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Over the last five years, innovation has been accelerating in Continuous Delivery. For example, Kubernetes is becoming the platform of choice for managing containers, and practices like progressive delivery and GitOps are becoming mainstream.  This transformation has been fueled by community platforms such as Jenkins, Argo, and Spinnaker.  However, as IT organizations scale their Continous Delivery practice, DevOps Managers are faced with three conflicting dilemmas. These are the dilemma of choice, control, and intelligence. 

The Dilemma of Choice

In order to stay competitive and meet market demand, every organization has to scale. Still, today most organizations face the dilemma of choice when trying to scale. For instance, smaller enterprises can manage with manual processes and unoptimized CD tools as release velocity might not be a priority. But this is not the case with large companies. Large enterprises need to push software changes at a much faster rate as they are driven by the needs of the business. And while doing so, these enterprises often adopt multiple tools, apps, infrastructure, and delivery models, which in turn, create complexity. For example, when using multiple tools, organizations often get locked into the Service Level Agreement (SLA) with the service providers of these tools or apps. However, every service provider has its own schedule for support and fixes, also dealing with integrations. As a result, companies can get locked in, and they are on the vendor’s schedule and not their own schedule. In other words, they face the dilemma of choice. This dilemma forces DevOps teams to rethink how can they support the delivery mechanism needed by businesses.

Future proof with an Open CD Approach

The Open CD approach enables DevOps Teams to use the Continuous Delivery engine of their choice. Open source CD platforms such as Spinnaker and Argo are perfect for IT organizations that need to safely deploy applications incrementally whenever needed. First, they allow teams to choose preferred rollout strategies- canary, blue-green, or progressive delivery, ad rollback automatically if required. Next, the automated CI/CD workflows help improve DevOps productivity by eliminating the need for writing scripts. Also, with open source, businesses do not have the pressure to get into a service agreement with the vendor and can save exponentially on license renewals. Most importantly, Spinnaker has a broad DevOps community where contributors and users are active on the Spinnaker Slack channel. So, teams can leverage this support offered by a large pool of talent.

As a result, teams can release risk-free software, avoiding outages or forced rollbacks. And lastly, by integrating all CI/CD toolchains, OpenCD allows teams to collaborate more and make better decisions using real-time visibility and deep insights. 

The Dilemma of Control

The second dilemma is the dilemma of control. Typically, DevOps teams in small-scale organizations work in silos and thus, struggle to get visibility into their CD pipelines. This lack of visibility stops them from enforcing security, compliance, and governance at each pipeline step. Integrating security into the DevOps pipeline can enable small-scale organizations to overcome risks and avoid service disruptions, security breaches, cyberattacks, and compliance non-adherence. Most importantly, it can help them gain better control. Surprisingly, in large-scale enterprises, with too many tools and processes in place, DevOps teams have almost no central control over their Continuous delivery pipelines, which again is not good. Thus organizations must strike a healthy balance by having a central oversight of their pipelines.

Tackle the Dilemma of Control with a Self-Service Model

Having a decentralized control layer creates virtualized, secure workspaces that enable autonomous teams to run CD pipelines without the overhead of operating separate, isolated CD systems. Most importantly, it enables central groups – such as security, compliance, and DevOps to enforce compliance across all the virtualized team spaces. Having a self-service model allows dispersed teams to securely connect to their distributed tools and infrastructure without requiring them to be in the same security domain. A secure fabric connects the distributed targets to the distributed tools, independent of whether they are in separate VPCs or disconnected data centers. Organizational or team-level policies and Role-Based Access Control (RBAC) applied to all DevOps tools and deployment targets ensure security and compliance with full auditability.

For example, in the figure below, OpsMx ISD, an AI/ML-driven continuous software delivery platform, enables autonomous teams with decentralized control. Teams can use this feature to apply configuration changes to applications without accessing the cluster. Additionally, it allows them to apply fine-grained role-based access control (RBAC) with extensive secret management so that they can control the access to data. 

Figure- OpsMx ISD Dashboard with Centralized Control

The Dilemma of Intelligence

The third dilemma is the dilemma of intelligence.

Most enterprises have complex processes that involve several approvals, governance, and audit steps. However, each step of Continuous Delivery generates an overwhelming amount of data which is why we need automation to handle millions of events every single day. Even with the access to multiple tools, DevOps teams failed to automate compliance and governance completely. So when scaling their CD and trying to achieve speed, it often backfires as enterprises fail to do it safely. This is why it is imperative to automate compliance and governance through intelligence. Reducing human intervention can really pace up their software delivery as teams can leverage powerful troubleshooting and suggesting features for decision-making. 

Tackle the Dilemma of Intelligence with Intelligence Automation

An intelligent automation layer – powered by AI and machine learning can help enterprises tackle the dilemma of control efficiently. With powerful features of intelligent automation layer, teams can easily maintain compliance to security and enterprise policies, gain enhanced visibility, to assesses risks and make automated, approvals with full visibility for each release. AI/ML leverages deep process and tool insights to assess release risk throughout the delivery process and automates routine tasks. As a result, users can improve the velocity, accuracy, and security of their software deliveries.

Identifying opportunities and intelligently automating and accelerating crucial delivery processes from code commit to deployment helps reduce risks. It empowers DevOps teams to analyze key process metrics and calculate release risk and drive automated approvals. This further reduces risk by  identifying potential release failures before they reach production and making automated decisions.

Conclusion

Adopting the right tools and embracing the cultural shift can make a huge impact when scaling your CD pipeline. 

OpsMx ISD offers all the essential elements required by DevOps managers to succeed. It offers an Open CD layer, Decentralized Control, and an Intelligence Automation Layer. With these three powerful strategies, Organizations can successfully achieve speed and velocity, while still maintaining compliance. Powered by AI and ML technologies, OpsMx ISD is designed for organizations that are struggling with the complexity of microservices, and cloud-native computing paradigms. If you are looking for a solution that can help turbocharge your DevOps productivity, enforce intelligent automation, provide breakthroughs in delivery speeds and accuracy and enable faster time-to-value, take a free trial of OpsMx ISD Continuous Delivery as-a-Service (CDaaS).

Anushua Gorai

Anushua is a Sr. Content Marketing Specialist at OpsMx with over 8 years of experience. Her background is in B2B SaaS content marketing. When not at work, she likes cooking for her family, spending time with her pet, propagating plants, working out at the gym, and eating carbs.

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