A recipe for success
There are many methodologies and solutions that companies turn to in order to reduce costs, speed up time to market and produce higher-quality software. SD Times caught up with some experts in the field to gauge how important this methodology is, and whether businesses need to adopt a DevOps and Continuous Delivery solution in order to be successful.

Sam Guckenheimer, product owner and group product planner at Microsoft: I don’t think companies can continue to be successful as a digital business if they are not practicing DevOps and Continuous Delivery. I think that it is well understood that you have to move to a Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery model if you want to be able to move quickly enough with sufficient quality to work at Web speed. And I think it is recognized that if you want to be able to respond to the feedback from what is really happening in production, you need a DevOps model where you get the real evidence from production that allows you to think of what you deploy as a continual set of experiments based on hypotheses and the production data as substantiating or diminishing those hypotheses so you know what to do next.

Michael Sage, chief evangelist at BlazeMeter: Without a doubt. Obviously there is always the kind of hype—every few years there is a new thing that is all the rage and something new comes along—but these are here to stay. The reason is mainly because the results are so immediate and obvious.

For us, in the performance world, we are aware that people don’t simply have tolerance for slow applications anymore, whether it is on a mobile device or website. For example, we even have a Nest, an automated thermostat, in our office, and sometimes you press it and it doesn’t respond right away, and it is like a moment of real frustration. We have gotten to a point where we expect our software—our digital experiences—to basically be like physical experiences. Why are we waiting? What is going on? Those demands are only going to get more intense. People complain that their new iPhone doesn’t have a great connection, they expect everything to be awesome all the time, and the only way to do that is through Continuous Delivery.

I see Continuous Delivery and DevOps as being new foundational principles, foundational patterns or practices for basically all business teams. And I see these as foundational platforms that are actually going to evolve, so the next cycle of hype and initiatives and buzz will be things that build on Continuous Delivery.

Andrew Phillips, vice president of DevOps strategy at XebiaLabs In my heart of hearts, I would obviously say companies should look at either of these two things as they are necessary to solve a business problem.

You should be looking at DevOps or Continuous Delivery as an organization if you feel that your current release frequency is too slow; you are not able to get enough traction in the market; you are not able to respond quickly enough to the needs of your customers; and you find that when you look at your organization, there are a lot of mistakes, handover times, and waiting times that are happening because you have a siloed organization. All these kinds of symptoms that admittedly many organizations suffer from and recognize are the symptoms that should make you look at DevOps or Continuous Delivery, because those are the things that DevOps and Continuous Delivery can address.

If you have totally different problems—such as you don’t understand who your target market is for your product, or you can’t get the right people to build it—Continuous Delivery and DevOps won’t necessarily help you with that.

Yegor Naumov, product marketing manager for JetBrains: Obviously, there is no universal recipe for success, and DevOps and CD do not guarantee your organization a successful future either. They are just a set of certain practices, patterns and techniques which change organizational behavior and enable companies to be more agile and move faster, being able to adapt to ever-changing market conditions and deliver solutions faster.

By enabling this, they significantly reduce time to market and provide faster feedback times, and thus give companies more chances for success—or at least more room for error.

We believe a choice of a development methodology or approach are not the only things that define businesses’ success. Moreover, not all businesses need to be able to continuously deploy software to production (which is one of the main attributes of CD). As this is mostly true for companies with Web-based products and services, for other companies it might even be harmful in a way that it might be contrary to certain regulatory or company restrictions.

We believe being able to adopt these practices in a suitable way is key to being able to benefit from both of them, as they allow companies to reduce time and costs of releasing software to production and gain more control of the process via flexibility and quicker adjustment to the business needs.

Aruna Ravichandran, vice president of DevOps product marketing at CA Technologies: This would of course depend on whatever the proposed goals of the involved organization would be. However, in my experience it is those companies that have most successfully adopted DevOps methodology—inclusive of people, process and technology—that succeed in the domain of Continuous Delivery.

If your organization’s goal is to automate complex, multi-tier software release deployments through orchestration and promotion of applications, to achieve Continuous Delivery, you need to have the supporting processes and tools in place, from development through production. Embracing DevOps is the most effective and proven manner to do so. Again, in my mind, DevOps is an enabler of Continuous Delivery, not a discrete practice.