Vice President, DevOps Product and Solutions Marketing at CA Technologies

Aruna Ravichandran

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Related Topics: Cloud Computing, Application Performance Management (APM), DevOps Journal

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DevOps Requires APM | @DevOpsSummit @CAInc #DevOps #APM

Every IT organization bent on cloud excellence should make cloud APM an integral component of their DevOps environment

Much of the discussion around cloud DevOps focuses on the speed with which companies need to get new code into production. This focus is important - because in an increasingly digital marketplace, new code enables new value propositions. New code is also often essential for maintaining competitive parity with market innovators.

But new code doesn't just have to deliver the functionality the business requires. It also has to behave well because the behavior of code in the cloud affects performance, cost, reliability, and scalability. For developers to write code that behaves well, they need great cloud APM.

What Cloud APM Tells Cloud Developers
Most people think almost exclusively about what cloud APM tells cloud ops teams. After all, those ops teams need APM tools that empower them to quickly pinpoint performance bottlenecks and the root causes of application outages. With the right APM tools, cloud ops teams can rapidly resolve - and even proactively prevent - capacity issues that can adversely impact the user/customer experience.

Ops teams, however, don't modify code. They have to live with what developers produce. If code is written inefficiently, ops has no choice but to add provisioning as necessary to meet service-level objectives.

Developers, on the other hand, can fix bad code behaviors. The right cloud APM technology can tell them exactly what those behaviors are. In fact, the insights provided by APM tools are indispensable to any development team charged with writing excellent code.

Cloud APM, in other words, is the feedback loop that cloud developers need to ensure that DevOps is not only functionally Agile but also operationally excellent.

Completing the DevOps Loop

Of course, completing the cloud DevOps loop requires more than just a good APM tool. You also need processes that capture the problematic code behaviors discovered via APM and feed them into your software change management environment. These processes should include:

  • Clearly itemized code behavior issues. It's not enough just to tell developers their code is somehow inefficient. They need hard data on specific issues. Is a middleware workload getting triggered with surprising frequency? Are too many database threads being opened - while too few get closed? These specifics are essential for ensuring that developers apply their skills in ways that actually deliver value.
  • Well-managed issue prioritization/triage. A core aspect of Agile development is smart control of scope. In keeping with this scope control, DevOps teams need to make sure they appropriately prioritize code behavior issues based on how they impact cost and user experience.
  • Issue accountability. Once developers work on a code behavior issue, it's essential to monitor the results. Those results cumulatively drive learning that makes the whole process more effective and efficient - whether it's developers learning how to write better-behaving code or DevOps managers learning that some of the issues they tend to flag aren't code-related at all.

Organizations that leverage cloud APM in this way will significantly improve the quality and consistency of their end-user experience, while also achieving non-trivial reductions in cloud costs. Proactive attention to code behaviors also substantially mitigates the business risks associated with full-scale service outages.

For these reasons and more, every IT organization bent on cloud excellence should make cloud APM an integral component of their DevOps environment.

More Stories By Aruna Ravichandran

Aruna Ravichandran has over 20 years of experience in building and marketing products in various markets such as IT Operations Management (APM, Infrastructure management, Service Management, Cloud Management, Analytics, Log Management, and Data Center Infrastructure Management), Continuous Delivery, Test Automation, Security and SDN. In her current role, she leads the product and solutions marketing, strategy, market segmentation, messaging, positioning, competitive and sales enablement across CA's DevOps portfolio.

Prior to CA, Aruna worked at Juniper Networks and Hewlett Packard where-in she led executive leadership roles in marketing and engineering.

Aruna is co-author of the book, "DevOps for Digital Leaders", which was published in 2016 and was named one of Top 100 The Most Influential Women in Silicon Valley by the San Jose Business Journal as well as 2016 Most Powerful and Influential Woman Award by the National Diversity Council.

Aruna holds a Masters in Computer Engineering and a MBA from Santa Clara University.

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