Faster time to market with automated workflow

08-08-2018

In order to improve your innovation speed, you have to be willing to jump on concepts faster than you have done before. This enables a whole new mindset and more modern development methods than most businesses are used to.

“Optimally speaking, you want to be able to transform an idea into an app that is ready for a customer demo group testing relatively quickly,” says Stefan Månsby, Senior Director of Product Management & Big Data at Basefarm. “By doing this, you can get feedback from your customers quickly, while also monitoring user behavior to continually roll out changes and improvements.”

However, the problem is that the IT department is usually detached from the business operations in most companies. The common explanation is that IT is primarily a support function. “Take, for example, ITIL processes. These primarily aim to guarantee a stable, high-quality operating environment at the lowest possible cost. Being innovative and experimenting with new solutions does not fit into this situation at all.”

Development and seamless management

In other words, it is not enough that the development of new applications is the only thing happening at a fast rate. Operational efficiency also has to be strengthened. “This is why it’s a good idea for both administrators and developers to collaborate in DevOps teams where they would have a common workflow.” By joining forces, everything that the developers produce can be managed efficiently by the operational teams through seamless teamwork.

“The processes are often stopped before they’re even up and running, simply because there are too many obstacles to overcome. However, you also have to be able to try out new things. For example, you do not want to have to wait for weeks until there is enough server capacity available. Furthermore, if something went sideways, you would like to be able to complete the task immediately without excessive consequences. You wouldn’t want to be stuck with expensive, redundant servers. Flexible solutions are everything in this case, enabling you to try something else if your current solution doesn’t work out.”

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Automatizing work flow

Workflows should be automated because it is too labor intense to manually handle large checklists. The open source platform OpenShift, is designed specifically for setting up and handling workflows.

“Thanks to OpenShift, developers can concentrate fully on functionality and programming, without thinking about hardware, operating systems and the cloud environment where the application is about to be handled from,” continues Månsby.

Technology like Docker and Kubernetes is used in OpenShift to create a package of everything that is needed to run an application in a specific infrastructure.

“Administrators can easily roll out such packages and ensure that proper modules for processes like monitoring, logging, revision and cost allocation are automatically included.”

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Managing the workflow for you

One aspect of workflow is the automatic verification of whether all the modules that together constitute an application can work well collectively – even with changes.

“Modern software development uses so-called microservices. These are small devices with functionalities that you can add, customize and remove both quickly and easily without affecting the overall performance.”

An application can easily consist of hundreds of microservices that communicate through APIs.

“This creates several thousands of integration checkpoints. Everyone must be thoroughly checked on every occasion. This causes such a complicated and labor-intensive orchestration that it is impossible to do it manually. However, OpenShift takes care of this tedious job. It is also possible to visualize the connections between all the different components.”

With OpenShift, businesses can also ensure continued compliance and consistency with different requirements and regulations, and thus be optimally prepared for system audits.

“With the platform you can perform the necessary controls and generate the reports you need. The code is packaged and delivered with check numbers in such a way that it is guaranteed to be impossible to hack and change the software.”

“You can always be 100 percent sure that the correct code is in the production pipeline and that no one has interfered along the way,” Månsby continues.

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Connection and adjustment

OpenShift facilitates the developers’ work a lot through its comprehensive framework for setting up and using workflows in a cost-effective manner. However, Månsby highlights that the platform isn’t a one-stop-quick-fix that will make all your problems go away.

“OpenShift offers a large number of functionalities,” he explains. “Normally, you only need parts of them. It would be very useful to involve a partner to help you make the best use of the platform. You can of course try to figure out everything yourself, but it takes a lot of time and could potentially mean you aren’t optimizing the use of the platform. There’s no point in reinventing the wheel!”

You can also investigate how OpenShift and your workflow can best be adapted to the organization. In order to get the most out of OpenShift, there will be a need for adaption of existing workflows.

“It all starts with acknowledging the need for digital transformation. The goal is to make the development process lean, to shorten the time to market. The time it takes to launch new applications and functionality, boost innovation pace, accelerate application development rate and improve operational efficiency should be the shortest possible. However, this is impossible to achieve if you continue in the same manner that you’ve always done,” says Månsby.

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Do you want to learn more about OpenShift?

 

OpenShift as a Service from Basefarm

Basefarm’s OpenShift as a Service solution allows you to quickly and efficiently develop, operate and scale applications in cloud-based environments.

Blog: OpenShift as a Service provides shorter “time-to-market”

In the age of digital transformation, you need good tools to stay ahead of your competition.

 

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