To maximise the benefits of cloud computing while optimising costs, a DevOps approach is the best way forward. In this blog post we explain why.
Cloud + DevOps accelerates software delivery
According to a report from IT analyst firm Freeform Dynamics, using cloud or DevOps in isolation accelerates software delivery by just over 50 percent. However, using them together achieves an acceleration of 81 percent.
As the report’s authors point out, cloud changes the game for software delivery and operations, but DevOps is needed to realise the full benefits:
“…done right, cloud can remove a lot of the barriers and friction…But you also need rapid and iterative software development and delivery processes, most notably DevOps supported by a commitment to cloud-based tools and services, in order to take full advantage of the benefits of cloud.”
When applications are migrated to the cloud it presents an ideal opportunity to modernise the hosting platform to take advantage of modern cloud services. For instance, DevOps approaches can be used to reduce the complexity and toil associated with maintenance by automating routine tasks. What’s more, on-demand scalability can streamline software delivery and deployment whilst significantly reducing the expensive over-provisioning common in on-premise environments. Together, these improvements release more time and energy for innovation and value-adding work that enhances customer satisfaction.
In short, developers spend more time developing and operations staff can work strategically, rather than contending with extensive unplanned work aka ‘firefighting’. Many organisations struggle to achieve their strategic objectives because teams are too busy fighting fires. But a DevOps approach to cloud migration enables you to extinguish many of these fires, once and for all.
Cloud + DevOps improves operability
Introducing DevOps principles alongside cloud adoption also offers a more seamless and focused route to operational maturity. This is especially important for businesses that have recently made the transition from start-up to scale-up.
Adopting proven best practice can fast-track progress here. The Well-Architected Frameworks published by AWS and Azure offer an effective starting point. The five pillars of Well-Architected – Operational Excellence, Security, Reliability, Cost-Optimisation and Performance Efficiency – offer a wealth of expert guidance on how to build and operate your cloud effectively. Conducting a Well-Architected Review can help shape decisions and priorities related to DevOps-led processes. In this way, you can rearchitect systems in a targeted and systematic way, ‘baking in’ the operability that will support and accommodate future growth.
Cloud + DevOps lowers total cost of ownership
As cloud adoption continues to rise, cloud cost optimisation is becoming a top priority for CTOs. DevOps can help with this too.
As mentioned earlier, traditional on-premise server environments are usually over-provisioned to provide adequate capacity for peak demand. Depending on your sector, traffic might spike annually (e.g. on Black Friday) or more frequently (e.g. weekend grocery shopping). It might also peak unexpectedly at other times due to unpredictable factors outside your control.
The point is that you pay for this peak capacity all day, every day. Even if you turn off servers during non-peak time to save power, you’re still paying for the rack space, network provisioning and software licences.
DevOps can turn this around by taking full advantage of the rapid elasticity offered by cloud computing. Automating key parts of provisioning, application deployment and orchestration means you only use (and pay for) the capacity you need, when you need it. This reduces wasted spend and keeps total cost of ownership down.
How do you combine cloud and DevOps?
When you’re building a cloud-native application from the ground up, DevOps principles can be embedded from the outset.
However, existing applications can also be evolved to benefit from DevOps ways of working.
This can either happen during migration to the cloud, or following a lift and shift. Essentially, it involves re-platforming, revising or refactoring the application. It’s about improving and modernising the infrastructure without going to the extent of rearchitecting or significant recoding. For many organisations, this is the quickest and most straightforward way to make targeted performance improvements in a new cloud environment.
We recently published a whitepaper, Move to the cloud and modernise workloads. It looks at the various DevOps approaches and technologies that can evolve applications to make the most of cloud environments. Click on the box below to read it in full.
In our experience, businesses that introduce DevOps alongside cloud adoption don’t just save money and accelerate innovation. They also have happier, more motivated staff. People become more fulfilled and energised by their work. This in turn brings a willingness to change and grow, driving continual improvement and commercial advantage.