Talking about DevOps can be tricky, because as a somewhat nebulous concept it is not always straightforward to explain to the uninitiated.
Thankfully there are a number of examples in which the effective use of DevOps has made a demonstrable difference to the direction of well-known IT projects.
So let’s take a look at a handful of the most significant breakthroughs that were facilitated and catalyzed by DevOps.
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Back in the mists of time, e-commerce giant Amazon faced a major, costly conundrum; how could it anticipate and plan for seasonal surges in visitor numbers without being left with a software and hardware setup that was massively overspecified during off-peak periods?
Rather than be beholden to the costly and often unpredictable whims of consumer spending, and be limited by the inflexibility of legacy systems, making the leap to Amazon Web Services (AWS) became incredibly appealing.
This was not just about scalability; it was only by listening to software engineers that this shift also embraced the opportunity for continuous deployment. Implementing code in seconds, rather than undergoing a protracted waiting period, was a boon.
While not every organization can enjoy the resources and expertise of Amazon, having a solid DevOps consulting strategy in place can unlock similar innovations in even the smallest teams.
It should be no surprise that the world’s largest social network is also an organization that embraced DevOps-inspired approaches to development sooner than almost anyone else, and was instrumental in shaping policies which are common across all sorts of firms today.
In particular, its early decision to continuously evolve and improve its platform and, more importantly, embrace automation as much as possible, enabled it to become a behemoth in an incredibly competitive marketplace.
It also trained its users to become accustomed to these frequent updates that are part and parcel of a rapid, perpetual development cycle. This has also been advantageous to rivals and contemporaries targeting other niches.
Many Netflix customers might not even remember that this video streaming giant began life as a company which posted physical discs to people so they could watch films at home.
One of the ways that it was able to take streaming mainstream was by automating the stress-testing of its key infrastructural components, rather than doing this manually or, worse still, not doing it at all.
Thanks to this proactive, efficient testing strategy, along with its affection for continuous development, Netflix is known for its resilient services. Indeed its outages only ever really occur when AWS, the cloud-powered backend that fuels Netflix, is out of action, which happens rarely.
Agility may be at the center of Etsy’s development strategy right now, but it took an overhaul of its management team and a healthy dose of DevOps medicine to bring us to this stage.
Turn back the clock a few years, and bi-weekly rollouts of new code hampered site performance for hours at a time, which was bad for users and bad for the brand as a whole.
Now, by radically changing its practices and automating deployment in a major way, this happens 50 times each and every day, with the amount of disruption caused significantly shrunk.
Cross-team collaboration and communication are second to none within Etsy, and it is a great example of a DevOps success story that continues to pay dividends.
Ultimately, any big tech brand you care to name will have used DevOps to get to its current position of prominence, so this signals that other ambitious organizations must follow suit if they want to be in contention for greatness.