Modern organizations strive to increase agility so they can respond quicker and more effectively to fluctuations in market and customer demands. A DevOps approach can be beneficial because DevOps teams create platforms that enable them to automate continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). These platforms can help speed up time to market, reduce costs, and make processes more efficient.
The answer isn’t always that simple, however. The latest Gartner® report, Leverage Platform Engineering to Scale DevOps Platforms into Hybrid Cloud, states that “Organizations often struggle to scale DevOps toolchains into hybrid cloud environments.” Further stating/mentioning that, “Organizations are looking to adopt/extend DevOps platform that provide flexibility and improve speed, consistency, reduce costs, enhance performance and efficiency in deployment across complex hybrid cloud environments.”
Hybrid Cloud is Essential but Also Creates DevOps Challenges
Hybrid cloud is quickly becoming the standard for today’s organizations that want to stay competitive and ready to pivot when situations change. The cloud is essential to their success and it’s critical that companies can migrate workloads into the cloud (or multiple clouds) and choose the right cloud platforms and services for their unique applications and needs.
As much as organizations need hybrid cloud, it also presents a number of challenges when it comes to scaling DevOps. It can be daunting to create hybrid cloud DevOps pipelines and manage, secure, and maintain compliance around multiple disparate and often siloed ecosystems. It’s difficult to keep processes consistent across environments that include on-premises datacenters, multiple clouds, and (increasingly) the edge. Making updates to pipelines to support cloud-native applications or containers, for instance, can require different processes depending on the cloud platform. And automating the deployment of workloads to the right platforms at the right time can get quite complicated.
As Gartner analysts look at the tension and potential friction between DevOps and Infrastructure and Operations (I&O) teams, they offer several recommendations to help organizations resolve their hybrid cloud challenges.
Three Steps to DevOps Success in the Hybrid Cloud
The report includes three key recommendations for organizations that want to get the most out of DevOps in a hybrid cloud environment. I&O leaders should work closely with DevOps and other relevant stakeholders to take the following steps:
- Build and evolve the DevOps toolchain by establishing a platform engineering team to manage the requirements across the different environments and identify needs shared across development teams.
- Assess if on-premises tools meet the needs of hybrid cloud deployment by working with software engineering and security teams to define future platform landscape of cloud workloads’ continuous delivery needs and application architectures.
- Establish scalable and consistent ways to implement and manage the DevOps tasks by optimizing and simplifying standardized pipelines for the needs of platform users across environments.
Let’s take a closer look at each step.
Create a platform engineering team
Platform engineering is all about making the DevOps platform more efficient, agile, consistent, and cost-effective across the various environments in the organization. It entails working with platform users to determine their needs and challenges in terms of self-service, templates, platform consolidation, and consistent tools. Gartner recommends:
- Platform Engineering Teams Must Have Platform Owners
- Define the Goal and Engage Key Stakeholders
- Adopt Agile Practices to Evolve the Product Via Changing Requirements
In the report, Gartner analysts state that “by 2027, 80% of large organizations must embrace platform engineering to successfully scale DevOps initiatives in hybrid cloud environments, up from less than 30% in 2023.”
Define the hybrid cloud architecture that needs DevOps support
The platform owner should continue to work with stakeholders and platform users to evaluate needs. According to Gartner, “To do so, the platform owner — in collaboration with consumers of the platforms — should adopt the following evaluation methods to identify the target solution and architecture for a future DevOps platform in hybrid cloud:
- Collaborate with software engineering leaders or business product owners to identify the existing tools in use in accordance with the critical capability of DevOps toolchains (see Note 1 and How to Build and Evolve Your DevOps Toolchains). Identify the pain points and constraints of SWE teams existing toolchains.
- Identify the application architectures and future use cases of technology stacks of cloud workloads, including CI/CD pipelines and data of applications to do gap analysis to identify future tools needed (i.e., tools to support cloud native architecture or serverless).
- Align future toolchain platform architecture planning with the organization’s cloud strategy. If cloud strategy is focused on private cloud for most cloud workloads while public cloud or multi-clouds are used to enable technology innovation due to regulatory compliance and security requirements, then the master instance of the DevOps platform should be deployed on-premises. Agents can be deployed to the public clouds as cloud workloads require (e.g., a Jenkins agent to support the CI/CD task to deploy the workload to public cloud or multi-cloud as one scenario (see Comparing DevOps Architecture to Automate Infrastructure and Operations for Software Development).
- The platform engineering team may lack the skills to develop an entire, comprehensive DevOps platform, or the existing technology stacks and tools of the DevOps toolchain may not meet the needs of product or development teams. If cases like this, evaluate the third party or cloud-native DevOps platform solution or product together with platform customers based on the organization’s functional needs, non-functional needs (i.e., compliance and security requirements, customer support, service and delivery experiences) and total cost of ownership (TCO).
- When planning the security functionality for the platform, prioritize security as part of a continuous-improvement process spanning development and operations.”
Simplify standardized pipelines
In DevOps, different activities—such as compiling software source code or deploying a code package to a container—often require different tools. Because it’s important to optimize and streamline workflows and tools where possible to reduce complexity, Gartner recommends:
- Keep the thinnest viable platform (TVP) concept in mind. The platform should provide as thin and simple an abstraction as possible so that it does not cost too much to build/maintain, and so that it does not become deeply proprietary to the organization.
- User-centered design. The platform product design should base on the needs of platform users rather than seeking to change the user's behavior around how a platform product works.
- Self-service paved road. Platform should provide an easy, self-service paved road and reusable tools or services for users.
- Demand-driven. Based on product team or development team needs, improves, and simplifies the pipeline by integrating automation tools and workflows to build, compile, test and release the application.
How Nutanix Can Help
One of the primary goals at Nutanix is to make hybrid multicloud easy. We do that by providing a simple, seamless, consistent platform that allows you to manage, operate, and maintain all of your applications and workloads from a single pane of glass—whether they’re on-premises, in multiple clouds, or on the edge.
DevOps platforms can be scaled and extended to include multiple cloud deployments quickly and without hassle. With the Nutanix Cloud Platform™, you can:
- Automate operations and accelerate service and application delivery according to DevOps best practices.
- Increase productivity by giving developers the flexibility and platform performance they need to iterate faster.
- Speed time to market by moving code from development to production more efficiently.
- Lower costs with the ability to securely run dev/test workloads with your other workloads on the same infrastructure.
Visit our website to learn more about how Nutanix can help you achieve a seamless, consistent hybrid multicloud.
Gartner, Leverage Platform Engineering to Scale DevOps Platforms into Hybrid Cloud, Carolin Zhou, Daniel Betts, George Spafford, 14 March 2023. GARTNER is a registered trademark and service mark of Gartner, Inc. and/or its affiliates in the U.S. and internationally and is used herein with permission. All rights reserved.
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