Welcome!

Open Source Cloud Authors: Elizabeth White, Liz McMillan, Yeshim Deniz, Zakia Bouachraoui, Pat Romanski

Related Topics: @DevOpsSummit, Industrial IoT, IBM Cloud, Open Source Cloud, Containers Expo Blog, Apache

@DevOpsSummit: Blog Feed Post

DevOps vs Outsourcing By @SD_Architect | @DevOpsSummit [#DevOps]

As we look at enterprises adopting DevOps, yes, enterprises are adopting DevOps, in droves

June 10, 2014

As we look at enterprises adopting DevOps (yes, enterprises are adopting DevOps, in droves), the question regarding outsourcing always comes up. Many (read: most) enterprises have at least some of their application delivery or IT operations outsourced to an external vendor. This may be the traditional ‘offshoring’ where work is offloaded to an external, offshore and usually cheaper provider; to a true supply chain model, where external and internal providers deliver components of the application delivery supply chain. Both scenarios have a significantly different impact on DevOps adoption. (Yes, I am over simplifying outsourcing, but it serves the purpose for this discussion).

Strategic Outsourcing:

This is the scenario where an enterprise decides that it is cheaper or from a business perspective, better to outsource all or part of their application delivery to another provider, which excels in that space. This decision to outsource may be done due to cost reasons or due to the simple fact that the organization believes that it does not need to have that capability in house. It is better to hire someone to deliver it. The commonest example would be a company hiring an organization like IBM to run its data centers. The organization chooses to not hire staff to run data centers. It makes sense to let IBM do it. Another example would be a retailer hiring an external vendor to build and deliver its mobile apps. Again, they may have strategically decided that these are capabilities they do not have in-house. Instead of building a new mobile team from scratch, lets have a company that provides mobile app building as a service, deliver it.post-27147-You-may-not-outsource-your-hom-HwUd

In the latter scenario, DevOps is not that much of a problem. When you outsource an entire application, you outsource the delivery pipeline too. If the entire mobile app development is outsourced, the DevOps part remains limited to ensuring that the movie app can access the back-end systems it needs to, hopefully thru well defined and managed APIs. Now in the first scenario, if you build an application in-house and deliver it to a production environment managed by an external vendor, you need to do a hand off and receive the appropriate feedback to improve continuously. If the contracts are not set in stone, a Continuous Delivery model can be managed with the external vendor partnering with the organization.

I am not trivializing the planning and collaboration that needs to be done. But if the external vendor is a true partner, this can be achieved. The enterprise in question still needs to ‘own’ the portfolio management, planning, release management and governance of the application being delivered. And yes, if the vendor is not willing to partner and/or the contracts and set in stone and cannot be amended to provide for a ‘DevOps’ style model of collaboration without lawyers getting involved – you are up the proverbial creek without a paddle. You may put away your ‘DevOps for Dummies‘ book and find one titled ‘Contract Negotiation For Dummies’.

Supply Chain:

The DevOps adoption challenge become more interesting in a supply chain model, where an entire applications delivery ’s not outsourced, but individual components are being delivered by separate providers in the supply chain. These may not all be external suppliers the enterprise has outsourced to. More than likely they will be a combination of internal and external providers. Internal providers are easier to deal with. Barring politics and lack of buy-in from senior management, one can apply the DevOps principles to get the suppliers on-board. Best practices like creating a central enterprise-wide ‘DevOps Center of Excellence’ and developing internal DevOps evangelists, go a long way in getting the required buy-in.

If you have external providers, the situation can become tricky. Multiple providers developing and/or testing individual components leads to a many to many coordination and collaboration needs. Contracts get in the way. If two providers cannot communicate directly with each other and have to always go thru you the enterprise, you have a problem. If every time you try to make a change based on feedback, as required for DevOps adoption, the vendor pulls out their contract and/or charges you a change fee, you most certainly have a problem. I recently met with a customer whose external provider for Dev – Test environments charges $10,000 for each change to the base VM image. They can’t afford to make adjustments to their environments – ‘production like environments’ are not an option.

The only solution here is to seek to get the external providers to see their value in working with you to adopt DevOps. If they see the value in the efficiencies and reduction of waste DevOps can bring to them, and allow them to deliver higher quality software in lesser time, with fewer resources, that may win them over. If however, their contracts are written in a way that faster delivery, more efficient delivery or fewer people needed hurts their bottom line, not much can be done.

Your mileage may vary

So, is outsourcing the death of DevOps? Or DevOps the death of outsourcing? Not at all. Organizations cannot have all the IT skills they need in house. They will need to bring expertise in from external vendors. Outsourcing is here to stay. The advent of DevOps and the need to collaboration, agility and responsiveness to feedback that is needed to adopt DevOps goes to say that future contracts will be written with these goals in mind. This is not an unreasonable expectation. System Integrators I interact with are seeing that already in RFPs they are receiving from enterprises looking to partner with them on a DevOps journey. This is really not an option. With all the external pressures – lowering costs, need for innovation at speed and the need to be more agile and responsive to the market is compelling enterprises to adopt DevOps. It is also compelling outsourcers to change how they evolve from suppliers to partners for their clients. DevOps, in my opinion will bring on the next generation of outsourcing.

