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The importance of performance to DevOps

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Classification: Spotlight

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The outsider might assume that all is sweetness and light within IT environments. Yes, of course, there will be the usual tensions that exist within any group of people but, by and large, they all work harmoniously together. Unfortunately, relatively few IT folks would recognise this rosy picture. The fact is that most IT departments are riven by competing interests. In particular, there are three major groups within most large IT organisations: operations, who are responsible for ensuring that service level agreements are maintained for production systems; development, which is responsible for upgrading existing software and developing new applications; and quality assurance, who check the quality of new or updated software before it is inflicted on an unsuspecting world.

The problem in practice is that development teams need access to production systems, particularly database management systems, on a fairly regular basis. This can be reduced and eased by using technologies such as test data management and service virtualisation but development requests nevertheless pose a burden on database administrators that can easily cause resentment as administrators feel that they are being taken away from the main task of maintaining production systems. Conversely, developers may come to the conclusion that operations staff are being deliberately obstructive and hindering their development efforts. A further problem can arise when the eventual software comes to be tested or run against live production systems if there are any resulting performance problems, which can result in much finger pointing between the two teams as to whether it is the code or the database that is the cause of any bottleneck. Similar causes of strain can erupt between development and quality assurance when, again, it is all too easy to blame the other party when any issues arise.

Fortunately, not all is doom and gloom. Since 2009 the industry has seen a growing trend towards the concept of DevOps …

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