3 Rules to Reduce Cost & Increase Efficiency with DevOps.
Russell Medway, Chief Operating Officer at QuoVadis, has spent more than 25 years managing complex information systems and infrastructure. In Bermuda he has worked for Ironshore Insurance, Endurance Group, Centre Solutions, and Zurich Financial Services. With his experience managing global enterprise IT operations and software deployments, and now a leading datacentre, Russell knows how to get the most out of teams and technology. In this post he offers his three key rules for anyone putting DevOps into practice.
#1 Make centralised monitoring your top DevOps priority.
Any DevOps approach should start with monitoring. It sounds obvious but you can only control what you know. We have a few different systems we use, the main one being CheckMK. With this system we can monitor down to a detailed level on all our equipment, right down to the port. That gives us information on the speed of our servers, any errors that may be occurring, plus visualised data which tells us how everything is performing in real time. The important thing is that any errors get flagged instantly. It’s about keeping the operational side of your business up and running without fail.
#2 Take human errors out of repetitive and manual tasks.
We’ve fully embraced automation to monitor our datacentre and keep our equipment running as efficiently as possible. That obviously has benefits in terms of making us more productive and enhancing overall security, but most importantly it has reduced our margin for human errors.
When you look at downtime or data recovery the fault often lies in human error. It’s the most common and costly aspect of managing complex IT systems and can be difficult to remove. Many systems still rely on human-enabled processes but there are ways to embrace automation without sacrificing control and accountability. It’s a good idea to start with any routine maintenance and data processing tasks that are repetitive or manual by nature. These are often where errors occur, and where simple automation can have the greatest impact. Once automated, these tasks can be monitored by your DevOps team which is equipped to respond instantly to any alerts or service requests.
#3 Design IT systems with failure in mind.
Sometimes a focus on efficiency and cost can result in a poorly designed IT system that can come crashing down at the flick of a switch. A DevOps approach promotes continuous monitoring, testing, feedback, and improvement to seek out potential failures before they occur. This approach is what allows us to design with failure in mind. Each build, tool and application are configured with a backup so we’re never at the mercy of one machine or provider should something go wrong. That’s what has allowed us to maintain 100% uptime for the past five years. We’re also unique in that we run three ISPs at any one time. We use software to load balance across providers, making intelligent decisions to get the fastest response. You don’t see that kind of service as standard from datacentres in Bermuda.
Whether you’re looking to reduce costs or improve efficiency, the main benefit of employing a DevOps approach is the effect it has on your workplace. Your team goes from working in siloes to rapidly solving problems while continuously finding new and creative ways to improve. That kind of focus has immediate benefits for teams as well as customers.
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