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DevOps = Better Execution

By Rajat Bhargava, CEO & Co-Founder, JumpCloud Inc.

Every company wants to execute better. Better means faster, crisper, fewer errors and, ultimately, that helps determine that you are on the right path to success. Executives think about this constantly. How can our team execute better? I certainly think about it all of the time. Better execution simply translates to better corporate results. Always has; always will.

But how do you make it happen? How do you execute better? Well, that’s a whole different ball game.

Let’s step back. Most of us are in IT or related enough to IT to be thinking about our core IT infrastructure, applications and data. In today’s economy, that’s the backbone of most companies. In the early 2000s there was this incredible new innovation that hit us: the cloud. It’s taken a decade or so to fully appreciate what the cloud means, but companies like Rackspace understood this before most others. It knew that the cloud was going to change just about everything in IT. And, it has.

Today, there’s a new movement afoot. It’s evolved out of the cloud, but is still deeply rooted in it. It’s dependent on the cloud. It’s called DevOps, and it’s going to be as significant as the cloud’s arrival, if not more so. Here’s why: the cloud has enabled us to use code to turn on and scale Internet infrastructure, in literally seconds. It’s so fast and agile that it can happen without human intervention. Think about that for a moment. In the late 90s bubble days, when we were scaling an application or service, it could take months to accomplish what we now can do in seconds. A business could stall out in that timeframe, or alternatively, if you had enough capital you could over-provision, which is just as risky of a proposition.

Unfortunately, we are realizing that companies cannot always easily consume that kind of agility, scalability and power without re-thinking their internal IT processes – and for that matter, their entire company’s approach to business. It’s an obstacle that has caused IT to search for different approaches to their craft.

What did they realize? Well, DevOps was the answer. Broadly defined, DevOps is a cultural change to your organization that creates a tight feedback loop between customers, your customer-facing teams and your back-end product teams — all of whom are challenged to rapidly innovate to better meet customers’ needs. In short, DevOps is essentially building what customers want, and building it fast.

Narrowly defined, DevOps is an extension of Agile into your ops organization. It’s rapidly iterating on your product or service but looping in your ops team, security team and other IT experts to make it a more coordinated process. Now you can push out code quicker with everybody in lockstep. Through automation, you can eliminate manual steps – a key part of leveraging the power of what cloud providers do. Tie that all together – rapid iterations, integrated teams and automation – and you have the start of better execution.

It’s this vision of better execution and focus on innovation that drives us at JumpCloud. As individuals, we’ve been in the IT industry for a long-time and have gone through the pain of bringing products to market, scaling them and iterating based on customer feedback far too slowly. It’s why we are so passionate about DevOps and the cloud as the fundamental underpinnings to a new IT model. Companies will really be able to automate their infrastructures to take advantage of the power, agility and scalability of the cloud. Companies will be able to innovate faster through tighter integration of their teams. Companies will be able to build better products and services for their customers through rapid iteration.

Imagine the difference between having your teams focus on repeated daily minutiae versus being freed up to focus on new innovation. Think about the admin who spends the day going through your machines by hand making sure a terminated employee has been removed from them all. Or, consider the admin who has to go through each machine by hand, finding which machines need patching, and then manually applying those patches. Computers should be doing this in a completely automated way, so those same admins can innovate and develop ways to improve their businesses, react more quickly to customer needs and build new ways to serve their customers.

DevOps isn’t a set of tools or products. It’s a methodology. But, it’s going to require some amazing tools to help bring DevOps to life in your organization. The cloud gives you the network and server infrastructure you need. Tools like Pivotal help you rapidly iterate and coordinate your teams. And, automated server management from companies like JumpCloud can help save time and resources. Managing tens, hundreds or thousands of servers without automation is going to be painful and expensive. There’s just no reason to do it. Server automation will help with mundane tasks such as adding users, patching your systems, watching log files and securing them among others. There are N number of server management tasks that you need to perform. You need a platform to execute on those tasks quickly, easily, and once.

Fact: crisp execution is a better business. There are tools and methodologies available today that empower us to execute at a rapid pace. By combining DevOps with cloud and with automation, your organization has the chance to take it to another level. They say defense wins championships in many sports. Execution wins in business. DevOps make better execution possible.

Today, JumpCloud is joining the Rackspace Marketplace. Our team views this as a significant milestone for the company and a real opportunity to help thousands of companies execute better.

The Rackspace DevOps Automation Service automates application environments using DevOps tools, and includes 24×7 DevOps Engineering support.

About the Author

This is a post written and contributed by Rajat Bhargava.

Rajat Bhargava is co-founder and CEO of JumpCloud Inc., a provider of server management and security tools for DevOps and IT professionals. An MIT graduate with two decades of experience in industries including cloud, security, networking and IT, Rajat is an eight-time entrepreneur with five exits including two IPOs, three trade sales and three companies still private.


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