Multi-Modal DevOps – Discussion with Akshay Sharma

Questions & answers and audio interview by Outlook Series on Multi Modal DevOps with Akshay Sharma of Kovair Software

Q 1. What is Bi-Modal IT?

Ans: Gartner defined BiModal IT almost a decade ago describing Mode 1 legacy ALM with the classic waterfall model and mode 2 with Agile, DevOPs model of development and test…with separation of teams, separation of goals, metrics, and business outcomes… Since most firms will typically have both legacy Applications typically on-prem and newer Cloud-based as well, the Bi-Modal approach is to divide and conquer!

Q 2. Are there problems associated with Bi-Modal IT?

Ans: Initially no, it does make sense to start out this way, but after a while in my experience and having discussed things with multiple teams over the years, it leads to conflicts. With silos and different goals, metrics, and rewards structures comes different siloed solutions, that some how needs to converge in the end within the business overall… The legacy ALM teams feel they are the past, but are the carrier-grade or enterprise-grade folks with resiliency, and quality tested in…while the DevOPs folks believe they are the future, the innovators with agility baked in, and quality somehow factored in…in the OPs part of the equation…This can lead to sub-optimal solutions being architected and potential team conflicts.

Q 3. So, how do you suggest resolving team conflicts?

Ans: Concurrent Multi-modal IT where common tools, common architectures and common teams, supporting both legacy ALM and newer DevOPs occur, with common metrics, common data lakes, common APIs, common platforms, common business goals, where cohesiveness/collaboration is the norm… the DevOPs folks benefit from quality test and measurement approaches from the ALM teams, and the ALM teams learn from Agile approaches…hopefully leading to better optimal deployments, and more team synergies.

Q 4. What is driving concurrent Multi-Modal IT?

  • The synergies of collaboration from the legacy ALM teams and DevOPs teams learn to work together and bring about faster solutions, with better quality built in.
  • As silos are broken down, hybrid solutions will occur converging legacy with newer solutions, hopefully leading to better-architected deployments as we transition to the newer Digitally Transformed Business…hopefully in the new world workflows of solutions are agnostic whether they are on-prem in dedicated servers, in the cloud megaplexes like MSFT Azure, Google, Amazon AWS, or in newer Telco Edge Computing soon to be offered with the advent of 5G. These solutions will benefit from both ALM and DevOPs approaches.
  • Additionally, within these newer solutions, perhaps we can achieve more Agile services from the Service-oriented architecture (SOA) that can result…leading to newer business outcomes.

Q 5. Do you see cross functional development and deployment teams in the future?

Ans: Yes, hybrid development, hybrid solutions, with converged offerings, within the hybrid Cloud Continuum. The legacy solutions will benefit from newer API-driven platforms in the cloud, newer AI/ML platforms with shared analytics over common data lakes, and common software busses, leading to more agile offerings, while the cloud based DevOPs-oriented solutions will benefit from rigorous testing, security and QA metrics, and legacy back office aspects of subscriber customer relationship management platforms from software connectors: all being brought into the equation earlier in the process, along with integrations with legacy solutions that are tried and true…leading to newer hyper-converged solutions…that truly is platform agnostic, scalable, and offers newer innovative services..

Q 6. Is it possible for IT to be more of a value center rather just a cost center?

Ans: Yes, this requires newer thinking in how the solutions and IT services are monetized as more of a Service-oriented architecture (SOA) is realized and more of the solutions are offered as a service. If Amazon just built their cloud offerings for themselves, AWS would just be a cost-center, now it’s a highly profitable growth engine that might be as valuable as the rest of Amazon. Similarly, telecom providers had their central offices being a cost center, and now with 5G coming these central offices are poised to be nano-data centers with Edge Computing supporting newer virtual CPE functions, AI/ML, and DevOPs-styles of Agile, on demand services, this can be a game-changer. Enterprises too can see how their closed, siloed solutions can become offered As-a-Service, leading to newer business models… e.g. 8×8 and Cisco both have leveraged their VoIP platforms, creating Unified Communications as a Service offering like WebEx… turning silos to newer business units…But to make this leap requires holistic thinking, newer platforms and tools, and API-driven offerings as we modularize everything as a Service… The Service-oriented architecture (SOA) we heard from a decade ago becomes real!

Q 7. Is closed loop automation achievable?

Ans: Yes, by collecting the real-world metrics from the network, the applications, and customer feedback in CRM systems, using AI/ML or with the correct algorithms and policy servers that help decide what’s needed to tune the network, orchestrate the applications, or configure them both, in cloud, on-prem or in the mobile world, we can get to what’s termed Intent-based networks and services leveraging predictive analytics in the future. This hopefully will lead to a Digitally Transformed Algorithmic Business! Imagine elastically scaling the servers, the software applications, the network capacity, as needed with newer more dynamic pay-as-you-grow business models…Soon we are getting there as an industry, but this needs newer tools, methods and platforms to support in this transition.

Q 8. What is needed to realize concurrent Multi-Modal IT?

Ans: Concurrent Multi-Modal IT requires a common set of tools, metrics, and platforms supporting collaborative development, testing and operations with common shared analytics, shared APIs, shared data lakes, that can leverage both legacy and Agile development in the same teams… As we transition in this journey, we will see the following:
  • Business value-based metrics being captured in real-time and enhancing the business ideally with automated feedback loops
  • These business metrics are given more importance than project-specific siloed goals of the past
  • Inter-operability with common API’s becomes the norm,
  • Shared services that are platform agnostic becomes the norm: mobile, web, on-prem, cloud, all working with the same architecture, team, process/methods, and tools…
  • Flexibility, Agility, and Adaptability becomes the norm…with evolutionary enhancements as needed.

