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The Great Divide

In the world of IT, generally speaking, there are change makers and change haters. This is the great divide that Professor P. Ross S. Wise describes in his account of the emerging trend called DevOps. In a blog post, Wise describes how the functional split between Systems Administrators (operation folks) and Software Developers (application folks), though not intentional, has led to the  delivery of incomplete services and has cast the operation teams (framed as change haters) in an unfavorable light.

Enemies of Change

It sounds overly simplistic. Development-centric people are paid to generate as much change as possible for the business. But operational people traditionally believe they are the enemies of change, and are trained to resist change if it disrupts the stability of the IT operation. According to Wise:

It’s not uncommon to hear in many operational meetings, the statistic that 80% of all downtime is caused by changes which have not been properly assessed.

Accomplishing DevOps

That brings us to DevOps – a movement for IT to become more flexible and more closely aligned with the strategic, tactical, and operational goals of the business. The accomplishment of a DevOps state revolves around three core principles, as outlined below:

  1. Organizational Change: It is difficult to handle for all involved but necessary nonetheless.
  2. Unified Processes: Development-to-operations must be conceptualized as a unified process.
  3. Unified Tools: All tool selections must be understood in the context of the entire lifecycle, the entire end-to-end process. 

There’s no denying the inherent value of both Software Development and Systems Administration as critical functions of the IT infrastructure. The challenge here is to embrace them both in ways that foster productive outcomes for business and IT.

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About Eric Anderson

Eric Anderson is a staff writer for CAI's Accelerating IT Success. He is an intern at Computer Aid Inc., pursuing his master's degree in communications at Penn State University.

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