud managed by a team of infrastructure professionals is a cost-effective way to enable the efficiency and agility of continuous development. Liquid Web is an official VMware Professional Solution Provider, and offers businesses a truly managed private cloud, taking care of all hardware, VMware virtualization platform, and VM operating system management with proactive monitoring 24/7/365. With a dedicated vCenter and ultra-fast NetApp SAN storage, Liquid Web’s VMware-powered Private Cloud is the best choice on the market for your DevOps environment.