Click here to close now.


SDN Journal Authors: Stefan Dietrich, Elizabeth White, Peter Silva, Pat Romanski, Don MacVittie

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, @CloudExpo, SDN Journal

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

Measuring Your DevOps Success

When you start delivering your DevOps initiatives, the measurement starts immediately and is constant

A survey from the Vanson Bourne market research agency (with CA) late in 2013 indicated that 39% of those surveyed had adopted some form of DevOps and 27% were planning to do so in the near future. Despite this being such a hot topic in the IT sector, and with a high level of take-up, the question we are still most commonly asked is: “Where do we start?”

Our answer is always that an organization’s current position must be baselined first. Having a baseline means you can build a business case, apply targets and goals to your projects and measure your success as you progress through your project with the ultimate goal being to report back to the board on how you used the money to save or make more money – and improved your teams’ satisfaction.

DevOps Metrics for Baselining and Measuring Success
There are hard, quantifiable technical and financial metrics we can track, such as:

  • Number and frequency of software releases
  • Volume of defects
  • Time/cost per release
  • MTTR*
  • Number and frequency of outages / performance issues
  • Revenue/profit impact of outages / performance issues
  • Number and cost of resources

It’s worth noting that one of the biggest inhibitors to success of DevOps and related tooling projects is people’s perceptions that they are at risk of losing their jobs as their work becomes automated. Often, particularly in areas like release and deployment management, we find that there are specific individuals who hold all the knowledge around a current process (they wrote all the scripts for example) and who are viewed as heroes when they are the only person who can fix an issue and often do it out of office hours and at short notice – but are, in fact, bottlenecks. These individuals are often highly talented, but feel secure in the indispensable role they have created for themselves. Though they will often be happier when freed up to do more creative and rewarding work, they are often fearful and this needs to be addressed.

Cultural Metrics
Although cultural metrics are difficult to apply hard dollar value to, DevOps is about resolving conflict in the workplace, eliminating stress and avoiding burnout – and they are measurable. Happy people are more productive – their health is better, they have more ideas, work more effectively and will put in the extra mile. You can measure across a number of key cultural indicators around feelings about change, failure, going to work, what a typical day’s work entails, in addition to a number of cultural attributes such as:

  • Cross-skilling, knowledge sharing and pairing between teams
  • Working in a fluid but focussed manner
  • Working in multidisciplinary teams
  • Organizing teams around projects rather than skill-sets
  • Constantly dancing on the edge of failure (in a good way)
  • Position around business demand
  • Extraneous lines of code
  • Attitude to continuous improvement
  • Obsession with metrics
  • Technological experimentation
  • Team autonomy

You can also look at a number of team features such as:

  • Rewards and feelings of success
  • Hierarchical and political obstacles and annoyances
  • Inspiring and fostering creativity

Process Metrics
DevOps is not a process or a tool – but there are a number of processes in the software development lifecycle (SDLC) that affect both traditional development and operations staff to greater or lesser degrees that need to be taken into consideration. All of these process components can be optimized, and all of them can then be improved upon further using appropriate software tooling. An ultimate goal of a typical DevOps project is often to attain true continuous delivery (CD) by linking these processes and tools together to allow fully tested, production-ready, committed code to proceed to live without impediment – we often refer to the software infrastructure piece of this as the DevOps toolchain. When baselining current state, it’s useful to measure these component processes and their relative maturity (taking into account use of existing tools and success of implementation). Typically, we look at:

  • Requirements elicitation and management
  • Agile development
  • Build
  • Release and deployment
  • Unit testing
  • User Acceptance Testing
  • Quality Assurance
  • Application Performance Monitoring
  • Cloud

How to Influence Metrics
Once you’ve baselined your current position, it’s time to think about your desired future state. Your baselining exercise will probably have highlighted where the key bottlenecks are and areas on which to concentrate. Although we preach, “People, then Process, then Tools”, there are tools, in particular Application Performance Management that can help discover bottlenecks and issues upfront – although it’s imperative you have the right people then using and acting on this data and put the right processes in behind in terms of defect tracking, corrective development, versioning build and deployment.

While you might be stumped on ideas for influencing cultural, especially in well-established enterprises, it is by no means impossible. The key is understanding the current culture. For instance, does a culture of “blame” exist? What happens when there is a production outage? How motivated and rewarded do staff feel? Once you’ve identified the prevailing culture you can establish a program of cultural initiatives to move the culture to one that is more productive and collaborative.

