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DevOpsGroup Blog DevOps Express – The Suite Smell of Success?

DevOps Express – The Suite Smell of Success?

Fascinating news in the DevOps World last week with the announcement of the DevOps Express initiative.

“DevOps Express is the first-of-its-kind alliance of DevOps industry leaders and includes founding members CloudBees and Sonatype, joined by Atlassian, BlazeMeter, CA Technologies, Chef, DevOps Institute, GitHub, Infostretch, JFrog, Puppet, Sauce Labs, SOASTA and SonarSource.”

Anyone that’s heard me speak at conferences knows I am not a huge fan of “DevOps-in-a-Box” Enterprise Suites, mostly because they lock you into one vendors vision of what DevOps means and what your organisation needs. Worse than that, they lock you into one homogeneous skill set for your team – everyone must have skills with VendorX’s uber-suite and you lose out on the creativity and benefits from having different viewpoints about different tools and where they might work best (heterogeneity).

That said, I am really quite excited about DevOps Express because it *IS* a set of best-of-breed, heterogeneous tools (many of which DevOpsGuys are already partnered with e.g. Atlassian, Chef, Puppet etc).

In their words…

“DevOps Express is a solution-oriented approach designed to make it easier and more flexible for enterprises to adopt DevOps, using popular technologies spanning multiple solution components. DevOps Express provides a framework for industry partners to deliver reference architectures that are better integrated and better supported. Creating reliable and actionable reference architectures for organizations will accelerate DevOps adoption and minimize risk for organizations.”

The vendors saw that the market was already using their tools together anyway as part of their digital supply chains so the question then became “how can we drive adoption by making this easier for our joint customers by providing reference architectures, better integration etc?” – and this is the question that the DevOps Express Initiative seeks to answer.

This sort of bottom-up, “spot a problem and try to solve it” is a great example of DevOps Culture in action – the “First Way of DevOps” is “systems thinking” so the vendors have taken a step back and said “hey, we need to stop optimising our one component and start focusing on the system as a whole” which is exactly what they should be doing in order to improve the DevOps toolchain.

Where should they go next?

Based on our experiences with large Enterprises their top 3 requirements are:

  1. Integrated Authentication (SSO) and roles-based access control (RBAC) – enterprises that have huge IT teams (>1000 staff) want the granularity to enable only certain people, with certain skills or levels of authorisation, to perform certain tasks. If DevOps Express can create a shared model for this across all the vendor tools that would be amazing. Perhaps Atlassian Crowd might be a place to start?
  2. Compliance and audit – large Enterprises have large regulatory burdens (e.g. SOX, HIPPA etc). Regardless of our views of the underlying McGregor Type X Command & Control mindset that underpins a lot of this thinking it’s the law and they have to comply. So mechanisms like standardised log formats, centralised logging, ELK-style log querying and analysis etc are all very helpful.
  3. “one throat to choke” – Enterprise customers want Enterprise-grade support, 24x7x365 with a <1hr MTTR, and they definitely DON’T want to get involved in a multi-vendor finger pointing exercise with each vendor blaming the other for the problem. DevOps Express recognise this explicitly in their Charter but it remains to be seen how well this works in practice.

We’d also love to see some of our other partners get involved e.g. Ansible, Hashicorp, OctopusDeploy, and of course experienced DevOps consultancies to help their joint customers on their DevOps journey (hint, hint, cough, cough…)?


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