May 24, 2017

With the rise of microservices enabled by containers, DevOps is about to become IT organizations’ dominant challenge. Even when an IT organization has achieved some level of DevOps maturity, the complexity associated with managing microservices at scale will prove overwhelming for most.

Looking to fill that void, Electric Cloud this week updated ElectricFlow, a framework for automating the management of DevOps processes to deploy a variety of container orchestration engines via a single click.

At the same time, Electric Cloud is making it possible to for developers to employ community edition of ElectricFlow to spin up Docker containers on their own, as is recognizes the larger role many developers are playing in managing their own IT environments.

Sam Fell, head of marketing for Electric Cloud, says that while microservices provides the greatest hope in terms advancing application development, IT organizations that embrace microservices are likely to encounter a range of bottlenecks across their deployment pipelines. Many of those organizations today rely on open-source tools they have cobbled together to manage their existing DevOps processes. But with the arrival of microservices, many of the open-source frameworks will not be able to address more complex microservices challenges.

Of course, Fell notes that microservices are only one part of the DevOps equation. ElectricFlow, he says, is designed to be a DevOps platform that can support multiple styles of developing applications using a variety of tools and platforms. As that DevOps platform becomes more automated, organizations don’t necessarily need to require their IT operations teams to acquire programming skills to manage DevOps processes.

While DevOps may be a popular topic most of the adoption has been limited to large, web-scale companies. In contrast, enterprise IT organizations have been slower embrace DevOps. But as developers across the enterprise increasingly embrace containers many of those enterprise IT organizations will be forced to confront long simmering DevOps issues.

The biggest challenges associated with confronting those issues might have little to do with the technologies involved. Senior IT leaders need to decide about how best to go about re-engineering those DevOps processes all the way down to who in the organization needs to assume responsibility for specific functions. Many of those functions, however, may soon be automated out of existence.

Whatever the approach the one thing that is for certain is that IT organizations will be relying on more IT automation than ever to manage IT at scale. In many cases, the overall size of the IT organization may stay relatively stable as the number of functions managed per IT staff members increases exponentially. Other organizations will take advantage of automation to reduce the size of their IT staffs because the cost of labor remains the single largest cost of operating an IT environment.

None of that transformation is going to occur overnight. But at this point injecting higher levels of automation into DevOps processes is now all but inevitable. The only real issue now is figuring out how to proactively manage that transition versus letting it be something that happens to the organization.

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.