Related posts:

Understanding DevOps:

Adopting DevOps:

Read the original blog entry...

More Stories By Sanjeev Sharma

Sanjeev is a 20-year veteran of the software industry. For the past 18 years he has been a solution architect with Rational Software, an IBM brand. His areas of expertise include DevOps, Mobile Development and UX, Lean and Agile Transformation, Application Lifecycle Management and Software Supply Chains. He is a DevOps Thought Leader at IBM and currently leads IBM’s Worldwide Technical Sales team for DevOps. He speaks regularly at conferences and has written several papers. He is also the author of the DevOps For Dummies book.

Sanjeev has an Electrical Engineering degree from The National Institute of Technology, Kurukshetra, India and a Masters in Computer Science from Villanova University, United States. He is passionate about his family, travel, reading, Science Fiction movies and Airline Miles. He blogs about DevOps at http://bit.ly/sdarchitect and tweets as @sd_architect

IoT & Smart Cities Stories
The challenges of aggregating data from consumer-oriented devices, such as wearable technologies and smart thermostats, are fairly well-understood. However, there are a new set of challenges for IoT devices that generate megabytes or gigabytes of data per second. Certainly, the infrastructure will have to change, as those volumes of data will likely overwhelm the available bandwidth for aggregating the data into a central repository. Ochandarena discusses a whole new way to think about your next...
CloudEXPO | DevOpsSUMMIT | DXWorldEXPO are the world's most influential, independent events where Cloud Computing was coined and where technology buyers and vendors meet to experience and discuss the big picture of Digital Transformation and all of the strategies, tactics, and tools they need to realize their goals. Sponsors of DXWorldEXPO | CloudEXPO benefit from unmatched branding, profile building and lead generation opportunities.
DXWorldEXPO LLC announced today that Big Data Federation to Exhibit at the 22nd International CloudEXPO, colocated with DevOpsSUMMIT and DXWorldEXPO, November 12-13, 2018 in New York City. Big Data Federation, Inc. develops and applies artificial intelligence to predict financial and economic events that matter. The company uncovers patterns and precise drivers of performance and outcomes with the aid of machine-learning algorithms, big data, and fundamental analysis. Their products are deployed...
All in Mobile is a place where we continually maximize their impact by fostering understanding, empathy, insights, creativity and joy. They believe that a truly useful and desirable mobile app doesn't need the brightest idea or the most advanced technology. A great product begins with understanding people. It's easy to think that customers will love your app, but can you justify it? They make sure your final app is something that users truly want and need. The only way to do this is by ...
Digital Transformation and Disruption, Amazon Style - What You Can Learn. Chris Kocher is a co-founder of Grey Heron, a management and strategic marketing consulting firm. He has 25+ years in both strategic and hands-on operating experience helping executives and investors build revenues and shareholder value. He has consulted with over 130 companies on innovating with new business models, product strategies and monetization. Chris has held management positions at HP and Symantec in addition to ...
Dynatrace is an application performance management software company with products for the information technology departments and digital business owners of medium and large businesses. Building the Future of Monitoring with Artificial Intelligence. Today we can collect lots and lots of performance data. We build beautiful dashboards and even have fancy query languages to access and transform the data. Still performance data is a secret language only a couple of people understand. The more busine...
Cell networks have the advantage of long-range communications, reaching an estimated 90% of the world. But cell networks such as 2G, 3G and LTE consume lots of power and were designed for connecting people. They are not optimized for low- or battery-powered devices or for IoT applications with infrequently transmitted data. Cell IoT modules that support narrow-band IoT and 4G cell networks will enable cell connectivity, device management, and app enablement for low-power wide-area network IoT. B...
The hierarchical architecture that distributes "compute" within the network specially at the edge can enable new services by harnessing emerging technologies. But Edge-Compute comes at increased cost that needs to be managed and potentially augmented by creative architecture solutions as there will always a catching-up with the capacity demands. Processing power in smartphones has enhanced YoY and there is increasingly spare compute capacity that can be potentially pooled. Uber has successfully ...
SYS-CON Events announced today that CrowdReviews.com has been named “Media Sponsor” of SYS-CON's 22nd International Cloud Expo, which will take place on June 5–7, 2018, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY. CrowdReviews.com is a transparent online platform for determining which products and services are the best based on the opinion of the crowd. The crowd consists of Internet users that have experienced products and services first-hand and have an interest in letting other potential buye...
When talking IoT we often focus on the devices, the sensors, the hardware itself. The new smart appliances, the new smart or self-driving cars (which are amalgamations of many ‘things'). When we are looking at the world of IoT, we should take a step back, look at the big picture. What value are these devices providing. IoT is not about the devices, its about the data consumed and generated. The devices are tools, mechanisms, conduits. This paper discusses the considerations when dealing with the...