Thursday, 15th November 2018

What does the Premier League and the Groundsman have to do with Cloud and DevOps?

As an avid supporter of football, or soccer if you live across the Atlantic Ocean, it was fun watching Chelsea recently triumph over Burnley FC with a 4-0 win, securing 3rd position in the league table. By Brad Parks, Vice President of Business Development at Morpheus Data.

Being the Cloud and DevOps obsessed guy that I am, however, I couldn’t watch the game without also thinking about enterprise IT. I know… I need to get a life. The analogy that came to me was the linkage between an overused community football pitch in the middle of a miserable British winter and the often fragmented, chipped, and torn up landscape of enterprise IT systems.

Every platform choice, control plane entry, automation project, failed deployment, manual handoff, script, API, and cloud option adds up to a massively brittle infrastructure laden with technical debt and cruft…leaving something completely at odds with high-velocity deployment.

Mental toughness and strategy is part of every game
Delivering enterprise agility and DevOps at scale means focusing as much on 'mindsets' as on 'toolsets'. That’s not to say tools are not important, your pipeline has to be flexible enough to allow new technologies to be swapped in easily and continuously. This means architecting for agility in a way that is both standardised and completely agnostic. But equally important is that the team of developers and operations staff who make continuous delivery/continuous integration (CI/CD) possible have embraced the DevOps mindset and cultural change.

Industry commentators predict that 2018 is the year stability arrives in the DevOps area and by 2021 Cloud will be part of every DevOps conversation. One lesson learned by those who’ve come before is to avoid choosing tools and platforms before looking at how to orchestrate the overall pipeline. The failure is that your process is then defined by the nature of the tools rather than the nature of your business's unique needs.

I was at the DevOps Enterprise Summit (#DOES2018) event last year and heard an SVP from a large bank describe how they had successfully moved to daily releases by becoming deployment-centric. All of the other steps in the chain were tied to individual tools but for him, using deploy as the center of the universe and anchoring the east-west toolchain and north-south infrastructure provided the right level of abstraction. Like many others, this leader had taken a strategic approach to the topic of lock-in. Everybody gets locked in at some point, but they recognised that by abstracting at the highest level of the deployment phase he gave himself maximum agility to span an unpredictable mix of platforms, development processes, and infrastructure.

Just like top flight Football, DevOps is a team sport
Once you’ve got the mental commitment, you’ve got to rally the organisation. The Ops team needs to provide the right self-service deployment foundation for developers to push code to. SD Times' Lisa Morgan writes in a January 3, 2018, article that one reason only 29 percent of companies surveyed by Forrester Research have implemented end-to-end deployment automation is that operations haven't yet offered them "a consistent pipeline that developers can just push their code to without worrying about operational requirements." The goal of the fully automated software pipeline is to let the Dev side of DevOps push code and see it in production environments immediately.

The benefit of pipeline automation for the Ops side is that they can focus on optimising the service delivery experience rather than fixing elements that break after the fact. Tomorrow's intelligent, automated, self-organised systems will integrate policy, inference, and orchestration in what’s been referred to as "cognitive infrastructure." The goals are to accelerate development at scale, reduce expenses, optimise performance, and enhance control -- all without requiring an army with specialised skills.

BeyondTrust is a Morpheus customer who is a great example of teaming. Created out of a private equity combination of multiple software companies, the ops team needed an efficient way to enable several autonomous development groups to consistently provision without forcing them to conform to a single toolchain. With Morpheus they were able to standardise deployment and provide a common self-service interface that was 100% tool and infrastructure agnostic.
The Groundsman - creating effortless Cloud and DevOps integration.
Just like the Groundsman “knitting in” the turf of an uneven football pitch, unified multi-cloud orchestration enables both sides of the DevOps equation to become more closely integrated with the workflows of the business units they serve without giving up what made them special as individuals. What had been two separate and distinct workgroups begin to function as one, with singular practices, processes, and goals.

The large enterprise companies that have successfully deployed Morpheus for CI/CD and DevOps are using us as a standard deployment and delivery interface for workflows in order to insulate themselves from the need to constantly care and feed scripts spread across fragmented tools and clouds. Many of these customers have tried a variety of methods to transform over the last couple of years - PaaS, CaaS, IaaS, Config Management, ITSM, etc. Inevitably, those projects failed to fully deliver because they still required handoffs and left the surface of the infrastructure inconsistent.

With this “Groundsman” approach, you too can achieve frictionless operations and provisioning time measured in minutes. To learn more I’d encourage you to set up time for a demo with one of our solution architects and see if your organisation can fight off the opposition and lift the trophy.
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