Why DevOps and mobility represents a perfect match
DevOps has been around for several years now, certainly enough time to gain traction in the enterprise. The premise is simple enough on the surface; ensure collaboration and communication between software developers and other IT professionals, while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes. The implications are far reaching; no more wasting money, the delivery of great software and the development of systems that scale and last.
However, the understanding of DevOps at an executive level is, at best, a little spotty. Certainly, it is gaining mind share and some organisations have a good understanding of DevOps practices. For those managing an IT team, it’s generally well understood as a practice and a set of principles that very much chalk out a path for delivering better software and faster.
Automation some way off
In this age of ubiquitous mobile computing, it’s relevant to ask whether DevOps is also influencing mobile methodologies. Because of DevOps’ benefits, it should be and, to a degree, it already is. That said, automation which is a feature of DevOps, is still some way off simply because broad enterprise mobile development strategies are yet to be implemented by many organisations.
However, DevOps and mobile absolutely complement each other. In enterprise mobile computing, continuous development is an essential aspect of any successful mobile strategy. For instance, end users expect consumer grade experiences on their mobile devices, even with enterprise apps. This upgrade cycle keeps the world of mobile enterprise moving forward. And, as a result, it’s important to develop strategies that can rapidly incorporate end user feedback and push changes out to employees.
This is where a mature DevOps programme comes in; it improves automation and shortens the time between coding, testing, and deployment. In practice, it means providing application developers with the services and support they need to rapidly develop and maintain their applications. Given that one of the characteristics of enterprise mobile computing, and mobile in general, is rapid change, this is especially important.
In some industry sectors in which security is of fundamental importance, there is a lag in adopting a DevOps programme. But this doesn’t mean to say DevOps isn’t applicable for all enterprises irrespective of their industry, because it is. There isn’t one industry today that isn’t using mobile computing as part of its broader IT strategy and there isn’t one industry that would benefit from the dovetailing of DevOps with mobile.
It’s important and the benefits are compelling. Take upgrades as an example. Many enterprise mobile computing platforms are built around the use of iOS devices. Apple regularly releases major OS updates, typically once or twice a year. Pre-release access for testing is only available several months ahead of the actual release date. Importantly, enterprises can’t block the iOS update and users tend to apply the update within a short time of receiving it on their device.
Need to move quickly
This means that enterprises need to move quickly when updating all of their applications to ensure they are compatible with the new OS update. And of course, this applies to the Android platform too. If they don’t update their apps, they run the risk of a major outage when the upgrade is applied to devices.
The fusion of DevOps and mobility is the perfect antidote. If DevOps is well-run, it will provide application developers with the resources they need to quickly turn around the required changes to the organisation’s infrastructure in the time required.
On another note, security is a moot point because the rapid development enabled by DevOps can theoretically compromise security. The answer is to incorporate automated security testing, which should be both code assisted and black boxed, to incorporate best practices, including the use of encryption and certificates.
Speed and efficiency
App distribution, using enterprise mobile management should also be a part of the DevOps automation process. In this way, limited app distribution can take place for acceptance testing and then apps can automatically be pushed to the entire community. This also ensures that data is containerised and separated from any personal information that may be on a device.
DevOps may have been around for a few years but mobile is going to significantly move it forward. This is because DevOps is urgently needed within the enterprise as a result of growing mobile initiative and the dramatic positive difference that mobiles apps can make to daily operations.
Within this context, mobile application developers need to produce apps at speed and with efficiency. This isn’t a static need; it’s going to be a constantly changing dynamic and the fusing of DevOps with mobile meets this need perfectly.
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