In the first half of the twentieth century, Ford and other auto manufacturers built massive complexes with forges to smelt their own steel, sandstone mines to make their own glass, and hydroelectric plants to power the entire facility. It’s what they needed to do to build cars and get them out the door.
Like Ford, your products may be revolutionary, but in this day and age your infrastructure may not need to be built and managed in house. Instead, your company might be best served if your engineers spend their time on core product development and distribution rather than infrastructure.
You don’t write your own invoicing software, so why would you write your own customized deployment scripts?
Outsourced DevOps can be a real game changer. The key is to find experts who can supply you with tested, robust continuous integration and deployment patterns, a high level of automation, ChatOps tools, and autoscaling so you can focus on building, improving, and shipping your products.
Common Infrastructure Challenges
Let’s take a moment to look at some of the challenges in-house DevOps teams face:
- Architecture as an Afterthought – It’s hard to manage the many moving parts involved in huge infrastructure decisions. Think technology churn, disjointed frameworks, and cascading, costly problems down the road.
- No Way Out – Small, purpose-built tools may seem to meet your needs, but they’re often left unsupported in the long run and put you at their mercy.
- Untested Security Practices – Hidden security gotchas lead to problems that can’t be easily resolved by onsite staff.
The Outsourced DevOps Model
The right outsourced DevOps team can often help you achieve faster time to market and increased profitability when they do the following:
- Provide expert cloud services guidance, consulting, and implementation.
- Automate and make coherent development and production/staging environments.
- Dockerize and build stateless/autoscalable apps.
- Implement robust disaster recovery plans.
- Create zero-downtime environments using rolling or blue/green deployment routines.
Here are some best practices for your DevOps partner to follow:
- R&D – Work with you to document your existing infrastructure.
- Infrastructure Planning – Assess performance, security, and availability goals, then strategize and build the infrastructure your company needs.
- Iterative Enhancement – Implement regular iterations – set weekly priorities and provide regular updates.
- DevOps-as-a-Service – Choose a company that exists to protect your infrastructure investment with turnkey DevOps-as-a-Service packages that can be fine-tuned to meet your needs and provide long-term support.
- Future Proofing– Find a partner that positions you for long-term stability with the right toolset – one that can grow with you.
- Around-the-Clock Support – Make sure a dedicated team of experts watches over your platform 24/7/365.
- Free Agency – Be wary of long-term lock-in. Make sure you own everything so you can walk away from your DevOps provider in case you ever need to.
The Key Takeaway: Make sure you seek out a team with industry experience, a proven record, and a comprehensive set of DevOps tools and processes. And remember – while the Ford model may have been necessary in the early twentieth century, the infrastructure solution for most companies today is outsourced DevOps that reliably and cost effectively increases efficiencies and enables your team to focus on core competencies and deliver faster.