There are many technology trends sweeping the business data space, but the single goal of all of them is to achieve a more agile operation and organization. Enterprise agility isn’t a single initiative but rather a collection of activities and technologies that lead toward that goal. This includes adoption of microservices, containers, and Kubernetes to increase the flexibility of systems, applications, and data by releasing them from underlying hardware. In addition, practices such as DevOps are helping to increase the level of collaboration possible for fast-moving enterprises.
Simply put, it’s all about the business—pursuing greater agility is important in light of the need to transform the enterprise data space. “Regardless of size, organizations need to be nimble enough to compete with established players as well as born-in-the cloud organizations to meet a new level of business demands,” said Gerald Venzl, senior principal product manager for Oracle.
Does IT help agility or stand in the way? All too often, it’s the latter. “Traditional IT systems were not built with agility necessarily in mind,” said Pete Brey, director of product marketing for Red Hat Data Analytics Infrastructure. As a result, these systems tended to be cumbersome to use and update, he added.
Traditional databases “were built to support traditional monolithic applications residing in data centers, not distributed applications that would need and use data in the cloud—let alone out at the edge of the network in the cases of mobile and IoT,” said Lewis Carr, senior director of product marketing at Actian. “In real time, the vast majority of these applications manipulated relatively little data compared to today’s applications that rely on data to automate processes, derive insights, and deliver decision support.”
RETHINKING ORG CHARTS
Still, IT and data professionals are at the forefront, addressing the challenge of getting data technologies and practices out of the way and bringing forth greater agility. Brian Jones, infrastructure cloud architect with the secure DevOps team at Liberty Mutual, is a believer in the DevOps movement, which aims to bring development and operations activity into sync and allow for rapid delivery of solutions. “The cloud has given startups the ability to disrupt markets that were once untouchable,” he said. “This is one of the main factors leading enterprises to increase their agility. The implementation of DevOps practices allows enterprises to do this.” However, such a transformation takes time, he cautioned. “DevOps doesn’t just happen because one team decides it’s the right thing to do. It requires a cultural change at all levels of your IT organization.”
DevOps “is a response to IT’s inability to meet the increasing demands of the business,” said Mark Levy, director of strategy, software delivery at Micro Focus. “DevOps practices, such as continuous delivery, optimize and automate software deployments to ensure that software delivery is not a constraint in delivering business value. Database teams, which rely most on manual processes, are struggling to keep up with the flood of requests they receive to create, review, and deploy database changes in support of continuous delivery. This technology gap creates a constraint in the continuous delivery process and is a prime candidate for optimization and automation.”