5 DevOps tips – all don’ts!

JUST DONT
JUST DONT

5 DevOps tips – all don’ts!

This blog is a safe space – so let’s just say it.

DevOps is hard work and boring.

There. We said it.

To most people in tech and software, DevOps is tedium and busywork that gets in the way of the “real” work – making software.

This is why it’s often left by the wayside, or done improperly. 

So, what if we told you that if you got it right, your job would be better, more fun, your business more profitable – all that kind of pie in the sky fantasy stuff?

The fact is – DevOps works. That’s why there are entire industries around it. But it requires the right mindset, the right skill set and the right people to really nail DevOps effectively.

If you can avoid the most common pitfalls, you’ll stay ahead of the competition. And in tech, you’re rarely at the top if you’re not one of the best.

Done right, DevOps delivers a fast, autonomous culture in a large organisation – where continuous product flow is the norm. But without guidance, teams will only ever pay lip service to DevOps, and never realise the potential of it. It’ll end up a box-ticking exercise, and eventually fall by the wayside again.

Don’t let that happen; in fact, don’t do a lot of things… 

Here’s a top 5 list of everything not to do when you adopt the DevOps culture.

1. Don’t skimp on skills

You can’t just say “hey, we’re DevOps focused now”, and leave it at that. You’ve got to invest in it for the desired outcomes.

You’ll need people with specific skills to get DevOps running effectively. You can train and upskill members of your team, or make new hires – or seek out contractors and DevOps consultants to help a small team transition, without committing to a new full-time employee.

Keep on top of training, and make sure everyone’s on board. Like we said – it can be boring to those doing the work day in, day out – so streamline it and make it simple where it counts.

DevOps can only succeed when everyone in the team is familiar and comfortable with the tools and processes. Give tailored access to tools and functions to individual members, to keep it simple – it’s more likely that they’ll integrate it into their day this way.

2. Don’t miss the metrics

With sophisticated analytics built into modern DevOps tools, getting data isn’t the problem; using it effectively is.

One of the biggest keys to success in DevOps is keeping track of progress. And to do this, you need the right metrics. By making the relevant measurements and then adjusting processes and tools, you’ll get the best results.

And if you don’t? You’re fumbling around in the dark. With no data to base your decisions on, you’ll have no insight into what’s working. Everyone wants to see different results and at different stages, so make sure the team and leadership all agree on goals before delving into DevOps.

3. Don’t choose tech over people

Automation, smart features, and advanced technology are no substitute for people. DevOps needs buy-in from the top down, champions in the company and collaboration throughout –  tech can’t provide that mindset. It can only facilitate it.

The success of DevOps depends on the bringing together of teams. Nothing happens without effective communication, collaboration, and cooperation. Culture makes companies successful, and the same goes for DevOps. That’s got to come from leadership and filter through everything you do.

And no – after work socials, a coffee machine and a ping pong table are not a company culture. But feeling safe to speak about problems and to communicate with key people across teams is a sign of a good one.

Put your people first. Run through new tech and processes with them first. Value them over the tech in play first. What’s good for your team is good for business – and for your DevOps strategies.

4. Don’t assume automation will fix everything

Automation is important – but working with legacy systems across multiple departments and siloed teams, it can be hard to know where to start. It’s easier in startups and small, agile teams, where things move quickly and teams are encouraged to fail fast. In older, larger, slower-moving firms, not so much. Automation takes time, and it may not become full or standardised over your tenure at the company.

A bad automated process is exactly the same as a bad manual process – it’s just bad.

Instead of automating, fix the manual process first: figure out where thighs fall off track, and how to improve what you already have in place. Then, seek to automate tasks within the process.

Test it on a live project that’s fairly low-stakes. You’ll need experience of it in practice, but don’t go all-in until you’ve established a framework for automation.

5. Don’t forget to rinse and repeat. Always repeat…

DevOps, completed it mate. Said nobody, ever.

DevOps is all about continuous, incremental improvement. It’s a marathon, not a sprint – or actually, it’s more like the development of an athlete. It takes dedication, drive, and a desire to be the best version of yourself. Talent alone won’t get the results; you need to constantly be working towards the goal, assessing performance accurately at each key phase, and making changes to improve weaknesses.

This goes for your product, your team, your process – everything. Good DevOps never stops. It’s not a destination, it’s a journey.

