A Compelling Case For DevOps?

Since I first learned of its existence, I had a mental image of devops that, to me, looks like a few classes of sugar-laced kindergartners running around the playground with scissors, certain that someone would end up hurt pretty bad.  While I certainly think there is an opportunity for bad behavior, like using devops as purely a cover to reduce costs, resulting in important steps being skipped, the recent spate of vulnerabilities with Apache Struts has me wondering if NOT going the devops direction is the more risky path.

Traditionally, business applications that use components like Apache Struts tended to be pretty important to operations, and therefore changes are very measured – often allowing only a few change windows per year.  Making so few changes per year cause a few problems:

  1. When a critical vulnerability is announced, like we have with Struts, the next change window may be a long way off, and performing an interim change is politically difficult to do, and waiting becomes the path of least resistance
  2. Application teams make changes to the application environment so infrequently that testing plans may not be well refined, making a delay until the next change window the most appealing plan

In our current world, we need the agility and confidence to rapidly address critical fixes, like we continue to see with Struts, despite the complexity of environments that Struts tends to be part of.

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