While those CIOs who have already started down the path of cloud computing, perhaps by virtualizing some of their operations, may feel frustration at the potential of re-gearing with Docker, it provides one key element that they will need: swiftness. It has been said Docker is the first virtualization technology ready for the DevOps age.
What is DevOps? You should know about that as well.
A decade ago, COTS (commercial-off-the-shelf) software was the way to go. Why go through the trouble of building your own software from scratch when Oracle, Microsoft and SAP could provide you with all (or at least most) of the capabilities?
If employees grumbled about such software being sometimes difficult to use, well, they were getting paid to use it, right?
These days, however, businesses are finding that enterprise software is no longer in a supporting role, but is central to businesses maintaining a competitive edge. In many cases, this means the organization must build its own software, at least for those parts of the operation that provide the crucial competitive edge for the company.
Remaining competitive is a moving target, of course, as competitors are also busy sharpening their own products and services. Nowhere is this more pronounced than with large Internet-scale services such as Yelp, Facebook, or AirBnB, who live or die on beating their competition with more helpful, and easier to use, features. The days of asking users, or employees, to put up with fussy software are coming to an end.
Such pressure has brought about a new operating paradigm called DevOps, which, in name and in spirit, combines software development and IT operations into one cohesive workflow. Tightly integrating the development cycle of an application with the subsequent operation of that application can cut the length of time required to update a customer-facing or internal application. About 60 percent of CIOs plan to use DevOps to manage their software, IDC has estimated.
Microsoft has been filling out its portfolio of development software to support devops operations. IBM has set up a special consulting practice just for helping organizations get more into a devops-style workflow.
One user of Microsoft's DevOps tools has been the business services division of French telecommunications company Orange, which develops systems and software for other organizations.
"A few years ago, it was the norm to deliver good functionality on time and on budget," said Philippe Ensarguet, CTO at Orange Business Services. "Now, we have to deliver sooner and faster and better."
One question that dogs the modern business is how to offer something unique in this global, hyper-competitive market. This is where new forms of data analysis could help.
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