Service-Centric Mapping for Agile Software Deployments
March 12, 2014

Tom Molfetto

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If you've spent any time at all on industry websites, you've probably seen a couple of statistics that support of service-centric mapping: 80% of unplanned business service downtime is due to change (and therefore a failure in IT change control), and that more than 50% of unplanned downtime is the result of human error. It's a simple fact, and there's no way of getting around it. And in today's landscape, there can be more impactful issues than downtime on the business, such as security vulnerabilities, especially where personal information or sensitive data is at stake.

This fact becomes especially important to consider in organizations and amongst teams that operate in an agile development environment, where fast and regular iterations of the core product – which is that which serves to distinguish the company in the marketplace and is imperative along the pathway to market leadership – are being released to introduce new features or otherwise improve performance.

In this type of environment, where the development team is generally rolling out new builds on a monthly basis, and perhaps even more regularly to address minor issues, problems often arise in the gap that exists between the development and operations teams. Fast and short iterations of the core service require rapid and sometimes automated deployment procedures from IT teams, who are being pressed to ensure that the production environment is stable, functional and performing optimally. And as development continues to push new builds towards production, IT is oftentimes introducing new components into the infrastructure to support various aspects of the core product.

DevOps is a software development method that stresses communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and information technology (IT) professionals that aims to help an organization rapidly produce software products and services. It is a method that effectively combines and accounts for: product development, technology operations, and quality assurance. In short, DevOps is a method that seeks to bridge the gap between development and operations teams in a way that allows for greater efficiency for the operation, and a better experience for the end-user of the core service.

In order to promote DevOps harmony, it is important that the operations team responsible for managing the production environment begins to manage from the perspective of the business service(s) being powered by the IT infrastructure as opposed to managing the components of the IT infrastructure without a sense of context for the service(s) that it underlies.

With the advent of virtualization, organizations that rely on agile development to stay ahead of the competition run the risk of a fragmented and disorganized infrastructure with VMs spread out all over the place. It can be difficult to keep track of the physical locations of each VM, many of which are powering mission-critical pieces of the core product. In this sort of environment, having an up-to-date, service-centric map that makes sense out of the increasingly complex IT infrastructure powering many of today's most powerful applications is critical.

In a landscape where a single business service may have dozens of distinct virtualized IT components, it is critical that the traditional approach taken by IT organizations of managing disparate technology silos shifts towards managing the business services that are running in the data center. Otherwise IT is not supporting the business in an optimal manner.

Tom Molfetto is Marketing Director for Neebula.

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