Gartner Q&A: Cameron Haight Talks About DevOps - Part 2
February 27, 2015
Share this

In Part 2 of this exclusive interview, Cameron Haight, Gartner Research VP, IT Operations, discusses the focus of his research for the last few years: DevOps.

Start with Part 1 of the interview

APM: What are the main advantages of DevOps that a company can gain?

CH: DevOps is ultimately about improving the business. It is not just about making IT in alignment with the business, but in the context of DevOps, IT is the business. IT cannot be looked at as a cost center. Not just to drive down costs. IT needs to look at how they can provide more value added capabilities that the business needs.

Mobile channels and digital channels are becoming quite critical. The expectations are very different when you interact with a smartphone device than if you are sitting at your desktop. So to enable new capabilities; to do A/B testing; to be more like a lean startup; to learn about customer desires, wants and needs – DevOps is an approach to help enable that.

APM: When DevOps is embraced by organization, if they do it right, will they have less problems on the production end?

CH: I would not say less problems, but the problems will change. You're always going to have problems. In the DevOps world you are always experimenting, you are going to find things that do not work. You are going to continuously iterate to improve. We try this, that didn't work, so we try something else.

Automation, hopefully, tries to remove some of the manual problems that crop up. One of the benefits of automation is consistency. We do this thing over and over again automatically, and we can now know what the results are because the human error part is largely removed from the equation. But we have to be careful that we don't blindly adopt it, because automation has gone awry in other domains. We have to be careful how we design these systems to ensure that we’re not just doing the wrong thing even faster.

But in a larger context, we have to be careful that we don't fall into the hammer and nail syndrome where we assume that the solution to every problem is a tool. The Amazons and Googles and Facebooks of the world are systems thinkers. So they try to look at: how can we improve this? And sometimes the answer is to re-architect it and therefore reduce the complexity. And maybe build manageability “in” at the beginning. And perhaps that means we need less of these tools like APM on the back end of that process because we built it right the first time. That may be an outcome.

At the end of the day DevOps is about proving the business outcomes by changing your culture and how you look at IT and how you perform IT. We are always going to have problems, but the question is how do we address (and learn from) them? How do we solve them? The goal is to recognize those problems and fix them as quickly as possible and in the process recognize that the problem is the problem and not get into a “blame game” mode of behavior. Agile and DevOps help us iterate towards getting it right quicker.

APM: What is the best way to help development teams to ensure top application performance before an app goes into production?

CH: Be a part of the discussion early in the lifecycle. One of my ambitions in life has been to get rid of the term “nonfunctional requirements”. Nonfunctional requirements are those which are not business logic related such as availability, maintainability, usability, things like that. Oftentimes, in the classic development organizations, those nonfunctional requirements have low priorities and are seemingly optional because the requirement is to get the code out the door, not to build manageability. So Operations needs to be part of those planning sessions where they discuss the backlog and what needs to be developed in the next interval. Operational concerns need to be put in the backlog as user stories, or perhaps operational stories, demanding the same level of attention of those development teams as the business-related needs.

In addition, I see development as increasingly owning deploy, so guess who gets the problem calls when it doesn't work. It won't be the Operations team, it will be the Development team. So it is in their own best interest to think about “nonfunctional requirements”.

APM: How is that accomplished, by having more conversations?

CH: At the end of the day, DevOps is about changing the culture. Start building a culture of trust and openness and collaboration. And so, formally it is in those sessions. But it has to take place all the time. I see some organizations put people together physically. Not just having the Ops side of the floor and the Dev side of the floor, but actually mixing desks, to build that relationship. It is about knowing what the other person has to go through.

Read Part 3 of the interview, covering Application Performance Management (APM).

Share this

The Latest

November 19, 2019

Unexpected and unintentional drops in network quality, so-called network brownouts, cause serious financial damage and frustrate employees. A recent survey sponsored by Netrounds reveals that more than 60% of network brownouts are first discovered by IT’s internal and external customers, or never even reported, instead of being proactively detected by IT organizations ...

November 18, 2019

Digital transformation reaches into every aspect of our work and personal lives, to the point that there is an automatic expectation of 24/7, anywhere availability regarding any organization with an online presence. This environment is ripe for artificial intelligence, so it's no surprise that IT Operations has been an early adopter of AI ...

November 14, 2019

A brief introduction to Applications Performance Monitoring (APM), breaking it down to a few key points, followed by a few important lessons which I have learned over the years ...

November 13, 2019

Research conducted by ServiceNow shows that Gen Zs, now entering the workforce, recognize the promise of technology to improve work experiences, are eager to learn from other generations, and believe they can help older generations be more open‑minded ...

November 12, 2019

We're in the middle of a technology and connectivity revolution, giving us access to infinite digital tools and technologies. Is this multitude of technology solutions empowering us to do our best work, or getting in our way? ...

November 07, 2019

Microservices have become the go-to architectural standard in modern distributed systems. While there are plenty of tools and techniques to architect, manage, and automate the deployment of such distributed systems, issues during troubleshooting still happen at the individual service level, thereby prolonging the time taken to resolve an outage ...

November 06, 2019

A recent APMdigest blog by Jean Tunis provided an excellent background on Application Performance Monitoring (APM) and what it does. A further topic that I wanted to touch on though is the need for good quality data. If you are to get the most out of your APM solution possible, you will need to feed it with the best quality data ...

November 05, 2019

Humans and manual processes can no longer keep pace with network innovation, evolution, complexity, and change. That's why we're hearing more about self-driving networks, self-healing networks, intent-based networking, and other concepts. These approaches collectively belong to a growing focus area called AIOps, which aims to apply automation, AI and ML to support modern network operations ...

November 04, 2019

IT outages happen to companies across the globe, regardless of location, annual revenue or size. Even the most mammoth companies are at risk of downtime. Increasingly over the past few years, high-profile IT outages — defined as when the services or systems a business provides suddenly become unavailable — have ended up splashed across national news headlines ...

October 31, 2019

APM tools are ideal for an application owner or a line of business owner to track the performance of their key applications. But these tools have broader applicability to different stakeholders in an organization. In this blog, we will review the teams and functional departments that can make use of an APM tool and how they could put it to work ...