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To create the efficiency, flexibility, speed, and feedback loops required for optimal workflows and innovation, IT teams sought to leverage collaborative technologies and solutions.
While conventional software vendors have long relied on traditional DevOps, many organizations are now exploring new practices and innovative ways to better accommodate a distributed workforce in the new normal.
Such models pose many challenges for an organization’s IT team, including the lack of clear, specific guidelines for evaluating the progress of the organization. Apart from monitoring, evaluation and learning, the collective challenges facing organizations at all levels are:
- Scale: Rushing to scale can lead to security, privacy and compliance issues
- Security: Assuming that the responsibility for security and compliance rests with the supplier can be a trap
- Integration: Complete and optimal system integration is a gigantic task
- Collaboration: The need for synergistic interaction and an open-ended approach is obvious, but not easy to achieve.
The point is, organizations need a dedicated team to deliver and operate a platform that can be used by multiple application product teams to effectively evolve DevOps practices. But aiming for rapid digital transformation has its pitfalls.
One of the downsides of fast scaling is that it can cause failure quickly. The middle ground and the key solution are Platform Ops. It provides value to application teams and applies DevOps practices in implementation and can streamline the processes involved in scaling DevOps practices. Most importantly, it allows developers to focus on development and businesses to focus on their customers, rather than spending unnecessary time on processes.
It was the focal point of OpenGovLive! Virtual Insight was held on September 9, 2021. This session helped delegates understand how to fully grasp the true meaning of “agile infrastructure” or “agile operations” using DevOps and Platform Ops. He also provided insight on how organizations can make full use of DevOps and Platform Ops to meet customer demand in a quick and transparent manner.
Find partners for using Platform Ops
To start the session,Mohit sagar, Group Managing Director and Editor-in-Chief, OpenGov Asia delivered the keynote address.
Mohit compared the modern digital landscape to a maze that has a beginning and an end. However, around every corner, organizations find different technologies – some old, some new and some advanced – thanks to the ever-changing demands of people, processes and context. To adapt to these changes, organizations must constantly seek better solutions in terms of DevOps and Platform Ops.
The COVID-19 pandemic has accelerated digital transformation on an unprecedented scale. While the pandemic has posed enormous challenges, at the same time, it has digitally transformed society on a global level.
This silver lining brings a great rethink, re-imagine and reinvent. The lens through which problem-focused organizations will determine the solutions they ultimately choose. Mohit urged delegates to explore more current solutions by being agile, maintaining security and creating scalability.
In conclusion, Mohit stressed the importance of finding the right partners to create the best citizen experience. Having knowledgeable experts who can focus on Dev / Ops allows organizations to focus on their core tasks and core deliverables.
The forum then heard from Lilian Tydings, head of product design and user experience for the NGINX product group at F5, on the dynamics of DevOps and Platform Ops. Their experience shows that most companies or organizations are still in the process of understanding Platform Ops because it is quite new.
Lilian defines Platform Ops as a way to assess the balance of dynamics between development and operations teams. While the development team is focused on speed and efficiency, the operations team must ensure scalability and quality.
Therefore, the key is to understand what the two worlds are like, anticipate possible conflicts, and find a way to balance all of these aspects. Technology responses and platform operations can be the solutions to potential conflicts between development and operations teams.
F5 tries to understand what real life scenarios look like so that they can provide the relevant solutions. The company is open to interacting with a wide range of organizations to explore how they might work together.
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Dr. Leong Mun Kew, Director of Graduate Programs, Head of Artificial Intelligence Practice, Head of Data Science Practice, Institute of Systems Science, at National University of Singapore was the next speaker who explored the importance of DevOps to businesses.
Dr Mun Kew acknowledged that there were tensions between the people who built things and those who ran them. From his experience, the people in Operation are comfortable doing what they know best. Meanwhile, development people have a traditional mindset to get things done the same way.
Nonetheless, as the world changes, including the rapid changes imposed by the COVID-19 pandemic, organizations must try new ways to find solutions. When trying to adopt new solutions, the process can create additional tension between the development and operations teams.
Whenever organizations want to develop new products, they also need to think about operations that primarily concern reliability, scalability, and security.
Ultimately, Dr Mun Kew pointed out that the tension between the development team and the operations team is usually due to a mismatch between expectations and internal pressure. Therefore, organizations must create a scalability platform to deliver hardware in a faster and more agile manner.
Following the informative presentations, delegates participated in interactive discussions facilitated by survey questions. This session is designed to provide live interaction with the audience, promote engagement, hear real-life experiences, and impart professional learning and development to participants. This is an opportunity for delegates to gain expert knowledge in the field, share their stories and take up strategies that can be implemented in their organizations.
Delegates were first asked about the technological issues of greatest concern to them. Almost half (47%) were concerned about safety while just over a quarter (27%) prioritized availability. While 13% were concerned about reliability, the rest were equally split (7%) between complexity and scalability.
In the accompanying discussion, one delegate who chose security said he did so because it encompasses availability, integrity and confidentiality. A representative from the IT division felt that uptime was most important because the technology should be available at all times without disruption.
From his perspective as a consultant for many companies, Dr Mun Kew believed that security would be the biggest concern of companies as technical experts are comfortable with their tasks but are afraid of what-if scenarios . While there is a need to prepare for the worst-case scenario, Dr Mun Kew encouraged everyone to focus on running their day-to-day operations more efficiently.
The second inquired about the unmet needs of delegate organizations. Similar to the previous question, almost half (47%) said their organizations lacked agility (adapting to changes, balancing day-to-day with long-term strategy / vision). Almost a third (29%) chose innovation (integration of new technologies, team friendliness) as a shortcoming in their organization. Delegates were evenly split (12%) between business continuity (secure work environment, talent search and retention) and infrastructure (better large-scale delivery, budget constraints).
When asked about the main issues between Dev and Ops today, a third (33%) chose collaboration. Just over a quarter have chosen agility as their main issue, while a fifth (22%) believe their organizations need a platform approach. While 11% chose automation, the rest 6% felt they needed more information about Kubernetes or Container / Microservices.
The final issue that delegates were asked about was the balance between speed and efficiency, scalability and quality. More than half (56%) said improving collaboration would bring balance. Delegates were also split (17%) between developing new standards and processes and building a platform team. 6% said they don’t balance speed and efficiency with scalability and quality, and 6% said they’ve built a platform team.
The virtual preview ended with remarks from Robert whiteley, Managing Director of NGINX Product Group at F5. He wanted to clarify that he was not there to be biased about the technology offered by his company, but to listen and understand the views of the delegates.
Robert was delighted with the interactive discussion with the delegates. He felt this would help his team and he better understands the dynamics in delegate organizations as well as identifying key areas that F5 can help.
According to him, the delegates’ perspective on the importance of collaboration, communication, balance and security would be of great benefit to F5 in the way they work with businesses in the future.
Robert invited delegates to contact his team to explore ways they could work together to help them on their journey.