And if you need support, we’re along for the ride.

One more… Don’t forget to hire elite-level DevOps consultants

ClearHub specialises in finding the best DevOps consultants in the world; vetted, skills-checked and ready to get results.

Want to know more? Get in touch with the ClearHub team today – call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.

 

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Is the Cloud good for the environment?

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Is the Cloud good for the environment?

If you upgrade your phone every year or two, you’re not alone. If your company regularly renews tech contracts and gives you the latest laptop to take home – and if you’re lucky enough to drive an electric car – well, good for you! But there’s a catch.

And it’s huge.

Laptops, phones and electric cars need batteries. Extracting the lithium and other rare metals required to make those batteries is resource intensive. Sometimes dangerous. Lithium battery production in Chile uses 65% of the region’s water supply. Cobalt, a toxic and difficult to manage metal, can only be found in any meaningful quantity in one country.

But computers don’t just take resources to manufacture – they consume vast amounts of power over their lifetime. And when we’re finished with them, our old phones and laptops (and soon enough, electric cars) produce mountains of e-waste.

Basically, our obsession with the latest and greatest technology is not doing the environment any favours – and this is just at a personal level.

All of these problems are magnified to extremes in business.

Your workstation computer, running for 8 hours a day, might use something like 190 kWh of electricity per year. Across your whole company, in every territory, each workstation added up will make for a significant amount of energy consumed. And if your company buildings also house server rooms, running 24/7, with multiple redundancies and cooling systems? Well, let’s just say you’ll be very happy not to be paying the electric bills.

But if Cloud solutions run on data centres, which are responsible for at least 12% of UK electricity consumption, how can migrating to Cloud be better for the environment?

The answer comes in a long-term outlook.

Cloud green credentials: renewable energy

Amazon’s AWS has pledged to run on 100% renewable energy by 2025, with heavy investment in solar and wind. And, while efforts have stalled with the pandemic, this target is still in sight.

That’s significant because AWS is the world’s largest and most trusted Cloud platform. If the leader in Cloud solutions makes the leap to greener power production, then it becomes the benchmark that others must meet.

But even without renewables, Cloud computing inherently has an advantage: it’s simply more efficient. By sharing services and maximising resources in a dedicated purpose-built environment, Cloud data centres use less energy for lighting, cooling and power conditioning – making for real-world energy savings.

Moving shared apps and tasks into the Cloud could use up to 87% less energy than individually hosting and running apps locally. If all businesses around the world consolidated their computing into Cloud centres, efficiency would be completely maximised.

All of this offsets your business power usage and means that, by investing in Cloud, you’re also investing in renewable energy as a long-term solution. This has financial benefits, of course – but it’s also a question of sustainability. Without a long-term, sustainable outlook, there’s no more planet to do business with.

And it’s time to take that claim seriously.

Other environmental benefits of migrating to Cloud

  1. A drastic reduction in hardware turnover

One of the key environmental improvements Cloud can offer is in extending the working life of hardware. Cloud services, running with ultra-low latencies of ~1ms, require little more than a device with a good internet connection to run the latest software ( be that virtually, in a web browser or as a web app). Because the heavy lifting is done in the Cloud, the device becomes little more than a portal into the Cloud.

This means that even ageing (10 years old or more) hardware is just as productive as brand new hardware in Cloud-enabled work environments. 

The result? Fewer hardware purchases. Fewer materials mined, manufactured and shipped around the world. Smaller carbon footprints, chemical footprints and less pollution – and far, far less e-waste.

Of course, data centres are regularly upgraded to best-in-class hardware; but this happens on a far smaller scale than i every business in the world regularly renewing their hardware.

  1. A truly paperless office

The Cloud has facilitated a truly paperless office, in ways that email and local file storage never could. Paper will never be obsolete – but Google Drive, Dropbox and other Cloud storage platforms have made documents handling much more efficient, without having to fell a single tree.

Go green. Migrate to the Cloud – with an expert in your team

ClearHub specialises in finding the best Atlassian Cloud migration contractors, to equip your business for a greener future. Want to know more? Get in touch with the ClearHub team today – call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.

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In The Great Resignation, freelancers hold the key to growth

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In The Great Resignation, freelancers hold the key to growth

Back in 2018, we thought that the biggest change in employment would be the gig economy.