DevOps Tools for Change
There are a number of tools that can influence the harder and software metrics – for example:

Application Performance Monitoring (APM)

  • Reduces MTTR
  • Makes it easier to create a collaborative approach in teams dealing with issues
  • Identifies root cause fast; eliminating blame games

Application Release Automation (ARA)

  • Enables development to seamlessly transition code to operations who can quickly and consistently deploy into production
  • Enables instant rollback or redeploy when an error is identified in production
  • Reduces fear of failure as rollback/redeploy is so easy

Integration Testing & Virtualization

  • Mimics the production environment so successful test are guaranteed to run
  • Allows testers to ‘shift left’ in test process and collaborate with developers early
  • Fast testing enables fast, confident throughput of change

When to Measure, How to Tweak
When you start delivering your DevOps initiatives, the measurement starts immediately and is constant. You will be looking for upward trends, as well as downward trends. Make sure you share reports regularly with the team – try weekly with the core team and monthly with the extended team. Highlight success and elicit ideas for improvement where areas have proved more challenging. Try things – tweak, monitor, tweak again. But remember: “Any improvement not made at the constraint is an illusion.”

What to Do with Success
Celebrate success! Create rewards and incentive programmes for teams when metrics targets are achieved. Part of the DevOp’s agenda is about improving working conditions – depressurising and destressing environments and having everyone working together in harmony and eliminating disasters, catastrophes, blame and brinkmanship.

Why ask for an external DevOps Maturity Assessment
While no one’s going to understand your business as well as yourselves, we often meet organizations who are struggling to find the time – they know there are improvements to be made but they are so busy with firefighting they can’t conceive of stopping and taking stock of their current position. Also, as human beings are emotional creatures — it’s natural for all working environments to have some level of politics or hierarchies going on — it’s often helpful to have an outsider take a pragmatic, neutral view of a situation. So if you are ready to baseline your current DevOps state and identify the DevOps initiatives that will have real, positive impact on your business, but feel you do not have the time to figure it all out yourselves – please do get in touch with us @ranger4ltd.

* The MTTR is the Mean Time to Repair, Resolve or Resolution – each of the definitions mean the same thing and can be used interchangeably. This term is more commonly used when talking about Application Performance Management and the speed at which an outage or performance issue can be fixed, but equally can be used when talking about testing and eliminating defects


Take five minutes to get complete visibility into the performance of your production applications with AppDynamics today.

This is guest post by our partners at Ranger 4. Find out more about them on by following @ranger4ltd on twitter.

The post Measuring Your DevOps Success written by Helen Beal appeared first on Application Performance Monitoring Blog from AppDynamics.

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By AppDynamics Blog

In high-production environments where release cycles are measured in hours or minutes — not days or weeks — there's little room for mistakes and no room for confusion. Everyone has to understand what's happening, in real time, and have the means to do whatever is necessary to keep applications up and running optimally.

DevOps is a high-stakes world, but done well, it delivers the agility and performance to significantly impact business competitiveness.

