DevOps Roundtable Part 2: The role of the cloud

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DevOps Roundtable Part 2

Part two of a five-part DevOps series.
Part 1: What's creating demand for DevOps?
Part 2: The role of the cloud
Part 3: Tips for making DevOps a reality
Part 4: Surprises born out of DevOps
Part 5: Measuring success in a DevOps culture

Pete Buonora, Enterprise Architect, BJ’s Wholesale Club
Lee Congdon, CIO, Red Hat
Tom Soderstrom, Chief Technology Officer, Office of the CIO, Jet Propulsion Labs
Merv Tarde, VP of IT, CIO, Interstate Batteries
Rajesh Wunnava, Global IT Leader and Digital Business Strategist, Warner Music Group

INTRODUCTION: The Enterprisers Project assembled a group of seasoned IT leaders in an interactive exchange to discuss how they're using DevOps in their organizations. Here are highlights from the conversation.

DevOps and the Role of Cloud

TEP: Pete, you touched on an interesting facet of DevOps, which is the use of cloud and Platform-as-a-Service to accelerate and even enable the benefits of DevOps. Is cloud something that goes hand-in-hand with bringing a DevOps culture and practice to life in your company?

Merv Tarde: When we looked at going to the cloud to deploy things faster, we found out that we're about 90 to 95 percent virtualized in our Operations area. So we can turn things around probably a little bit slower than maybe a cloud application, but not that much. We have found that becoming virtualized has really allowed us to respond to the business much quicker when it comes to deploying infrastructure.

Lee Congdon: We are coincidentally using our Cloud Services team, the folks that are writing the shared services that will be used by all of our cloud applications, as the DevOps pilot. And certainly the ability to set up virtual machines in cloud environments rapidly is a plus. But I would say they're complementary, not a prerequisite for us. Having the ability to use cloud services for development and certainly [to] achieve our strategy of being able to deploy internally and externally, indifferent to the environment from an application perspective, is going to be important. But right now they're complementary.

Tom Soderstrom: The cloud is part of our DevOps strategy. We are fully operational in cloud computing and have been playing in it for six years. What we discovered is that, as we try something new, we start it in the cloud—and that way we are not impacting any of the internal IT because we can do it so much faster. So we use various clouds, depending on the sensitivity. We can test it out there, we can make sure it works, and then if it makes sense, we can deploy it inside or outside or preferably in a hybrid manner where we use a hybrid cloud. So it has made us much, much, faster and cheaper because if it doesn't work, we just tear it down and don't have to transition computers.

Pete Buonora: Cloud is where I believe we will see some major benefits. Such as the ability  to experiment by quickly setting up infrastructure and also templating infrastructure. I think that's quickly maturing internally and externally. With the leading cloud services, you get more ability to template-out entire environments beyond just what typical virtualization will give you. And also the ability to spin down environments when they are no longer needed. There are also a wide range of services that are already built into the environment and ready to turn on such as monitoring, load balancing, archiving and backup services.

One area where we're struggling a little bit is where the data resides and how to best manage that and get connectivity into legacy systems when you want to get the data and then present it back into a more modernized system that may be hosted in the cloud. What's the best way to approach those things? We're still working through that stuff with a vision towards enterprise API’s and services.

In part three of our roundtable discussion, Lee Congdon and Rajesh Wunnava will offer tips on making DevOps real.

Are you using the cloud to enable DevOps at your organization? Share your experiences in the comment section.

Photo by Flickr user FredericRivollier.

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