Lessons Learned From the DevOps Front Lines
CSC is using DevOps to implement innovative solutions for clients in an agile hybrid cloud environment, improving integration and collaboration among development, operations and business teams. In a recent CSC Town Hall, experts discussed how DevOps accelerates the application development, testing and release process.
by Dale Coyner
Colin Eby, a solution architect at CSC, says DevOps erases boundaries between application development and the business. “The core principle is the shared ownership of product objectives and outcomes. Eliminating hand-offs between teams reduces the need for queues and schedulers, and improves product quality and outcomes,” Eby says.
For example, CSC’s development team reduced its cycle time — from starting a new software feature through deployment — from 50 days to 6 days. Instead of deploying one release a year, the team could therefore deploy 42 times. “We expect even more improvements,” adds Paula Thrasher, an application delivery lead for CSC.
Agile development delivers small units of value more frequently with CSC Agility Platform™, a hybrid cloud management solution that enables software managers to continuously deliver and test code, and move it into production. This allows the other teams involved to monitor an application to ensure it meets business and customer requirements. Process automation helped CSC reduce time spent on rework from 12 hours to 15 minutes per cycle.
Ben Anderson, installation services lead at CSC, says DevOps is guiding the implementation of Lorenzo, CSC’s next-gen electronic patient record system, for a UK-based client.
“DevOps eliminates what was once a two-stage process between development and packaging,” Anderson says. “It offers a fully automated, continuous integration tool chain with built-in governance. That eliminates most manual hand-offs like code check-in, compilation and authority to promote. DevOps also allows us to shift our focus from the tactical to the strategic. This lets us focus on the application of best practices in our development.”
Damon Edwards, co-founder of DTO Solutions, points out a number of reasons why DevOps is gaining popularity. “Companies recognize now that IT is the heart of the business, it’s the factory floor. And they understand how the performance of that affects the bottom line,” Edwards says. “Likewise, IT now sees and understands that same value-chain approach. Historically, it has optimized for specific areas. But now IT realizes it needs to step back and optimize the whole end-to-end life cycle.” Darryl Cauldwell, a senior platform engineer at CSC, says tools like CSC’s BizCloudTM HC (hyper-converged) and VMware’s Integrated Open Stack (VIO) environment are key elements to making DevOps possible. “Providing software-defined networks, storage and applications over a cloud infrastructure helps developers get going quickly,” Cauldwell says. “These technologies allow developers and architects to bring together pieces of automation to define application blueprints. This offloads a great deal of complexity and allows the developer to focus on the application itself.”
Better still, DevOps principles apply to any platform or technical environment, notes CSC’s Thrasher. “Our project currently has 28 agile teams, including five mainframe teams, who are also looking at DevOps processes,” she says. “It’s not just for the shiny new stuff or your mobile app.”
DALE COYNER is a writer with CSC’s digital marketing team.