Shifting Both Technology and Culture Towards DevOps

This blog post is an excerpt from our recent e-book created in partnership with NetApp, DevOps in Government: A GovLoop E-book. To access the full e-book, head here.

The sands are shifting in the technology that supports government today. In order to better serve citizens, keep critical data safe, and deploy larger-scale web applications, government IT teams have had to shift not just their technical approaches and tools, but also their culture. To keep up with an evolving world and citizenry, agencies need to automate and quickly spin up or tear down production-quality development and test environments at will.

That is where DevOps comes in. DevOps opens the door for continuous innovation, rapid software deployment, and frequent updates to software-based features and products.

Part of that success depends on how well DevOps is fueled by the organization’s underlying data center infrastructure and processes. To better understand how an innovation-minded DevOps focus translates into practical moves and investments that agencies should make, GovLoop spoke with Ingo Fuchs, Chief Technologist, Cloud and DevOps, at NetApp, a leader in hybrid cloud data services and data management.

Fuchs explained that the long-standing cultural divide between development and operations has traditionally inhibited collaboration and led to slow development cycles.

“Government digital services teams should consider using open source, cloud-based, and commodity solutions across the technology stack, because of their widespread adoption and support by successful consumer and enterprise technology companies in the private sector,” Fuchs said.

The culture of DevOps aligns itself with self-service provisioning and automated processes that are usually associated with the cloud, he continued.

By creating data services that help build trust between developers and operations, NetApp aims to provide the tools that, together with DevOps techniques and methods, enable companies to transform this paradigm.

NetApp is no stranger to DevOps. While most federal agencies have historically known NetApp as an enterprise storage provider, NetApp has also spent the past several years transforming into a data authority.

“NetApp’s data management expertise can be leveraged easily with DevOps tools– from containers to automation to hybrid and multi-cloud,” Fuchs said. “Our solutions and integrations  go across the entire spectrum of DevOps and hybrid cloud.”

Beyond just technology, NetApp’s own IT organization transformed its culture and its implementation from a traditional, multi-datacenter environment to a DevOps-friendly environment, and their IT built an internal DevOps platform, called CloudOne, that provides the cloud services, automation, and CI/CD release models used by their application development teams to build cloud-native applications.

Just like federal civilian agencies, Fuchs explained, over the next few years, NetApp IT will migrate a large number of its applications to SaaS, replacing legacy apps per an application rationalization model. The remaining applications will move to the CloudOne platform which provides multi-cloud integration and DevOps services to rebuild and run them as modern cloud-native applications, he noted.

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