Cloud and DevOps practices help make app development a breeze

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This article is part of our Essential Guide: A guide to working with Agile and DevOps methods

At Cloud Expo, get the latest thoughts on DevOps and Agile

Everyone wants to be Agile and do DevOps, but, of course, it's harder than it seems. Find out what industry experts will be talking about at Cloud Expo.

It might be called the Cloud Expo, but next week in New York City, a lot of speakers and attendees will be focused on more down to earth, but perhaps harder to pin down topics -- DevOps and Agile.

What's left to talk about? Quite a bit, it turns out. Is Agile so mature it's not working as well as it could? And can DevOps actually pave the way to a successful experience in the cloud? Some industry experts will be making those cases at Cloud Expo. The timing for the conversations is good, because both DevOps and Agile continue to be among the most talked-about topics in the development community.

Right now, seemingly every company is doing some kind of Agile development, but it's gotten a bit out of control, said Charles Kendrick, CTO and chief architect for Isomorphic Software, based in San Francisco.

Kendrick, who will be speaking at Cloud Expo, said he thinks a profound communication fatigue has beset workplaces using Agile. "What we see going wrong with Agile a lot of the time is that companies ramp up communication, but it's not being done effectively," he said. "Everyone in a room sits there a number of hours, and there's exhaustion that sets in, and you get people who are tired and resentful about being in meetings. And at the same time, the business users you need to hear from can't spare the time to be in the meeting."

The solution, he said, is to make communication easy, no matter where you are, and take the conference room out of the equation. "We think the more effective process is a collaborative web-based tool where people can build and share prototypes."

Isomorphic's new offering, based on the Reify platform, is now in beta and is targeted at both developers and business users, Kendrick said. Existing development platforms just let developers create a mock-up, and once it gets approved, they have to "start all over again with implementation," Kendrick said. Reify turns the mock-up in to working code for developers and streamlines communication between developers and the business side.

It really is all about communication between those two groups when it comes to DevOps and Agile, said Stephen Elliot, vice president of IT infrastructure and cloud practice at market research firm IDC. "Somebody has to understand why it is we're doing what we're doing and ask if understanding the business perspective has an impact on your time to market, and speed and quality, and everything else."

You can pick up the key app and move to the cloud in a heartbeat.
Robert ReevesCTO of Datical

And when it comes to perspective, nowhere is it more important than when considering a cloud effort, said Robert Reeves, CTO of Datical Inc., an Agile database automation company in Austin, Texas.

Though Reeves likens DevOps to a teenaged boy's love life -- "everyone's talking about it, but no one's really doing it" -- he stressed the importance of getting your house in order before moving to the cloud. And the way to do that is through a successful DevOps implementation. "The thesis of my presentation is if you want to get to the cloud, you have got to have a sound DevOps strategy in place before you can get there," Reeves said.

He said he believes CIOs aren't clear on how manual some of the software release process can be, particularly when it comes to databases. And that's why "just throwing bodies into it and talking about DevOps and the cloud" isn't going to result in a successful strategy, he said. "If you live out of a suitcase, it's a breeze to move," he explained. "You just pick up and go. That's what DevOps does for us. You can pick up the key app and move to the cloud in a heartbeat."

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