Why DevOps Is Important During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Disruption is the name of the game these days, from current remote work settings due to COVID-19 to even more normal, every-day disruptions (like the process of moving and renovating a home, which I’m currently experiencing first-hand). As a habit-driven developer myself, I have come to the realization that the stable work environment I’ve come to rely on is no more.

What I soon learned about this “new normal” is that business progress would continue without skipping a beat, even if parts of my personal life and day-to-day work experience would be disrupted.

In fact, innovation in tech is in fact accelerating as we see a new wave in the development of goods and services in response to the pandemic.

As these innovation cycles and demands continue to accelerate, development teams are feeling more pressure than ever to build and deploy application releases and updates at what can seem like lightning speed. Agility and efficiency within development teams has never been more critical, even as work and collaboration has become harder in our current remote work setting. The market is delivering tools to support these development pipelines, but organizations must provide developers with more training and support if we want to see the full benefits of this new paradigm.

DevOps and the Remote Developer Experience

It’s no secret that IT teams have been leveraging new avenues of collaboration, like DevOps, that provide the efficiency, flexibility, speed, and feedback loops required for optimal workflows and agile innovation. And while traditional software companies have long relied on DevOps, more organizations are increasingly leaning on its practices, particularly during present times when there is a distributed workforce.

While DevOps is nothing new to the developer world, the benefits of the philosophy have come to the forefront with the global shift to remote work. I have seen firsthand that the remote developer experience makes it more difficult to innovate, without regular in-person collaboration with peers. In the current COVID-19 environment, we’re lacking the normal face-to-face interaction at conferences, hackathons, or other gatherings where connections are made and inspiration may be found. The sole fact that development teams are distributed with the rest of the workforce makes communication and real-time collaboration and experimentation more difficult, the impact of which is often magnified as IT personnel are also required to help support digital transformations and troubleshoot remote employee challenges.

How DevOps Is Helping

Our remote work environment is accelerating the move to the cloud for many organizations. While the first wave of cloud adoption focused more around production-level enterprise deployments and infrastructure, we’re now seeing more workloads, including agile development, transferring over. As a result, DevOps is increasingly being moved out of internal IT shops and into the cloud where it has become more available for developers and some serious product developments are taking place.

This move to the cloud and increase in DevOps adoption enables remote teams to continue collaborating and completing projects at high speed, with the flexibility and agility required in today’s competitive environment.

DevOps encourages a continued culture of transparency and experimentation across organizations and empowers teams to better pinpoint inefficiencies and shift processes at an accelerated rate.

Looking Ahead

As the world continues to navigate the new normal, there will certainly be more challenges ahead as organizations adjust strategies and operations to accommodate fully remote work environments – with the developer landscape being no exception. As organizations and developers continue to have success with the cloud and remote tools and services, we will see executive management continue to invest in the areas that reinforce the move to remote work.

I’m grateful for how DevOps has helped me manage the challenges of working from home.

While the “new normal” for developers is still uncertain, one thing is clear: the growing emphasis on agility, development speed, and communication is here to stay and will continue to fuel the adoption of DevOps strategies beyond the developer world.

*Originally published on Hackernoon, September 25, 2020.

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Raj Singh

Raj Singh is a product manager at InterSystems focused on developer experience. He pioneered Web mapping-as-a-service in the late 1990s with Syncline, a startup he co-founded. After that he finished his PhD in Urban Planning at MIT, creating a distributed computing architecture for urban information systems based on web services design patterns. He then worked for a decade on spatial data interoperability challenges with the Open Geospatial Consortium. Prior to joining InterSystems, Raj worked in developer relations for database and data science cloud offerings at IBM. Follow Raj on Twitter: @rajrsingh.

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