DevOps and cloud: The guns and steel of the software age

Users of both Cloud computing and DevOps show an 81% improvement in software delivery performance

It’s an obvious statement, and perhaps a bit cliché, but in business there are winners and losers. To a certain extent, the same can be said of societies and cultures. Just as there are powerhouses in the business world, certain countries and cultures have more of an impact on global society than others.

There is an interesting book—called Guns, Germs and Steel: the Fates of Human Societies—that theorizes why certain civilizations have dominated others throughout history. At the risk of oversimplifying a 500 page book into a few sentences, the basic premise is that early in history, some civilizations were fortunate enough to have access to resources that gave them an advantage over others—which was then compounded over time.

Horses and camels, for example, are the only animals that can feasibly be both domesticated, and capable of carrying riders. (Despite many attempts, no one has ever been able to domesticate Zebras). The civilizations that were fortunate enough to settle where one of these two animals were native had a natural advantage over those that lived in climates where large land animals were incapable of being domesticated (and ridden into battle).

The book makes similar arguments about access to other natural resources like iron ore—which of course can be turned to steel and weaponized—other domesticate-able animals, and the associated disease resistance that comes from a farming culture (hence the “Germs” in the title). Anyone who’s played one of Sid Meier’s Civilization games can relate to the premise of the book.

Whether or not you agree with the theory behind the book, it’s easy to draw parallels to the business world. History is littered with examples where businesses that have early access to a resource or technique which then gives them a lasting advantage. Bill Gates was fortunate enough to attend a high school that had a computer he could learn to code on—in 1968(!), when most colleges didn’t have computers. Henry Ford famously used mass production techniques to gain an advantage over competitors, and today Ford Motor Co. is still one of the world’s largest automotive companies.

Today the economy is built on software. Companies looking to gain a competitive advantage should look to leveraging resources that can give them a leg up in developing software faster, better, and at lower costs.

The good news is that—unlike super computers in 1968, or horses in prehistoric times—the tools businesses need to establish a competitive advantage in software delivery are neither scarce nor geographically limited.

Two examples are DevOps and Cloud computing. By leveraging DevOps practices, organizations can deliver software faster and with higher quality. Cloud-based tools and delivery mechanisms can make it easier to get these applications in the hands of users, and also accelerate the benefits of DevOps.

Need proof? CA recently commissioned Freeform Dynamics, a leading analyst and research firm, to explore the benefits that come from using these two software development resources. One of the key findings was that organizations who use both Cloud computing and DevOps extensively show an 81% improvement in software delivery performance.

We may never be able to quantify the benefit the British Empire gained from its easy access to iron ore; but thanks to this research, we have quantified the benefit businesses can see from using today’s software development resources.

Read the full report to find out more about the advantages your business can get from using Cloud and DevOps together (and avoid being left in the footnotes of business history).




Brendan is director of solutions marketing at CA and is responsible for advocating topics such…


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