Turning to virtualization can lead to a management problem. Hundreds of servers have to be managed in a way that makes it easy for everyone to keep doing their work. Behind the scenes there can be a host of complexities. DevOps is process that helps developers and IT operations work together. But when it comes to DevOps, organizations must also consider the virtualized network and how to configure it for the demands that come as the cloud becomes further integrated into data center operations.
Fueling the complexity is the increasing number of applications that developers are creating. IT operations are not accustomed to the agile development processes that have gone mainstream. These developer teams are continually creating and updating apps and often IT can't keep up. IT has traditionally followed waterfall methodologies, which can mean launching apps to the network in cycles that result in a week-long - or longer - wait for the developer. That just doesn't work anymore for the developer who makes daily updates.
And then there is the cloud. Web applications are proliferating but as Michael Vizard points out, often these applications are tied to a production server:
But even though an application is developed in the cloud, it doesn't mean the production server that the application is ultimately destined to run on is in the cloud. That means that application deployment issues will need to be managed across an extended network of servers.
Optimizing application performance in a virtualized environment demands a skill level that goes beyond applying custom scripts to patch a physical server. As virtual machines proliferate, there is a demand for better methods that the DevOps movement embraces.
But this is going to get even more complex over time.
It's pretty clear at this point that not only will IT organizations need a more disciplined approach to DevOps in 2011, they are also going to need to rethink most of the associated processes. That should ultimately lead to improvements in the way the entire DevOps process is managed, especially when it comes to application provisioning, release management, change management and application monitoring.
The DevOps movement is growing in importance. That importance will grow as applications continue to proliferate and today's virtualized infrastructure are tied more closely with the cloud.