That was before the pandemic. Before furlough, before remote working became the norm, before homeschooling and the massive tip in balance brought on by a killer virus.

The biggest shift in employment was yet to come. And it wasn’t the remote life; it was The Great Resignation. It’s still happening – accelerating, even – and it’s got businesses worried. But they really shouldn’t be, even if it seems worrying now. The end game is better pay for the lowest paid, a stronger economy and a generally optimistic outlook on life and work.

Sounds too good to be true. And if you can’t fill skills gaps short-term, then maybe it is.

1 million job vacancies and counting

In August, UK job vacancies surpassed 1 million for the first time ever. And while the rate of turnover is highest in hospitality, food and retail, it’s pretty much across the board in most industries.

We don’t think this is the peak, either. And the fact that the freelance workforce is positively swelling means that the candidate pool is likely to be shrinking, too.

Reasons for quitting aren’t solely based on the hopeful “I can do better!” attitude. While it’s certainly a factor, it’s not able to account for the whole story. Yes, some people are leaving good, stable, well-paying jobs for better opportunities. But others are looking for more flexible working arrangements now that the world has settled back into commuting and office work.

And for some, quitting hasn’t really been a choice.

The danger that Covid represents to so many people might have made voluntary resignation the only way forward. Increased pressure and demand, in sectors already clamouring for human capital, may have driven people to burnout. Toxic and unhealthy working environments may have reached their absolute worst during lockdown, as shaky businesses scrambled to save themselves by squeezing every last calorie of energy from their workforce.

Right now, the statistics can’t tell us the sentiment; just the numbers. And while they’re high, the number of people actively thinking about quitting could be even higher (up to 73%).

It’s a worrying time for leadership and HR departments. But could it actually be a good thing?

Are there any benefits to mass resignation?

Yes, there actually are some economic benefits to The Great Resignation. Pretty good ones, too – especially for workers.

The demand for workers has driven pay up substantially in some sectors. Take the now infamous lorry driver shortage of 2021, which drove salaries to £56,000 in some areas, with golden hellos running into the thousands.

That’s an extreme example, but it’s happening everywhere there’s a demand for skills. And it’s causing low-paying sectors to rethink their offering. The power is firmly with workers right now, using the free market to sell their skills for more.

It’s almost the opposite effect that the gig economy had on salaries; paying for tasks instead of people brought about tumbling wages and devalued trades, occasionally offsetting the hits with upsells and higher order values.

Better pay isn’t just good for workers; it means a stronger economy. That’s a huge sign of progress, especially after decades of wage stagnation. It’s a welcome relief to the real-terms shrinkage of salaries against a tide of inflation and the raised cost of living.

The effects of this economic boost won’t be felt for a while, though. And that’s only if businesses can survive with the short-term lack of skills they find themselves in.

The downsides are pretty hard-hitting

You might have seen pictures of – or experienced in person – the empty shelves at supermarkets. This is what happens when there’s not enough people to do the work. Those empty shelves are an analogy for the missed deadlines, overflowing inboxes and unfinished projects plaguing countless other businesses where demand for skills is outsripping supply.

Take digital services, where a rise in demand is being scuppered by a digital skills shortage disaster”. And many who felt short changed or hard done by in employment have taken to freelancing and contract work – for better pay, better flexibility and more meaningful experience.

In the long-term, this means economic vitality and entrepreneurship – and that the silver lining of the horrible pandemic we’re in could be a major rethink about our views on work and life. But short-term, this means skills shortages, missed deadlines and unfulfilled projects.

But if you know where to look, skills are in abundance – in just about every trade – if your business is willing to work in a new way; with contractors.

Why hire contractors?

The skills are there – and they’re often sharper than the rest of the job market. For some companies, hiring contractors is going to shape their future working practices – and could even be transformative to their business. Here are just some of the reasons that leaders are hiring freelancers right now:

  1. Get rare, in-demand skills
  2. Save money
  3. Start projects faster
  4. Less hand holding, more expertise
  5. The risks are lower if it doesn’t work out

Read more – 5 Reasons To Hire A Contractor

Adapt to a new way of working – with an expert in your team

ClearHub specialises in finding the best Atlassian freelancers that propel businesses into the future. Want to know more? Get in touch with the ClearHub team today – call +44 (0) 2381 157811 or send your message to info@clearhub.tech.

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