April 29, 2017

IBM has discovered that the surest path to container and microservices sprawl is to not have sound DevOps processes in place before adopting them.

Angel Diaz, vice president of Cloud Technology and Architecture for IBM, says the architectures, blueprints and best practices that IBM has implemented with an IBM Garage framework running on the Bluemix platform-as-a-service (PaaS) environment are proving to be critical assets at a time when microservices and containers are making it easier for developers to create more code than ever.

In fact, IBM is betting that more organizations will rely on IBM’s managed services to help them implement IBM Garage on the IBM Cloud. As IT environments scale, thanks to the rise of containers and microservices, having mature processes in place to manage dynamic IT environments will be critical, Diaz says.

Yet, most IT organizations today still don’t have many mature DevOps processes, and what they do have in place was never really designed to address rapid changes to code enabled by microservices and containers.

Of course, IBM is not the only vendor starting to equate the rise of microservices and containers with the need for managed DevOps services. But it is certainly among the largest. By comparison, just about every other vendor moving in the direction of managed DevOps services would be classified as a startup. Given the popularity of microservices and containers among developers, however, it won’t be long before vendors ranging from Microsoft to consulting firms such as Accenture move in a similar direction.

In fact, the rise of microservices and containers is creating one of those seminal moments where organizations need to decide what role they want their internal IT operations teams to play. While it may be easier than ever to package and deploy code, the processes surrounding the continuous delivery and continuous integration (CI/CD) of that code at scale have never been more complicated. Many IT organizations simply don’t have the level of CI/CD expertise required to keep pace with that level of development activity. Faced with that challenge, large numbers of them will conclude that invoking a CI/CD platform that comes wrapped with various process blueprints represents the better part of valor.

Naturally, the biggest challenge with making that shift comes down to IT culture. Many developers and IT personnel already have some semblance of a process for building and deploying code. A more structured approach imposed from outside the organization usually encounters resistance. IBM and other providers of CI/CD platforms are betting that it’s now only a matter of time before existing processes collapse under the weight of microservices and containers. In the absence of any process that works anymore, chances are higher there will be more willingness to adapt once microservices and containers start to sprawl across the enterprise.

The issue facing IT organizations now is how much do they want to take care of that problem today versus waiting for an outcome that, at this point, is all but inevitable.

Mike Vizard

Mike Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist with over 25 years of experience. He also contributed to IT Business Edge, Channel Insider, Baseline and a variety of other IT titles. Previously, Vizard was the editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise as well as Editor-in-Chief for CRN and InfoWorld.