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Speed Up Time to Market with a Strong DevOps Culture

This is the first entry of a series on DevOps on the AWS cloud with Cloud Volumes. Each blog is designed to provide additional perspective on best practices and overcoming challenges.

DevOps is a framework of principles that encourage collaboration between application development teams and IT operations teams. The idea is that highly collaborative teams reduce development time, increase software product quality, and improve the process of ongoing changes and upgrades.

These benefits are real, but just calling a combined team meeting and slapping on the “DevOps” term is not going to cut it. There are two critical issues that can make or break a strong DevOps culture: collaborating teams and the right technologies to support them.

Collaboration: Building a Strong DevOps Culture

Development and operations groups might work on the same projects, but they don’t necessarily cooperate. They might even compete for headcount and budget.

It’s critical to establish not only clear communication, but common project goals and shared responsibilities. The result is continuous improvement across the entire shared project: planning, development, deployment, and enhancements throughout the project’s lifecycle.

  • Adopt common objectives. Concentrating on shared objectives encourages collaboration, integration, and transparency between teams.
  • Build shared processes. Different teams develop different processes. It takes some investment to build new DevOps workflow policies but aligning processes results in much faster and far less painful development processes between development and deployment.
  • Keep everyone accountable. In traditional development projects, development teams write the code and operations teams deploy it. If there are problems — and there usually are — the teams point fingers at each other. But with common accountability, DevOps is responsible for the success of the entire project, not only one slice of it.
  • Invest in training and tools. Cost-effective DevOps saves money and time and increases revenue. It does not, however, do it out of the blue. Invest in employee training on communication and common workflows, as well as training on cloud infrastructure as a service (IaaS) and cloud DevOps technologies.

Technology: Supporting a Strong DevOps Culture

DevOps is more a cultural shift than a toolset, but all the collaboration in the world won’t help if DevOps is trying to work in an unworkable environment. A strong DevOps team takes advantage of cloud-based platforms and toolsets to improve quality and accelerate time to market.

Cloud IaaS is the foundational layer that automates provisioning and dynamic scaling for DevOps environments. AWS and Microsoft Azure offer IaaS for DevOps. They also offer DevOps tools to subscribers for planning, development, delivery, and operations.

However, cloud partners like NetApp are already deeply competitive in cloud storage management and offer comprehensive DevOps tools on both AWS and Azure environments. DevOps teams can perform continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) by using NetApp® Cloud Volumes ONTAP® and Cloud Volumes Service.

Cloud Volumes ONTAP

Cloud Volumes ONTAP features include instantaneous cloning of massive datasets, unlimited zero capacity (synchronous channels), high-availability (HA) configurations, native storage efficiencies, and a single management pane to optimize the front end. Cloud Volumes ONTAP also offers specialized DevOps tools, including CI/CD pipelines and automation workflows, without locking you into a single cloud provider.

One component of Cloud Volumes ONTAP is NetApp FlexClone® software, which instantaneously clones writable volumes, allowing you to shrink massive data copy jobs from nearly 24 hours to under 1 minute. With FlexClone, DevOps teams can work effectively together to build, test, and rebuild software releases and handle data changes before deploying to production systems. FlexClone and thin provisioning also significantly improve storage efficiencies to reduce costs.

For a single, powerful management pane, DevOps teams can use NetApp Cloud Manager (formerly NetApp OnCommand® Cloud Manager), which centralizes storage management and automation across complex infrastructures. Cloud Volumes ONTAP also offers high availability with a dual-node approach. And Cloud Volumes ONTAP enables DevOps teams to automatically implement nondisruptive failover and failback across AWS Availability Zones or Azure Availability Sets.

Cloud Volumes Service

NetApp Cloud Volumes Service is a fully managed file storage service for AWS to provision NFS and SMB volumes on demand,

NetApp Cloud Volumes Service is a fully managed file storage service for AWS delivering enterprise-grade performance in the cloud. It can provide highly scalable NFS and SMB volumes on demand, allowing for simplified testing and deployment of cloud-based file services. It directly interfaces with other automation and orchestration tools through the RESTful API. DevOps teams directly benefit from higher performance and provisioning, deduplication, reduced operating expenses, and increased flexibility.

Cloud Volumes Service supports NetApp Snapshot™ copies and cloning. Because it supports FlexClone, you can create multiple, concurrent clones of the same source file. DevOps teams are free to add, update, or delete volumes without affecting primary storage. When testing is done, the team deletes the clones to free up all its resources.

Keep On-Premises and Cloud Sources in Sync

Synchronization enables DevOps teams to safely consolidate data in the cloud from multiple on-premises and cloud sources. This consolidation protects integrity, simplifies new cloud systems, and enables centralized data repositories. DevOps teams can schedule synchronization as often as they need, and data protection defends the environment against data loss or inconsistency.

Support DevOps with Innovative Solutions

Building a strong DevOps team is not for the faint of heart. It requires executive buy-in and the willingness of team members to change their working culture. Success takes training, mentorship, and a new philosophy of team collaboration and communication.

Success also requires innovative cloud applications such as NetApp Cloud Volumes ONTAP and Cloud Volumes Service to support complex collaborations. Build a strong DevOps team, and give them the right tools for their mission-critical work.

Subsequent posts will focus on solving pain points to build a successful DevOps deployment. For more in our series please visit our complementary entries on A Strong DevOps CultureAgile DevOpsA New Approach to Development, and 10 Challenges and Solutions for DevOps.  

For a more immersive experience you can view this webcast titled; Running Cloud-Native Applications On AWS? Also you can read about Cloud Volumes Service or start a free trial of Cloud Volumes ONTAP.

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Product Marketing Manager, Cloud Data Services