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Lori MacVittie

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Newton's First Law of Devops

Deployment patterns enabling continuous delivery help align operations with development - and keep user frustration to a minimum

One of the most difficult transitions for operations to make is the need to support releases more frequently. While most organizations will never match the velocity of a Facebook or Netflix, there is still a desire to eliminate the "reduced speed zone" most applications run into when trying to move into production.

The reason for the reduced speed zone is the potential for downtime, not only for the application (version) being released but for other applications and services dependent on the same infrastructure. Misconfiguration is, after all, the leading cause of downtime in data centers across the globe.

Thus, operations has good reason to be wary. And yet reducing the speed at which an application actually moves into production is exactly the opposite direction application development - and the business - want to go. They want to go faster, to be more agile, to release incrementally. Because application development rules today follow Newton's First Law of Motion: an object at rest stays at rest and an object in motion stays in motion with the same speed and in the same direction unless acted upon by an unbalanced force.

Operations does not want to be that unbalanced force that stops the object.

That's why we're seeing more "deployment patterns" or "devops patterns". That's why we're seeing an increasing need for programmability in the data path, i.e. in the network.

Today, the complexity of infrastructure in production environments - the network, the application infrastructure, the point solutions, the services - impedes continuous deployment efforts by failing to meet devops need to not just automate, but implement the patterns and emerging architectures that keep deployments moving in the same direction and with the same speed as they are released by developers.

These patterns depend on agility that is achieved primarily through programmability. Whether it's to implement blue-green deployments, a/b testing, versioning patterns or canary deployments - devops is in need of a devops platform, if you will, that will provide the programmability necessary to implement the deployment patterns that enable continuous delivery. A platform that eliminates the unbalanced force that has traditionally slowed down the release cycle, frustrating users and the business alike.

That platform needs to be fast, flexible, and programmable. It needs to be able to bridge the gap between traditional and modern infrastructure. It needs to be API-enabled and yet easy to manage.

More than anything else, that platform needs to exist.

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More Stories By Lori MacVittie

Lori MacVittie is responsible for education and evangelism of application services available across F5’s entire product suite. Her role includes authorship of technical materials and participation in a number of community-based forums and industry standards organizations, among other efforts. MacVittie has extensive programming experience as an application architect, as well as network and systems development and administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, MacVittie was an award-winning Senior Technology Editor at Network Computing Magazine, where she conducted product research and evaluation focused on integration with application and network architectures, and authored articles on a variety of topics aimed at IT professionals. Her most recent area of focus included SOA-related products and architectures. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University.