DevOps is something many IT leaders are either investing in heavily already, or moving up in priority as a focus moving forward. Technologies such as Oracle E-Business Suite, Database, or BI might not be the first thing that people think about regarding DevOps.

We consistently see companies face software delivery issues or challenges related to cost, speed, and quality. For example, issues associated with provisioning and maintaining environments, moving changes across environments, and dealing with outages in test and production environments. Too often IT is viewed by the business as a cost center vs. an organization which is well equipped to drive innovation and value. Many of the issues are a result from ineffective manual and scripted processes. In many cases there is limited visibility to what’s running across all environments, when things change, etc. and a lack of controls to ensure repeatable processes. Bottom line, many IT organizations have processes which are too costly, error prone and riskier than they should be. And both Business and IT leaders are demanding more from IT.

Enter DevOps!

So what is DevOps all about anyway? At the highest level, DevOps is a cross section of culture, process, and technology which puts a focus on collaboration and communication between Development, IT Operations and other roles such as Quality Assurance and Release Management. From a technology perspective, the heart of DevOps is automation of the processes associated with software delivery.

DevOps has its roots in trying to identify and fix the underlying conflict which exists because Development and Operation are driven by different goals and objectives. Development teams are incented by things such as innovation, speed, the ease of making change or adding features, and to a large extent being as self-sufficient as possible. On the other hand, Operations tends to value the stability and availability of systems and environments and look to planning more rigorously than many Development groups. Security, controls, and knowing the what, where, who, and when is always top of mind for Operations. DevOps practices and tools help improve how Dev and Ops work together and address the gaps which result from the so-called DevOps Conflict.

When considering a broad DevOps strategy, topics such as Cloud, Continuous Delivery, Continuous Integration, Agile, and automation all need to be included. We also need to make sure there is focus on the people and culture changes that are required to make the biggest impact possible.

Ultimately what we really care about are benefits which result from the people, process, and tooling associated with DevOps. Benefits include:

  • Faster time-to-market
  • Improved customer satisfaction
  • Better product quality
  • More reliable releases
  • Improved productivity
  • Increased ability to build the right solution

You might boil these down to “Faster, Better, Cheaper”.

OK, so what about Oracle? Regardless of industry or technology provider, there’s additional pressure on IT leaders to go faster than ever, innovate more, and get more out of technology spend. Many senior leaders look to the likes of Forrester and Gartner to understand process and technology strategies that should be used. Over the past few years, DevOps, Continuous Delivery, and Release Automation have been raised to a top priority among the Research community. This is increasing the focus within IT to take advantage of the many possibilities for improvement. Oracle customers face the same challenges, and their DevOps strategies should consider all aspects of the technology stack, including Infrastructure, Database, Middleware, and Applications. Of course, this goes for both on premise and cloud deployment architectures.

Oracle has traditionally lacked automation tooling, leaving it up to customers and partners to roll their own solutions. In many cases, a combination of open source tools, scripting, and manual actions would underpin the approach to trying to solve some of the pain points. Whether related to provisioning and configuration management, server management, build and CI, or Deploy and Release automation, Oracle customers have found it difficult to easily implement DevOps related practices. The cloud changes some of this, but what is needed is a product which makes it fast and easy to realize the benefits of DevOps and heavy automation both on-prem and with cloud, up and down the technology stack. And that’s exactly what we set out to achieve with FlexDeploy.

When we talk about shifting to faster, better, and more cost-effective approaches to delivering software, companies are at different points along the journey. Many Oracle customers are operating with more traditional processes, limited automation, and many on premises environments. Customers generally want to move to embracing more agile and continuous approaches to delivery. Flexagon believes it is critical that customers are able start with something small, vs. using a big bang approach to establishing DevOps and CD practices. The tools they use should support this gradual shift from left to right, making it easy to adopt improvements over time. And that’s what FlexDeploy is all about.

FlexDeploy is an Automation Platform that helps improve many aspects of the software delivery process, streamlining and helping make changes much faster, with higher quality, and lower cost. FlexDeploy is used by Developers, Operations, Testers, Release Managers, and others involved in the software delivery lifecycle. It’s a tool which has built-in support for everything from provisioning and configuration management through Build/CI, Deployment, Release, and Test Automation. The comprehensive and integrated design of FlexDeploy simplifies the implementation significantly, helping achieve the benefits of DevOps, CI, CD, and Release Automation. For example, rather than require a customer to purchase and implement a Continuous Integration Server and Artifact Repository, FlexDeploy has those capabilities out of the box. On the other hand, FlexDeploy is an Open platform which allows users to easily integrate 3rd party tools as well. For example, using Jenkins for CI and Nexus or Artifactory for repository management.

We talk a lot of the importance of automation, which is the anchor for DevOps, Continuous Delivery, and driving Agility into the enterprise. It’s also critical to have Controls and Visibility built into our processes. Examples include segregation of responsibilities, robust scheduling, injecting approvals into the change process, and having dashboards and reports which provide visibility to that what, where, who, and when of our environments pipelines. FlexDeploy has features across these areas, giving users the structure to help control the increase the agility that comes with automation.

With FlexDeploy, users get the visibility-controls-automation trifecta which is so key in implementing a DevOps solution and moving to better, faster, and cheaper software delivery. Remove any one of those three (imagine visibility and automation with no controls!) and you have a recipe for disaster. With FlexDeploy, your IT team can get back to innovating with the Oracle technologies you know and rely on, and stop spending so much time fighting fires and doing manual work.

Dan Goerdt

I have been in technology leadership roles for the past 20 years, spanning operating system and middleware product development, technology architecture, and software solution delivery focused on Oracle, IBM, and Open Source technologies. My experience with software automation contributed to the genesis and evolution of FlexDeploy, and I’m currently leading Strategy, Marketing, and Sales for Flexagon’s Products and Services.

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