Data Centers Are Partnering for DevOps Transformation
Learn about the benefits that are driving data centers to implement DevOps processes and cultural transformation.
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More and more data center executives are looking to partner with specialized DevOps consulting firms to increase operational efficiency and meet customer needs. Both enterprise and commercial data centers that are helping to support private and hybrid cloud deployments are building out DevOps capabilities. DevOps is a set of principles which impact process, culture, and toolchain, so data centers are looking for help to add automation, speed, and efficiency, as well as add value to customers and find advantages.
Larger data centers can gain a lot of operational leverage by using engineers and tools across multiple customers. Smaller data centers can move up the value chain by offering more application related services to their users.
While any amount of DevOps capability will help, data centers are benefiting most from a DevOps cultural transformation. DevOps maturity and gaps can be identified by specialized assessments. These can help executives visualize how they can get the most bang for the buck from their investments and process changes. Using assessment results executives can decide how to save effort and money by doing DevOps better internally and providing a better solution for customers. Assessments can also help execs figure out how much automation is worth to them internally, and how they can sell that externally as well.
Large Data Centers
In a large data center, a CTO can save a significant amount of money by making his five or more DevOps engineers more productive. This includes using tools to aggregate and present monitoring data across multiple clients and multiple servers in a single pane of glass. This allows engineers to more easily identify where to automate and where they would get the most value.
In a lot of larger environments, they've done DevOps for five years or more. Most recognize that big payoffs don’t come from just tools or a couple engineers, and are looking for transformational and cultural investments that really pay off. The really successful shops are building in a culture of collaboration and the DevOps leaders are coordinating regularly with other leaders, including at the customers, who touch the applications, including the development groups and line of business owners.
It is useful to put together a plan that shows high ROI for DevOps work. Some issues that often need to be assessed are whether they need to monitor 100 percent of their system or if they are failing at deployments on a greater than the average rate.
Smaller Data Centers
We see a lot of DevOps demand from the smaller data centers that are really focused on specific solutions such as security or vertical applications. They are deep experts in their specialty but are now being asked by customers and applications vendors to provide public and private cloud solutions. This is a whole new capability for them but they are quickly finding ways to ramp up by using DevOps specialists.
Smaller data centers require a full suite of services from presales, through deployments and CI/CD, automation, and monitoring. Presales support comes in the form of helping to respond to RFIs, helping build proposals and joint marketing. Partnering gives the small datacenter instant DevOps expertise, the ability to more competitively bid on more projects, and usually access to open source tools.
Some DevOps specialists also have offshore expertise that they bring to a partner. This is very valuable since some CI/CD, managed services, monitoring, and automation can be done overnight offshore at lower costs. DevOps specialists can also provide senior solution architects. Smaller data centers don’t often need a full-time solution architect but some number of hours per week. This can be for internal designs or for billable hours doing consulting for clients.
Data Centers and Cloud Migrations
When many enterprises do cloud migrations, they start thinking about DevOps. If a datacenter is migrating apps to AWS or building a hybrid cloud, they should offer customers DevOps services as well. Not only will they be able to deploy the application but they can continuously make it more efficient. DevOps will help take the cost out initially and on an ongoing basis.
In cloud migrations and mixed environments, there is going to be lots of tools internally and there's going to be lots of tools that their customers require them to use. Data Centers have to be prepared to deal with that kind of very complex, rich tool chain and tool environment. Particularly with monitoring tools, they want to find open-source tools order to make monitoring easier and less costly, especially if they have to deal with hybrid environments that include AWS, GCP, and Azure across multiple customers.
A lot of DevOps work can be done remotely, particularly once the engineering teams figure out what to automate. Nevertheless, US-based organizations need regular solution architect input to work with the leaders of the other development groups, the op units, and the business leaders. A partner with a good onsite/offshore ratio with the right skill sets in the right places can be very effective.
In conclusion, if you're a data center that is migrating apps to AWS or from AWS, or building private or a hybrid cloud, that’s when you want to be building a DevOps capability. Not only will you be better able to compete for applications and do it cheaper, you are also going to get continuously more efficient. The good news is that you can partner for those capabilities.
You can also move up the value chain more towards the applications and the business owners. By providing a DevOps capability and metrics capability, this will put you in front of the business owners more often. It's new and makes a lot of sense with what you are already doing.
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