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In The Room: How Infrastructure Advancements Enable DevOps Success

Kelli Lawless

How can organizations prepare their infrastructures for the future of DevOps and IT? Matt Watts, NetApp’s data strategist and director of technology, recently sat down for a discussion with colleagues Nancy Hart, head of marketing for Cloud Infrastructure, and Robert Stumpf, senior director of IT for Enterprise Solutions Delivery, to find out. Here are three key takeaways from their conversation.

DevOps Is a Process and a Culture

Keeping up with the speed of innovation is now more difficult than ever. Five-year roadmaps, once ubiquitous, have been replaced by three-year roadmaps, which are quickly becoming obsolete. As Hart noted, “speed is the new scale,” and organizations have to move quickly to provide new services and revenue streams before their competitors do. According to Stumpf, “It’s about the way you react [to new changes] that’s the new operating model.”

Organizations that are up to the challenge need to think differently about infrastructure and break the barriers between developers and operations. “DevOps is not a thing. It's not a person. It's not even a product. DevOps is a process and a culture,” said Hart. It’s not a future state; it’s happening now. Organizations that embrace DevOps have to learn new roles, set new expectations, and adopt a new pace.

A common misconception is that this change only needs to happen at the enterprise level, in big IT, or in traditional shops. “There are new foundational technologies just over the horizon that will hit every part of our economy,” Hart said. “Things like the Internet of Things and associated AI and ML. There’s blockchain and what blockchain can do for a trusted supply chain…. That supply chain could be your milk, or it could be the fruit that you buy.” New opportunities will come with new data sources that organizations of every size in every sector will need to balance.

Stumpf expressed enthusiasm about the ability to rapidly deliver capabilities that will provide business value and make decisions quicker. “I'm excited about the things that I don't know are coming. That is an interesting role to be in.”

Rebalance Operations After Moving to the Cloud

After rushing to the cloud, some organizations found it wasn’t the right fit for many of their legacy applications. They didn’t work correctly or couldn’t be transferred and ultimately, organizations found themselves needing to bring many applications back on premises that were not built for cloud.

Now, infrastructure teams are shrinking and application-build teams are expanding. According to Stumpf, it’s imperative that organizations invest in developing microservices around their legacy applications, to mask the legacy components and create services that advance their businesses. They also need to adopt a forward-thinking mindset. To illustrate this, Watts shared a story about speaking to a client who, after learning about the NetApp Data Fabric and the potential for delivering a hybrid multi-cloud experience, declared, “I’m no longer a storage admin. Going forward, I’m a data fabric architect.”

Understanding the new DevOps landscape is a good first step, but it’s important to act quickly. Organizations need to be agile enough to say no to previously made investments, and instead invest in future-proofing their DevOps culture by moving toward a hybrid multi-cloud experience. “I have yet to meet a customer who feels like they’ve got DevOps right,” said Hart. Watts replied, “It’s a process of continuous improvement; if you think you've actually got it right, then maybe you didn't set the bar high enough in terms of what it is that you wanted to achieve.”

Deliver a Hybrid Multi-cloud Experience

In this era of services and microservices, organizations struggle to take advantage of innovations seamlessly. They want to use hyperscalers as well as the bespoke services they’ve built in their data centers to offer new revenue opportunities and quickly respond to competitor challenges. Hart says they can when they deliver a hybrid multi-cloud experience.

A hybrid multi-cloud experience, delivered through the NetApp Data Fabric and Hybrid Cloud Infrastructure (HCI), allows an organization to provide an experience based on frictionless consumption, self-service, automation, programmable APIs, and infrastructure independence. And it allows them to deploy hybrid cloud services between traditional and new applications, and between data centers and public clouds quickly and efficiently. It’s not an either-or scenario. The hybrid multi-cloud experience allows organizations to leverage all available technologies, including new innovations and traditional legacy applications, to advance business goals and drive success.

Interested in learning more? Watch the full interview below and check out NetApp HCI or explore our Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) solutions.

Kelli Lawless

Kelli Lawless is NetApp’s Head of Editorial Content and Strategy. In her time with NetApp, she has led several pilot programs and works closely with executives, partners, and customers to identify thought leaders with inspiring technology stories. In the past 20 years, Kelli has helped iconic brands find their voice, played in instrumental role in award-winning campaigns, and cultivated a deep passion for creating content that helps business leaders learn from each other. When Kelli’s not honing her storytelling craft, you’ll find her playing on the beach with her two senior dogs, hosting dinner parties for friends, or exploring remote reef systems with her scuba-diving husband.

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