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The Art of DevOps | Part 2 By @Brett_Solarch | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

Executing a solid DevOps operation within the Islands of Development

Welcome to Part Two of my four-part series on The Art of DevOps. I had set the stage in Part One so in this article I will focus on the primary objectives in executing a solid DevOps operation specifically within the Islands of Development. The intel herein revolves around clear, concise communications and sharpening defenses in the continuous delivery pipeline by engaging a higher level of intelligence: advanced performance management.

Let's hunker down and scrutinize the critical drills used to research, build and assemble assets for better quality, precision and readiness before deploying to the staging grounds. Many of the units of work to be assembled begin like many other operations. The troops are given a set of orders carefully prioritized by what I'll call an ‘elite' team. Each deployment should maximize its value to the battlefield. The elite team in DevOps must optimize their communications between commanders, officers in development and those in the operational battlegrounds. The idea is to develop a world class feedback and delivery loop. (I will cover more communication tactics in part four.) For this stage of the mission to be fully successful, it's imperative to use consistent tools, aligned by their functional purpose, across the end-to-end delivery process.

To begin, issue each development troop member clear and concise orders. It's paramount to maintain and prioritize all of these orders in a system of record that provides full traceability back to the original constructor and requester. This enables officers to know their troops and quantify areas of weakness during the development stage. It also enables officers to understand where to target accountability, training and/or rework. It is also important to document, when known, all critical KPIs and SLA goals as part of the appropriate orders.

Worthy tracking systems will provide line of sight to weaker troops and assets if casualties are sustained in battle. Although I'm not advocating any one system of tracking, Jira Agile, Testtrack or Caliber are a few examples. Once release management and tracking have been established, each developer will have greater incentives to maintain the quality of their asset. Orders can then be traced with confidence throughout a delivery sprint.

Next, let's look at ways to begin mitigating risk to deployments. Obviously, anything we can do to avoid deploying assets plagued with issues will ultimately save time, money and fatalities on the battlefield. The earlier we can find the issues in the delivery process, the better. Enhancing the developers' IDEs such as Eclipse, Visual Studio or IntelliJ with advanced performance management is one way to significantly increase the developers' analysis capabilities. Performance technologies, like Dynatrace, provide incredible insight into the inner workings of developers' assets, for example:

  • Visual representations of runtime transaction flows
  • Sequence diagrams
  • Degradations in KPIs including, but not limited to:
    • Response times
    • Method use
    • Execution times
    • Database query timings
    • Exceptions
    • Error counts
    • Loggings
    • Number of remote calls
  • Full comparison analysis between either their prior local builds or operational builds
  • Comparison analysis between specific transactions currently being repaired vs a corresponding fatal transaction collected during an operational incident.

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More Stories By Brett Hofer

Brett Hofer is as passionate about DevOps as he is about music and art. Specializing in delivering complex mission critical software under methodologies such as Agile, Lean and Waterfall (to name a few), his success at managing and delivering projects with complex technical and political challenges is almost legendary. More than twenty years of broad software/IT experience—from product designer and solution architect to senior management—has given him a unique 360° perspective on IT that has earned the respect of customers and peers alike. Tweet him at @brett_solarch

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