Just back from IBM’s Pulse. That’s a conference traditionally focused on Tivoli, but IBM has re-invented itself and now there’s less focus on products than across the board IBM solutions. That means there’s a new security group, a new mobility group and a lot of cross polination between all the groups. In this spirit DevOps was a featured topic. IBM has focused tools in their Rational portfolio to address the integration and coordination between development and operations and has a very good story to tell. Let’s hope it gets told in all the right circles.
The reason I say that is that I was included in a group discussion about DevOps, consisting of analysts who usually cover IT, but not necessarily actual development, and it was a very confusing and disjointed conversation. While there was plenty of talk about IT functions and debate about the business value of services, very little related to DevOps as I could determine, which led me to think that a very major problem with DevOps is that developers and IT Operations don’t really speak the same language. As long as DevOps remains in the philosophical debate arena, I don’t think we’ll have much luck getting Development and Operations to truly understand each other and most effectively work together because some big communication problems exist. Not only do the motivations of each group subtly diverge but so do their means of expression.
Which brings me back to the tools. In its IBM SmartCloud Continuous Delivery product, IBM builds on the Jazz framework to incorporate means for specifying deployment environments to both development and QA and then implement those environments throughout the development lifecycle. Having QA aligned with both development and operations is key to creating a smooth DevOps implementation and the IBM tools suite does just that. Continuous input is also received from the end-users and feeds back into the cycle to shape newer revisions. IBM has created a well organized and effective tool framework for collaboration between Development and Operations with these products. And it is tools that lay the framework for DevOps. Without them the movement is just so much talk – and talk that is not universally meaningful.