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Enterprise DevOps is a custom operation

There was no shortage of IT pros at Gartner’s recent IT ops conference in Washington, D.C. looking shorten release cycles to apps, old and new, by adding process automation. But it’s not extreme Agile-style programming used by Web-only businesses that these IT pros are looking to mimic.

If your app needs to be updated 100 times a day, that’s one thing. But enterprises at Gartner IT Operations Strategies & Solutions Summit were mainly looking to shorten cycle times to once a quarter, or a month, from an annual cycle. There are lots of DevOps options, and every company will pick something that works for their business need. This approach makes a lot more sense for these environments given that some have existed for years with more legacy baggage than Jacob Marley dragging chains (I’m stealing that one, David Williams).

How are enterprise IT pros faring in the quest to shorten cycle times?

These activities occur in pockets throughout the organization, without governance, without a central clearing house, and lacking a strategy that accounts for the individual sets of activity, said Williams, a Gartner researcher. Is this what’s happening in your organization? Let us know.

Also, today’s tools are so targeted that they apply to only one aspect of the DevOps tool chain. They do not integrate with each other which will make it hard to scale a project. Speaking of projects, some of the early ones are short on strategy. Server provisioning automation is great, but it’s not an end game. What matters is the service, which might involve multiple servers, networking and a lot of other things taken together. Give us a short list of your go-to tools for IT automation.

On a positive note, infrastructure architects are smarter than ever about the new IT operations and application development practices. Williams said he’s not seeing anyone getting suckered by the marketing. They know it’s not an overnight success and that it must be approached in a mature way.

To that point, the Gartner mantra continues to be about the need for cultural transformation to make it happen. How you organize your teams and how they interact is far more important to creating rapid response than the use of any new tool. If you’re an IT pros accustomed to rewards and applause for repairing crashed servers, don’t look to be a hero in a world where process automation and iterative application development are the stars.