Facebook and DevOps

Facebook and DevOps set the pace for mobile app development

DevOps has reached the point of critical mass–the point where adoption accelerates from niche organizations on the cutting edge to a mainstream imperative for companies that want to remain competitive.

Pioneers like Facebook have helped to elevate DevOps tools and principles through example. Facebook has been able to release a new updated version of its mobile app thanks to DevOps practices. That sets an expectation with users for both the frequency and quality of mobile app development that forces other companies to get on board with DevOps in order to compete.

I wrote about the ‘Facebook effect’ on DevOps in this blog post:

DevOps is a relatively new trend. Many years ago—back before EDS was acquired by HP—I worked on a team that performed security analysis of software development projects. The entire process was methodical, bordering on tedious. By the time we got software ready to deploy, we had already amassed a laundry list of changes and fixes to apply to the next major release. It would take months to go back to step one and work through the development lifecycle before that next release would see the light of day. Rinse and repeat.

That entire concept seems foreign now. Everything is real time and instantaneous. The mobile revolution has completely changed the way we interact with software, and companies like Facebook have completely altered the expectations for software development and deployment.

The Facebook mobile app is updated and refreshed every two weeks like clockwork. That’s the new normal. Users expect apps to be constantly fixed and updated. A company that takes a month or more to fix a bug or deploy a refresh with new features and capabilities will quickly fade into obscurity. Users expect it now, and if you can’t deliver it, they’ll move on and find a different vendor who can.

In a roundabout way, Facebook is helping drive the trend. Andrew Storms, VP of security services at New Context and a respected authority on DevOps, notes that Facebook—like Netflix—was an early adopter of DevOps principles and tools. It may not have been called “DevOps,” but the demand to accelerate the development lifecycle without sacrificing stability or performance essentially required a DevOps approach.

Facebook and its web-giant peers like Amazon, Google, and others have fundamentally changed customer expectations. Now, all enterprises must become fast, efficient, software-driven businesses to meet their customers’ expectations.

Why DevOps? Why now?

Avi Cavale, CEO and co-founder of Shippable, points out that “Agile and DevOps is critical to mobile app development where deployment cycles are super fast. It’s a crowded, quick-moving space, and companies have to out-think and out-innovate their competition to survive. The average time an app remains in the top 10 list in an app store is only a month.”

To illustrate what DevOps means to the software development lifecycle, let’s take a look at learning how to drive. When you first learn to drive, you focus on every step of the process individually. There’s a methodical, linear way to do things: Check the sides and back of the vehicle before getting in; buckle up and adjust the seat, mirrors, and steering wheel; start the car; hands at 10 o’clock and 2 o’clock on the steering wheel; etc. A simple task like switching lanes invokes a multistep process that’s executed tediously and in order.

Read the full story on TechBeacon: Keeping up with the Facebooks: DevOps delivers faster mobile app development.

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