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All together now: Platforms can consolidate the best of developer, business, and risk experience

Deloitte on Cloud Blog

What do developers really want? They want to write code. They take pride in knowing they “built that,” and find immense satisfaction in seeing their code efficiently perform a task.

July 17, 2020

A blog post by Dave Knight, Solution Architect | IBM and Red Hat Alliances, Deloitte Consulting LLP

Just as important: They love being part of a community—a place where they can share their accomplishments and skills, communicating with and learning from others. But once developers work in an enterprise development setting, many find that the things they love about coding move further out of reach.

The thrill is gone…?

Developers working in a traditional enterprise setting encounter some predictable challenges. Their passion often runs directly into enterprise IT standards, security and regulatory compliance, deployment standards, and project management protocols—all good, necessary elements of enterprise-level development, but cumbersome when addressed on a project-by-project basis. As a result, developers who start their workday excited to write code can find themselves bogged down in meeting after meeting designed to ensure that their work on each development project is aligned with enterprise standards and needs. For many, the thrill of writing code is too often dulled by the pre-work required before they can even get underway, such as:

  • Provisioning infrastructure (which rarely, if ever, matches production)
  • Installing operating systems that are configured to IT standards and hardened to security standards
  • Locating, vetting, and installing development tools and libraries
  • Testing code after it is written, on everything from accessibility and security to unit tests for functionality, integration tests for functionality, and performance
  • Scheduling code for deployment

Imagine running through this barrage of requirements for each individual project—spending days in meetings sharing requirements, getting infrastructure provisioned, and making sure every decision is reviewed and approved. It’s easy to see how a developer’s passion for writing code withers in the harsh sunlight of day-to-day enterprise requirements.

The rise—and promise—of DevOps

Organizations that have adopted DevOps principles are finding new ways to preserve the practical spirit of software development in the face of their rigorous requirements. In a DevOps environment, developers, security specialists, and IT operations teams work together to reduce the number of handoffs required between their groups in order to accelerate project delivery. The benefits of this approach are well documented, and can include:

  • Reduced friction between dev and ops
  • Faster path to innovation
  • Security-embedded applications
  • Integration built into the development process

But due to the enhanced collaboration and interdependencies, DevOps practices alone may not result in fewer repetitive meetings and other coordination activities, even as they bring a host of other benefits. That’s where a platform comes in.

Using platforms to preserve what developers love about coding

A DevOps-enabled platform can make all the difference for developers. For example, a Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform (OCP) with IBM Cloud Pak for Multicloud Management can help preserve and enable the creativity that first attracted developers to writing code. How? By building many key DevOps-centered principles and capabilities directly into the platform, including:

  • Defining the underlying infrastructure when OCP is installed and configured
  • Enabling multiple clouds and even data center resources to coexist
  • Standardizing development tools and making them available to developers as part of a catalog of pre-approved tools
  • Integration with DevOps toolchains, pipelines, and code repositories
  • Embracing industry-standard security requirements and allowing security teams to enforce them on all containers deployed in the platform—with one click
  • Identifying when containers have been tampered with and preventing their deployment
  • Securing operating system images and making them available as the only option for new deployments

Nearly all of these benefits can be realized without a platform. But with a platform, IT and security teams don’t have to build all their expertise and controls into each individual project, or trust that developers will remember to implement them in their projects. The platform operates like a secure fence that gives everyone inside the ability to do what they want within its boundaries.

DevOps strategies work well for the businesses that adopt them, but in practice, they can be a mixed bag for developers. This is one important reason why so many organizations have turned to platforms that come with a DevOps approach built in, offering the same level of rigor to all projects without having to develop and enforce it for each project individually. The result for developers? Fewer distractions, and a greatly enhanced ability to focus on what they do best: applying their creativity to writing the code that helps their organizations operate at a higher level. For the business, when developers are focused on what’s really important, it can add up to faster, more effective innovation and a more competitive footing in the marketplace.

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