We exhibited at the recent WebSphere User Group on the 25th of April in London and many of the conversations we had at the stand were about DevOps. Some of the delegates were already on their journey to ‘becoming DevOps’ but many were still trying to understand what DevOps means and how they should get started. Most of those conversations led on to discussing Talos, Tech Data’s middleware automation tool.

Middleware automation isn’t in itself DevOps but it can provide a useful starting point as it is a crucial aspect of DevOps. And if we take a look at Gartner’s definition of DevOps it represents:

“A change in IT culture, focusing on rapid IT service delivery through the adoption of agile, lean practices in the context of a system-oriented approach. DevOps emphasizes people (and culture), and seeks to improve collaboration between operations and development teams. DevOps implementations utilize technology — especially automation tools that can leverage an increasingly programmable and dynamic infrastructure from a life cycle perspective.”

Effecting that change clearly takes more than just a tool. It’s a cultural shift that requires people adopting new ways of working. However, I’d argue that enabling this cultural change with the right automation tools is an important part of becoming DevOps, which is where Talos comes in.

Talos automates the deployment and configuration of middleware across all environments and for multiple vendors’ products. That can improve delivery, but more important from a DevOps perspective is that it enforces standardisation in the way middleware is managed across the whole IT estate. That standardisation can be used as an entry point to getting teams to think about the processes they use and where else standardisation can be applied. Automation of middleware is also just one part of the automation that is required. It is however a part that has a strong business case for companies with large or complicated middleware estates.

A number of the companies we spoke to at the WebSphere user group were managing their middleware manually. That would, in my opinion, need to change regardless of whether they are to adopt DevOps or not. Manually managing middleware is inefficient and introduces risk. If configurations aren’t homogenous across all environments considerable effort can be spent tracking down the issue when something fails. This becomes an even bigger problem for customers who adopt hybrid cloud models and need to manage configuration on premise and in the cloud.

Right now we’re running a number of DevOps Health Checks with people we spoke to at the event. These look at how a customer is operating today and makes suggestions for improving delivery and beginning the DevOps journey. However these health checks are also very useful for those who have already adopted DevOps since it looks at current practice and suggests where further enhancements can be made.

If you’re interested read more here+

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