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DevOps: Enabling Agility Through Continuous Delivery

An exclusive Q&A with Matt Selheimer, SVP of Marketing at ITinvolve

"Both sides benefit from learning more about each other's worlds. We recommend that Ops people take a Dev person to lunch and vice versa," said Matt Selheimer, SVP of Marketing at ITinvolve, in this exclusive Q&A with Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff. "It's a great way to build bridges, foster collaboration, and better understand what is "upstream" or "downstream" from your day-to-day work. After all, business value is only delivered when the new application capabilities are deployed and used not just when code is ready."

Cloud Computing Journal: The idea of lean and agile development has been evolving in recent years. To what extent is cloud computing in all its forms driving this evolution toward DevOps?

Matthew Selheimer: Survey data and customer experience show that the drive to cloud computing is more so about agility than just about cost efficiencies. This demonstrates there is strong synergy between those adopting lean and agile principles as well as looking to the cloud for improved time-to-market and the ability to react faster to competitive pressures.

Cloud Computing Journal: How much of a revolution is DevOps, i.e., how much waterfall development do we still see, and how quickly is the world of enterprise IT moving toward a DevOps world?

Selheimer: Here the pace-layering model is a good guide. It's useful to understand which of your systems are truly systems of record that ought to be expected to change infrequently due to compliance and other business stability requirements (e.g., your general ledger) vs. which ones are systems of differentiation or systems of innovation requiring more frequent updates to generate competitive advantage or neutralize competitive threats. DevOps is fundamental to enabling agility through continuous delivery in systems of differentiation and innovation.

Cloud Computing Journal: Who seem to be the best equipped people within an enterprise to handle DevOps: the "Dev" folks or the "Ops" folks? Alternatively, do you find the requisite skills already there within the world of system administrators?

Selheimer: Both sides benefit from learning more about each other's worlds. We recommend that Ops people take a Dev person to lunch and vice versa. It's a great way to build bridges, foster collaboration, and better understand what is "upstream" or "downstream" from your day-to-day work. After all, business value is only delivered when the new application capabilities are deployed and used not just when code is ready.

Cloud Computing Journal: What, if any, tradeoffs are there in moving toward a DevOps world? Are there aspects of this sort-of continuous development, "perpetual beta" world that are disadvantageous compared to the older, slower way of software development? Is there a middle ground, a sort-of "hybrid DevOps"?

Selheimer: Many people are conditioned to the idea of a big release that is going to enable a breakthrough capability. The world of DevOps means that innovation is continuous in small chunks that are quick to code and deploy (and easier to roll back if there are issues). Some may find this environment to be "incrementalism" at first, but the reality is that you can deliver bigger chunks of innovation faster this way than waiting for a 12 or 18 month waterfall cycle.

Cloud Computing Journal: Why do your customers do business with you? What have you learned from them?

Selheimer: We serve customers across many industries and of different sizes, but they all share one thing in common, they are trying to transform IT to better enable their businesses to be agile while ensuring the stability of operations their businesses also demand. ITinvolve's unique combination of collaboration, analysis, and knowledge capture ensure teams have the information they need to effectively execute projects and changes whether those are application releases, infrastructure upgrades, or scenario planning activities like disaster recovery or data center moves.

Cloud Computing Journal: What advantages does the Salesforce1 platform offer to you and to your customers?

Selheimer: Salesforce1 is the industry's leading Platform as a Service with over 125,000 customers and handling over 1 billion transactions every business day. It's proven and trusted in the most demanding organizations around the world, and it scales incredibly well. By building our products on the Salesforce1 platform, we receive all of these benefits and are able to focus 100% of our R&D efforts at the application layer, which enables us to respond faster to our customers and the market with innovative IT management solutions. For example, we've had 7 releases of our products in just two years. No other IT management software vendor has that level of release frequency that we are aware of.

•   •   •

Matthew Selheimer is CMO and Senior Vice President of Marketing. His responsibilities include corporate and product positioning, demand generation, social media engagement, industry analyst and media relations, thought leadership and evangelism. A 19-year industry veteran, Matthew has rich and diverse experience spanning enterprise business applications, IT management software, data center hardware and consulting. Previously, he held executive marketing and product management positions at BMC Software, as well as sales, business development, alliance management, systems engineering, and consulting positions at Informatica Corporation, Compaq Computer, and Deloitte & Touche. Matthew holds an MBA from Texas A&M University and a BA from the University of Pennsylvania.

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