The popular technology blog, readwrite, has recently published a post, “How The Web Is Reshaping Business In Its Image“.
I gathered the following main points from the post:
- Software is forcing us to change how we do business
- DevOps practices are helping businesses change the practice of software development and deployment
- Organizations have begun to use the public cloud to deploy modern applications
Reshaping Business Is Job Of Technology
Alas, most of the article is like “old wine in a new bottle”! Reshaping business is always the job of technology and web (as a technology) is no different.
Software Has Always Reshaped business
Business processes have always changed with technology, right from the days of the earliest ERP implementations, if not earlier.
Michael Hammer popularized the idea of Business Process Re-engineering (BPR) in 1990 and 60% of the Fortune 500 companies had jumped on to the bandwagon within three years.
By the way, Michael Hammer is a former professor of Computer Science at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT)!
DevOps Is Not A Silver Bullet
The article cites findings from a survey conducted by Puppet Labs to claim that DevOps helps businesses win by letting them reshape around software development and deployment.
DevOps is a software development method that stresses communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and operations professionals.
Doesn’t it sound very similar to the Agile method?
Of course, it does!
That is because, as Wikipedia notes, “Many of the ideas (and people) involved in DevOps came from the Enterprise Systems Management and Agile software development movements.”
However, DevOps is neither a revolutionary new idea nor a silver bullet for reshaping business.
Let us briefly understand how DevOps became popular.
There was no difference between (computer) developers and operators in the earliest days of computing.
These roles started to separate in the ’60s with the arrival of mainframe systems.
Minicomputers (70s) and microcomputers (80s) led to the modern “IT Operations” culture.
Google, Amazon, etc., led the current shift to DevOps by popularizing distributed computing spread over hundreds of thousands of nodes. They needed to manage “infrastructure as a code”.
Managing infrastructure through software is, however, not a radically new idea.
Perl started to automate system administration since the late 80s.
As the pendulum swings back, development and operations teams may again separate to improve efficiencies!
Public Cloud Has Its Limitations
The article claims that the adoption to public cloud by businesses is the clearest sign of the reshaping of business.
I am not so convinced.
Yes, organizations are increasingly using public cloud to deploy enterprise applications.
However, this is more because the public cloud providers have satisfactorily started addressing the security, compliance, and related requirements.
Cost-benefit trade-offs will always dictate the choice between cloud (public or private) and data center.