SAP Labs France: What is DevOps?, by Hervé Rooy & Alban Ludewig

  The Cloud momentum on the industry has been an extraordinary innovative ground leading to new practices on the way IT (Operation) and development interact and work together.

SAP Labs France, as most probably any other company doing business in the Cloud, has adopted the DevOps momentum.

What is DevOps?

According to WikiPedia:

DevOps (a clipped compound of “development” and “operations”) is a culture, movement or practice that emphasizes the collaboration and communication of both software developers and other information-technology (IT) professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes. It aims at establishing a culture and environment where building, testing, and releasing software, can happen rapidly, frequently, and more reliably.”

Why DevOps is for you?

We, as DevOps CoE Team, are promoting this DevOps culture by collaborating with various Development Team, with 3 main principles:

 

  1. Adopt DevOps as a new culture by breaking down the silos between development, operations, and other groups such as architecture and testing, and by getting our engineers to collaborate more effectively on a person to person basis
  2. Automate as much as possible (systems provisioning, testing environment setup, software delivery, infrastructure changes …)
  3. Promote and encourage Continuous Delivery (CD) model, so that teams can ensure that every change to the system is releasable at the push of a button

After 1,5 years, implementing collaboratively different technics for over than 30 teams or development process, the value for the development & testing teams, as well as for the developed products, have been quite immediate:

  • Deliver software faster and more frequently
  • Increase software quality and system uptime
  • Reduce infrastructure waste and risk of release

Those positive impact on the Software eco-system were obtained quite rapidly, by conducting projects in an agile mode, with constant coordination between key players.

One can think that working on big-sized company makes it more difficult to evolve and adopt new trends coming from the open source world, but one will be wrong.

Of course there is many challenges to address, as re-thinking the organization, upskilling people, implementing new tools and frameworks. But I wager those approaches are not different from any other companies.

What about OnPremise product?

The main question is how to get there, up the most when many development teams are working on ‘On Premise’ product with a development pipeline built, sometimes, years ago!

Main remark: we saw that the delivery model of a product is not a show stopper to adopt continuous delivery. On the contrary. There is always similarities within the shipping process. Any products need to be built, need to pass various testing stages and the technics to automate those processes are always possible. Just the tools will change: eventually, you will automate the build of a full SAP landscape rather than automate the deployment of an application on a container or Cloud Foundry.

Working with development in SAP Labs France, with those objectives in mind, has been a nice ground to adapt at best many of the tools and practices coming from Continuous Delivery.

This is the initial approach taken:

  1. Model and map out the development pipeline which will be the model that shows how code flows through the different development steps (dev, QA, test)
  2. This model becomes then the pillar in which we identify the bottlenecks and pain points for the development. We work on quantifying the flow: like how often feedback loops are run through, volume of requests, cycle times, manual efforts, and so on.
  3. The definition of the bottleneck will be the starting point where to implement the new tool chain: Configuration management script (Chef), Infrastructure as Code (AWS API), execute stage in parallel whenever possible, containerization, etc. Quick-win setup that has two immediate outcomes: it influences how things are done and it creates confidence on the new implemented methodologies and tooling. Allowing to extend the scope of work to achieve end to end automation on the development chain.
  4. In parallel, we provide self-service deployment portal or from Jenkins jobs (with restful API) to simplify the execution of the deployments (ease of use, time gain and user-centric focus).

Lean approach, working agile, Cloud services, DevOps culture, break down silos, design thinking, Continuous Delivery model, Infrastructure as Code: SAP Labs France has all the talent and spirit to embrace innovative concepts, processes and tools and make our Digital transformation a successful journey.
Want to know more about career at SAP Labs France? Follow us @SAPLabs-France

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