In many of my recent presentations I’ve spoken about our Stackato vision and how it fulfills the needs of what IDC terms “The Third Platform.” (For more information about the Third Platform, see this cio.com blog post I wrote last year). The themes I outline about the Third Platform -- the need for business agility, faster and more frequent application releases, and much greater application scale and load variability -- strike home to audiences around the world.
At many of the conferences at which I spoke, fellow speakers discussed their DevOps initiative. The stories they tell are often inspirational -- by bringing together disparate work groups, they’ve been able to get better cooperation and speeded up software releases by a factor of 10.
However, despite these impressive outcomes, I am of the opinion that viewing the needs of the Third Platform through the lens of DevOps, and considering those needs as complete once a “DevOps initiative” has been implemented, is short-sighted.
First, as eloquently noted in this blog post, too often DevOps is seen as an infrastructure automation capability, rather than as an element of an automated code pipeline that stretches back to code development and forward to agile operations capabilities like autoscaling and blue/green deployment.
This is why in the Stackato vision we include DevOps in a cluster of technical innovation capabilities, as shown in this figure to the right.
DevOps automation is critical to the Stackato vision -- but it’s only one element of a group of technical capabilities necessary to enable business agility. Another way to say it is that DevOps automation provides the foundation for IT to deliver next-generation applications, but other technical requirements must be layered on that foundation to deliver true Third Platform applications.
[Recommended Reading: PaaS: The Foundation of Enterprise DevOps]
DevOps makes it possible to speed code changes into production without requiring manual steps. It’s just as important that the application made up of those code changes be well-suited for the requirements of the Third Platform. Providing APIs is crucial to allow the application to be integrated into other internal or external applications, as well as enabling mobile and IoT devices to talk to it. Support of microservice application architecture is crucial to allow distributed development and deployment. Finally, we believe it’s impossible to fulfill the responsibilities of tomorrow’s IT without using a framework like Cloud Foundry to allow IT to focus on application functionality rather than infrastructure plumbing.
Our perspective is that DevOps is necessary but not sufficient for the challenges that lie ahead for enterprise IT groups. It will be impossible for these groups to succeed without infrastructure automation; likewise, failing to support the other items listed in the technical innovation figure above will leave IT seen as self-involved and unable to respond to the needs of the larger business.
To learn more about the Stackato vision, please visit our vision webpage and watch the video interview there. To get started with Stackato and explore how it can help you meet the challenges of the Third Platform, download a free version of the product and experiment with it.