How DevOps and hybrid cloud are delivering digital transformation
Digital transformation has been heavily promoted as a way for businesses to stay relevant and keep ahead of the curve by adopting technologies to make every day working life more efficient or effective.
But rather than just use technology to replicate an existing service, the intent is to use it to completely transform that service.
According to IDC, spending on digital transformation will reach $1.7 trillion worldwide by the end of this year, a 42% increase from 2017.
But, while the objective of digital transformation to use digital technologies to speed up business change is common to all organisations, the means of achieving it differs for every company –because businesses are so diverse.
By this stage of the process, the digital transformation success stories of companies using technology to drive their business forward are fairly well-known.
There are a number of hugely successful companies that have become household names by operating with a digital business model, such as Airbnb, Facebook and Uber.
Cloud computing is transforming business
A big factor in these successes is cloud computing. The agility and flexibility of cloud computing is helping to transform businesses, making it possible to easily add resources to servers and move applications.
It is also hugely cost-effective because users only pay for the resources they use, as and when they require them.
Cloud computing helps businesses to meet the growing need for services and applications that are easy to access, navigate and use on any device.
It allows users to work remotely and collaboratively from anywhere, an essential for modern businesses.
It has also provided a platform for two significant innovations that are playing a major role in delivering digital transformation: DevOps and hybrid cloud.
The benefits of the DevOps model
DevOps is gaining a lot of traction in software development because it helps teams to be innovative, deliver applications and services quickly and eliminate the gap between development and operations.
It creates a stable operating environment by drawing all of the processes together, enabling organisations to create code faster, reduce human errors and optimise costs.
To borrow the vocabulary of digital transformation, DevOps transforms people, processes and tools into a single entity.
There are a number of examples of tools being used in a DevOps environment, such as Git for source code repositories and VMware vCloud for virtual infrastructure.
Cloud has emerged as a major enabler for DevOps because it works so harmoniously with the processes of a DevOps environment. It provides the platform to boost developer productivity and efficiency while automating processes, eradicating human error and making code repeatable.
But the shift to a DevOps model isn’t always straightforward.
While businesses can see instant improvements from the changes DevOps brings, scaling up is still a major obstacle and needs to be monitored.
To try and alleviate this issue, organisations need to have a standard that everyone follows for DevOps.
Why hybrid cloud is important
Hybrid cloud, a combination of private and public clouds, can play a major role in helping a business to transform its services.
In addition to addressing the scalability challenge, hybrid cloud promises significant cost savings, increased flexibility and the ability to meet compliance requirements.
By incorporating a number of hosting models, hybrid cloud gives CIOs the flexibility and versatility to utilise the IT infrastructures they already have while integrating new services and eliminating old technology when they have to.
Workloads can be moved between the different hosting models to meet specific goals and to ensure resources are used effectively.
A common example would be for businesses to retain critical data on-premise (or in a private cloud environment), while storing less critical data in a public cloud.
While the benefits are indisputable, they are not guaranteed.
As with everything, the service is only as good as the provider. Businesses need to ensure they choose the right hosting partner to advise them on the best way to control all cloud resources and manage services for a successful transition to hybrid cloud.
Digital transformation can be complicated
But while DevOps and hybrid cloud are acknowledged as major contributors to business transformation, that doesn’t mean it is plain sailing for companies embarking on their digital transformation voyage.
The first difficulty lies in trying to lock down what digital transformation means. The term is so broad, nebulous even, that it can be hard to define it.
Digital transformation can mean so many different things to different businesses, leaving a lot of companies confused about how to approach their projects.
Stripped down to its basics, the aim of any transformation is for companies to make their services more accessible and easy to manage.
But where do they start?
And how far do they go when ‘true digital transformation’ – whatever that means – can be something that takes years to conclude. Assuming the transformation can ever be completed.
As with anything, it helps to have a clearly defined strategy in place to reduce the risk of time and money being wasted, while ensuring that digital services are deployed and used effectively to improve the way the business works.
Understandably, some businesses are still reluctant to change, particularly given the uncertainty of the digital transformation process and the risks involved.
But the cloud has given them a platform to digitally transform their services and the innovation provided by DevOps and hybrid cloud gives them the mechanisms and means to achieve that goal faster, more efficiently and more effectively.
Jon Lucas, Co-Director, Hyve Managed Hosting