@CloudExpo Stories
We all know that data growth is exploding and storage budgets are shrinking. Instead of showing you charts on about how much data there is, in his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Scott Cleland, Senior Director of Product Marketing at HGST, showed how to capture all of your data in one place. After you have your data under control, you can then analyze it in one place, saving time and resources.
The Internet of Things (IoT) is growing rapidly by extending current technologies, products and networks. By 2020, Cisco estimates there will be 50 billion connected devices. Gartner has forecast revenues of over $300 billion, just to IoT suppliers. Now is the time to figure out how you’ll make money – not just create innovative products. With hundreds of new products and companies jumping into the IoT fray every month, there’s no shortage of innovation. Despite this, McKinsey/VisionMobile data...
Just over a week ago I received a long and loud sustained applause for a presentation I delivered at this year’s Cloud Expo in Santa Clara. I was extremely pleased with the turnout and had some very good conversations with many of the attendees. Over the next few days I had many more meaningful conversations and was not only happy with the results but also learned a few new things. Here is everything I learned in those three days distilled into three short points.
DevOps is about increasing efficiency, but nothing is more inefficient than building the same application twice. However, this is a routine occurrence with enterprise applications that need both a rich desktop web interface and strong mobile support. With recent technological advances from Isomorphic Software and others, rich desktop and tuned mobile experiences can now be created with a single codebase – without compromising functionality, performance or usability. In his session at DevOps Su...
As organizations realize the scope of the Internet of Things, gaining key insights from Big Data, through the use of advanced analytics, becomes crucial. However, IoT also creates the need for petabyte scale storage of data from millions of devices. A new type of Storage is required which seamlessly integrates robust data analytics with massive scale. These storage systems will act as “smart systems” provide in-place analytics that speed discovery and enable businesses to quickly derive meaningf...
In his keynote at @ThingsExpo, Chris Matthieu, Director of IoT Engineering at Citrix and co-founder and CTO of Octoblu, focused on building an IoT platform and company. He provided a behind-the-scenes look at Octoblu’s platform, business, and pivots along the way (including the Citrix acquisition of Octoblu).
In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Bruce Swann, Senior Product Marketing Manager for Adobe Campaign, explored the key ingredients of cross-channel marketing in a digital world. Learn how the Adobe Marketing Cloud can help marketers embrace opportunities for personalized, relevant and real-time customer engagement across offline (direct mail, point of sale, call center) and digital (email, website, SMS, mobile apps, social networks, connected objects).
The buzz continues for cloud, data analytics and the Internet of Things (IoT) and their collective impact across all industries. But a new conversation is emerging - how do companies use industry disruption and technology enablers to lead in markets undergoing change, uncertainty and ambiguity? Organizations of all sizes need to evolve and transform, often under massive pressure, as industry lines blur and merge and traditional business models are assaulted and turned upside down. In this new da...
Countless business models have spawned from the IaaS industry – resell Web hosting, blogs, public cloud, and on and on. With the overwhelming amount of tools available to us, it's sometimes easy to overlook that many of them are just new skins of resources we've had for a long time. In his general session at 17th Cloud Expo, Harold Hannon, Sr. Software Architect at SoftLayer, an IBM Company, broke down what we have to work with, discussed the benefits and pitfalls and how we can best use them ...
In recent years, at least 40% of companies using cloud applications have experienced data loss. One of the best prevention against cloud data loss is backing up your cloud data. In his General Session at 17th Cloud Expo, Sam McIntyre, Partner Enablement Specialist at eFolder, presented how organizations can use eFolder Cloudfinder to automate backups of cloud application data. He also demonstrated how easy it is to search and restore cloud application data using Cloudfinder.
The Internet of Everything is re-shaping technology trends–moving away from “request/response” architecture to an “always-on” Streaming Web where data is in constant motion and secure, reliable communication is an absolute necessity. As more and more THINGS go online, the challenges that developers will need to address will only increase exponentially. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Todd Greene, Founder & CEO of PubNub, exploreed the current state of IoT connectivity and review key trends and t...
With all the incredible momentum behind the Internet of Things (IoT) industry, it is easy to forget that not a single CEO wakes up and wonders if “my IoT is broken.” What they wonder is if they are making the right decisions to do all they can to increase revenue, decrease costs, and improve customer experience – effectively the same challenges they have always had in growing their business. The exciting thing about the IoT industry is now these decisions can be better, faster, and smarter. Now ...
Discussions of cloud computing have evolved in recent years from a focus on specific types of cloud, to a world of hybrid cloud, and to a world dominated by the APIs that make today's multi-cloud environments and hybrid clouds possible. In this Power Panel at 17th Cloud Expo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists addressed the importance of customers being able to use the specific technologies they need, through environments and ecosystems that expose their APIs to make true ...
Microservices are a very exciting architectural approach that many organizations are looking to as a way to accelerate innovation. Microservices promise to allow teams to move away from monolithic "ball of mud" systems, but the reality is that, in the vast majority of organizations, different projects and technologies will continue to be developed at different speeds. How to handle the dependencies between these disparate systems with different iteration cycles? Consider the "canoncial problem"...
Too often with compelling new technologies market participants become overly enamored with that attractiveness of the technology and neglect underlying business drivers. This tendency, what some call the “newest shiny object syndrome” is understandable given that virtually all of us are heavily engaged in technology. But it is also mistaken. Without concrete business cases driving its deployment, IoT, like many other technologies before it, will fade into obscurity.
The Internet of Things is clearly many things: data collection and analytics, wearables, Smart Grids and Smart Cities, the Industrial Internet, and more. Cool platforms like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, Intel's Galileo and Edison, and a diverse world of sensors are making the IoT a great toy box for developers in all these areas. In this Power Panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, panelists discussed what things are the most important, which will have the most profound...
As organizations shift towards IT-as-a-service models, the need for managing & protecting data residing across physical, virtual, and now cloud environments grows with it. CommVault can ensure protection & E-Discovery of your data - whether in a private cloud, a Service Provider delivered public cloud, or a hybrid cloud environment – across the heterogeneous enterprise.
Growth hacking is common for startups to make unheard-of progress in building their business. Career Hacks can help Geek Girls and those who support them (yes, that's you too, Dad!) to excel in this typically male-dominated world. Get ready to learn the facts: Is there a bias against women in the tech / developer communities? Why are women 50% of the workforce, but hold only 24% of the STEM or IT positions? Some beginnings of what to do about it! In her Day 2 Keynote at 17th Cloud Expo, San...
Apps and devices shouldn't stop working when there's limited or no network connectivity. Learn how to bring data stored in a cloud database to the edge of the network (and back again) whenever an Internet connection is available. In his session at 17th Cloud Expo, Ben Perlmutter, a Sales Engineer with IBM Cloudant, demonstrated techniques for replicating cloud databases with devices in order to build offline-first mobile or Internet of Things (IoT) apps that can provide a better, faster user e...
In today's enterprise, digital transformation represents organizational change even more so than technology change, as customer preferences and behavior drive end-to-end transformation across lines of business as well as IT. To capitalize on the ubiquitous disruption driving this transformation, companies must be able to innovate at an increasingly rapid pace. Traditional approaches for driving innovation are now woefully inadequate for keeping up with the breadth of disruption and change facin...