Q 9. How does Kovair’s platform play a role in concurrent Multi-Modal IT?

Ans: Kovair’s platform supports all of the above, by having a common platform, for legacy ALM and DevOPs, a common software bus to various 3-party solutions, shared data lake offerings, supporting shared analytics, an API platform supporting REST interfaces along with Connectors to 3rd-party systems as well, leads to more collaboration between legacy ALM development and Agile DevOPs development, enabling this transition.

Q 10. Could you help connect the dots between APIs, Data Lakes and Software Busses for our audience?

Ans: Here, more hybrid, hyper-converged solutions can result whereby legacy ALM developers may integrate with newer cloud-based services, and vice versa. As enterprises digitally transform their business they likely will have a mixture of legacy services and newer cloud-based offerings, on-prem and hosted, and by leveraging platforms like Kovair, can lead to better sharing of data analytics, better integration to 3rd-party solutions like CRM providers, and in the future potentially to newer AI/ML providers leading more adaptive services…as well newer business models from the Service Oriented Architecture hopefully leading to a value-centered IT department as opposed to being a Cost Center !

Q 11. How would you advise organizations seeking to arrive at a concurrent Multi-Modal mindset?

  • First, the organizations need to come together with common goals, common business metrics, common training on common platforms. And by breaking down the silos and learning by doing, it all comes together.
  • Secondly, Championing from a legacy Lifecycle Process-based world to a newer Real-time Event-Driven world
  • Thirdly, Forming teams with an Adaptive and DevOps-style Deployment Architecture with re-training of folks as needed on the legacy systems, but also bringing the next-gen folks to become aware of the legacy platforms, tools, and Q/A processes as well,
  • Fourthly, Establishing next-gen Orchestration Frameworks for Services and Infrastructure using API Middleware, Agile developments tools, newer Software Bus middleware with adaptors to 3rd-party systems, with Real-time Diagnostics and Analytics, Test and Measurement metrics, that have business outcomes, with common business goals and rewards to drive change
  • Finally, automated feedback loops with Closed Loop Automation, AI/ML or Algorithmic solutions eventually to tune the services as needed.

Q 12. When it comes to transitioning from legacy systems to newer DevOps based systems, what type of approach should be leveraged?

Ans: Multiple approaches exist. From virtualization of the legacy solutions and taking it to the cloud, where vendors in the Micro-services/Virtualization space provide solutions, making it more Agile, leveraging common API solutions from vendors, leveraging software bus solutions, common data lakes, and common platforms and tools from vendors like Kovair with Kovair’s Omnibus platform, and Kovair’s REST API‘s, this transition will become more seamless…

Q 13. How about some next steps for CIOs?

Ans: Retiring the old siloed thinking of the past would be step 1, transitioning the teams to common goals, metrics, tools and platforms would be step 2, and leveraging the best of both worlds in each of the solutions and services deployed from legacy to next-gen… eventually figuring out if any of these can be offered as a service, leveraging SOA principals. to not only internal groups but externally to transform from a cost center to a value center, and finally figuring out how to automatically adapt or tune the services with real-time metrics can be truly transformative!

Q 14. Which Kovair products can be leveraged for concurrent Multi-Modal IT?

Ans: All of the Kovair solutions can play a role in Concurrent Multi-Modal IT!

Q 15. Can you share a use case with the audience?

Ans: Yes, in the world today many vendors are looking to offer their solutions as a Service, leveraging the Cloud, and DevOPs, but often are constrained with legacy ALM-based solutions. E.g Akamai providing Security for its own CDN applications and making it as a Service. Cisco offering UCaaS: Unified Communications as a Service with Webex, leveraging it’s VoIP platforms, Amazon with AWS, IBM offering Watson for AI and Machine Learning and now offering it as service on 3rd-party clouds including behavioral analytics for Cybersecurity as a Service… and now with 5G the carriers will jump in too offering virtual CPE as a Service…from PBX’s, SD-WAN offerings, Load Balancers, Firewalls, IoT offerings and more ! But how do we get there? Just porting the code from one domain to another won’t cut it. In this hybrid world of the cloud Continuum from on-prem solutions and taking it to the cloud megaplexes and soon 5G Edge Clouds is going to be challenging, but hopefully rewarding with newer Elasticity and operational efficiencies and hopefully newer business models as well as hopefully newer innovations. Businesses will become more Agile, Digitally Transformed leveraging common API solutions from vendors like Kovair, ideally leveraging software bus solutions, common data lakes, and common platforms and tools, this transition will become more seamless…

Q 16. Would you like to add anything to our discussion before we wrap up for today?

Ans: Yes, these are exciting times with newer solutions, newer thinking, with newer challenges, but hopefully alleviated with better solutions from platform providers as we discussed. Hopefully, the result is better harmony within IT teams and better business outcomes…

Q 17. Where can our audience get more information on concurrent Multi-Modal DevOps?

Ans: Kovair as well as consulting/advisory firms thinking beyond the silos of the past, to bridging solutions in the near term and future…would be the best place to start! Source, Outlook Series – Engineering Transformation: From Bi-Modal IT to Concurrent Multi-Modal DevOps