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5 Criteria for Choosing an Integrated DevOps Platform

Here’s what to look for in a cloud-based platform that can help enterprise teams identify the root cause of any performance issue, resolve it swiftly, and ensure a seamless user experience.

For IT and data teams, the digital transformation journey introduced many new systems both on-premises and in the cloud. This makes it increasingly difficult to get a holistic, real-time view across all the applications, platforms, and infrastructure. An integrated DevOps platform can make the end-to-end monitoring process more agile and efficient, enabling enterprise teams to realize their business goals with greater ease.

For Further Reading:

How We Applied a DevOps Mindset to Manage Our People Data

Best Practices for Building an Agile Analytics Development Environment

New Architectures and Enhanced Roles for IT

The Dashboards Conundrum

To effectively monitor multiple data platforms, many enterprises toggle between several dashboards every day.. An infrastructure dashboard provides information about the CPU usage, memory, availability, and other important metrics across hardware, software, and applications. A platform dashboard is used to monitor components across on-premises, cloud, PaaS, and Hadoop distributions. Application dashboards provide insights on running jobs, failure rates, ingestion metrics, and several other parameters that help maintain user satisfaction levels and drive customer success.

In addition, security dashboards are used to monitor application firewalls, data encryption, and user authorization; incident dashboards are used to prioritize and close incidents in line with target service-level agreements (SLAs). Monitoring these core DevOps dimensions helps enterprises meet KPIs and ensure quality across their release cycle. However, the typical practice of using multiple, third-party, and open-source monitoring tools creates silos and makes cross-team collaboration an uphill task.

There is a pressing need for a unified DevOps platform that captures and consolidates useful operational data, performs contextual analysis, and applies intelligence to provide comprehensive insights across multiple environments in real-time. Such a cloud-based platform can help enterprise teams identify the root cause of any performance issue, resolve it swiftly, and ensure a seamless user experience.

How to Select a Unified DevOps Platform

The following criteria can help you choose a unified DevOps platform that provides aggregated information on your enterprise’s applications, platforms, and infrastructure:

Drill-down capabilities to analyze system availability. System availability can be impacted when a service or infrastructure node crashes, CPU usage peaks, jobs fail, or other events. In addition to providing details about overall system availability, the platform should enable users to drill down to specific layers in the stack and pinpoint the root cause of any downtime using appropriate filters. It should facilitate a quick co-relation between important data points so users can identify issues and resolve them without wasting any time.

Real-time security scoring. Monitoring the security health of all enterprise environments is critical to avoid incidents that can adversely impact the customer experience. Often, there is a tendency to keep security monitoring levels relaxed on development and staging environments (and focus more on production and testing environments). The optimal DevOps platform can help publish real-time security scores for all environments so any non-compliance can be brought to the notice of developers and IT managers immediately. The platform should also publish a consolidated security score for executive/program sponsors to swiftly take remedial action to improve the organization’s security posture.

Role-based access to control cloud spend effectively. A DevOps platform that provides role-based access to developer, engineering, and operations teams can significantly help control cloud costs. It is important to monitor spending on platform and infrastructure services across all public cloud providers to ensure the stipulated budgets are not exceeded. Other desirable features include the ability to analyze cloud spending trends for six-to-twelve months and predict budgets for upcoming quarters.

The ability to monitor core DevOps KPIs. To meet required timelines, enterprises need to monitor core DevOps KPIs such as deployment frequency, lead time-to-release, and quality metrics such as code coverage, quality, and maintainability. Enterprise teams should set up goals for each of these KPIs and constantly monitor them to drive improvement. Each team should monitor the KPIs during program execution (and with each iteration) and publish the overall KPI scores for stakeholders to track project progress effectively.

SLA compliance. In the digital world, quickly reacting to incidents and resolving them as they arise helps enterprises stay ahead of the curve. to do this, teams need to gain contextual insights from incident metrics quickly. Although most monitoring tools provide standard metrics, enterprises often need to forecast the number of incidents (overall and for each application) for upcoming weeks. This can help teams plan their rosters and optimize resource utilization.

Although cloud platforms have native artificial intelligence (AI) services that can leverage operational data to deliver such predictions, this becomes an added cost for the enterprise. A unified DevOps platform that integrates with public cloud environments and cloud-native data models can help solve this challenge. It also helps categorize and manage events more efficiently, enabling the organization to save time and effort.

A Final Word

DevOps plays an integral role in core digital transformation initiatives such as application modernization, cloud platform management, continuous integration, and continuous delivery (CI/CD). The growing frustration with siloed tools and their inability to scale is leading organizations to search for a DevOps platform that provides a single pane of glass for monitoring IT data. Investing in such a platform can help stakeholders make real-time decisions, accelerate time-to-market, and gain a much-desired competitive edge.

About the Author

Shirish Bhale heads the DevOps practice at Impetus Technologies Inc. He has over two decades of experience managing large, scalable data platforms, and is a certified SAFe 5.0 program consultant. He can be reached via email.

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