Application Development Partner community: Introduction to DevOps

Jonathan Gardner Partner Technology Strategist

There's been significant interest from partners about cloud application development, and we've decided to offer a practice-building community around the topic. Just as with the Azure Partner and Office 365 Partner communities, the new Application Development Partner community will include a monthly call, blog series, and Yammer group. Dedicating these assets to Application Development will let the Azure Partner community focus on infrastructure and management.

The first Application Development Partner community topic is DevOps. In this post, I'll outline the guiding principles of DevOps, the role it plays at Microsoft, and why it matters to partners.

What is DevOps?

Prior to working for Microsoft, I spent 12 years as an IT consultant. On every project I worked on, there was tension between different parts of the organization. Most visibly, the people on the business side had needs that they wanted to apply technology to but saw IT as a blocker to addressing those needs, while the people in IT felt like the business had unrealistic expectations. In addition to this external battle, there is often one within IT as well - developers see operations as a blocker to deploying their applications, while operations sees developers as oblivious to the problems that code can cause. These biases can make it difficult for IT to reach its real potential as a force multiplier in an organization.

DevOps can help an organization address this problem. It's not a certification, role, or tool, but a philosophy for how IT operates, focusing on adding value back to the business faster. It's not a single change that aligns the organization. Rather, it's a focus on creating a faster flow from development to production. This is done by creating cross functional teams with members from both sides, with a focus on products, not projects.

One of the enablers of a faster production cycle is the use of automation. Automation requires process standardization, and with DevOps this is a critical component. When operations works directly with development on environment setup, the end state would allow the code to be pushed through a deployment process upon check-in to a code repository. The process allows for build, testing, and publication ultimately into production. With the product in production, the business is able to begin using it to drive value.

DevOps at Microsoft

Our mission at Microsoft is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more. To me, this means that our goal is to help everyone understand this DevOps philosophy. A great example of this in practice is the release pace of Microsoft Azure. Just a few years ago, the Microsoft product release cycle had a pretty clear pattern of a major release of a product every 2-3 years, with minor bug patches in between. I recently heard that some Azure features have a release cycle of 18 hours. This drastic reduction in time to release is due to the focus on our mission statement. The faster we can add features and capabilities to the Azure platform, the sooner our customers can use them as a competitive advantage in their business.

Microsoft Engineering Stories: Our DevOps Journey

You can learn more about the Microsoft DevOps journey on the new Engineering Stories site. Watch the short video below for a glimpse.

On the DevOps case studies site, you can read about how other companies are using DevOps to drive success.


Partner resources for DevOps

In a consumption economics model, customer success with IT is driven by adoption. DevOps is the best way to allow IT to be a force multiplier for their business and drive that adoption.

If you are interested in getting started with DevOps in your organization, try these resources:

Are you using DevOps in your organization today, or do you have plans to start? Share your feedback and ask questions about the topic in the Application Development Partners group on Yammer.

Application Development Partner community call on September 6

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