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Release Management Essential as DevOps Takes Hold

01/15/2014 by: The SunView Team

Many IT teams may soon find themselves needing to improve their release management capabilities as they try to keep pace with the rapidly rising DevOps movements.

DevOps is a strategic trend that involves unifying development and operations teams within the IT department. The goal is to align processes between the two units to improve collaboration, integrate key functions and ensure smooth release processes. In many cases, DevOps is challenging because development teams are primarily focused on getting an effective solution into production as quickly as possible, while operations professionals are not as worried about the actual application as they are about keeping the entire configuration stable throughout the release.

While this division between development and operations creates considerable challenges, it is also the reason why DevOps is taking hold - these two teams must be able to overcome their differences to optimize the speed-to-stability ratio of application releases. According to a recent BizTech2.com report, the DevOps movement is set to gain in popularity during 2014, forcing more businesses to adjust.

IT leaders that want to support a smooth transition to DevOps may want to carefully consider the benefits of change and release management solutions to help IT teams organize operations more effectively.

Looking at the Rise of DevOps

Industry expert Anil Batra told the news source that the DevOps movement will likely move from being a relatively fringe operational scheme to a mainstream one during 2014. When DevOps first began gaining steam in IT, the movement was designed as a response to agile development. Agile focuses on continuing development efforts on projects post release, adding new features, updates and patches on a consistent basis. This functionality combines with agile's iterative release method to make frequent releases a common problem. As such, the divide between development and operations was emphasized, making DevOps key.

Batra told BizTech2.com that agile is continuing to cement itself in the enterprise, creating a continuous integration problem that businesses must respond to. At this point, DevOps has been used to resolve this issue, but primarily among dedicated software development and hardware companies. The coming year could be the period in which more enterprises adopt DevOps methodologies and the technological solution becomes a fairly mainstream part of business IT departments.

Responding to DevOps Through Change and Release Management
DevOps is a process-focused solution to complexity and collaboration issues experienced through continuous integration.The rise of continuous integration comes in response to the combined forces of agile development, virtualization, cloud computing and widespread mobile device use. These technological trends create an IT environment in which many instances of an application exist simultaneously across physical, virtual and cloud environments. Furthermore, these applications support users running a variety of devices, meaning each must be slightly tweaked based on its audience. As if all of this is not complicated enough, agile development creates a situation in which rapid and frequent updates, patches and new releases come into play.

All of this leaves IT teams with staggering complexity and so many change and release management tasks to complete that keeping it all organized and properly coordinated is incredibly difficult. This is where things go back to DevOps. On one side the developers want to get solutions out to end users quickly. On the other, operations teams need to slog through the complex configurations to make change without creating any stability risks. Manual processes and homegrown collaboration solutions, like email-based ticketing solutions, are not going to get the job done in this operational context.

Businesses that want to embrace DevOps to keep up with contemporary demands need service desk tools that coordinate operations across the unified development and operations environment. Sophisticated change and release management platforms can make this happen.

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