Introducing new tools like Kubernetes is useless if the development and IT processes are not ready for it. Therefore a cultural change is required for successful containerization. IT service provider Consol shows the steps companies need to take on their path towards a DevOps culture.
If you want to bring your IT infrastructure into the container age, you can’t avoid the Kubernetes (K8s for short) orchestration platform. However, using it means a break with the classic manual work model that developers (Devs) and IT operations (Operations) are accustomed to.
Kubernetes drives automation. In addition, the introduction of the platform means an unusual, code-intensive way of working in IT operations. When working with Kubernetes, users initially have to develop several working steps and apply them as code. However, the biggest change results from the shifting responsibilities of departments: Developer Consol has developed a four-step plan for this.
1. Transfer basic knowledge and get feedback
Employees in the IT department often resent the DevOps model and the technologies associated with it, especially at the beginning. Therefore, companies must explain the concepts behind it. Courses and open spaces are suitable for imparting this essential knowledge, in the context of which developers and IT operations can discuss the fundamental aspects of DevOps, containers, and automation in detail with experts.
The principle of immutable infrastructures, where components are never updated but instead are newly built and exchanged, is not common even for IT professionals. At this point, management should actively seek feedback and seek particularly interested employees from the IT department. The latter will play a crucial role in the next steps.
2. Start a demo project
The best argument for a new way of working and the introduction of new technology is a successful pilot project. To do this, administrators must put together a team of operations and developers who have previously taken care of modern platforms such as Kubernetes. Ideally, these employees are familiar with the core idea of DevOps through first step initiatives and have initial experience with containers and Kubernetes.
They then work closely together to experiment with new concepts and assess their alignment with the current culture in the company. Basically, this means that Ops is primarily interested in building the platform, while Dev sets up and is responsible for the entire release process on that platform. With benevolence and will to succeed, developers and administrators handle initial conflicts and extend their wealth of experience for later projects.
3. Create your own center of excellence
After a successful pilot project, the establishment of a so-called ‘Center of Excellence’, which serves as a central point for further planning, has proven to be feasible. The goal of the expert team should be to envision a platform based on Kubernetes, whose resources and processes can be used in other projects. To do this, members should get an overview of the expected use cases and decide how developers and administrators should work together in the future. Part of these considerations are, among others, how developers should operate their services independently.
4. Create DevOps Engineers
The final step is to harden the interface between Dev and Ops. To this end, companies train custom DevOps engineers from the COE staff pool or hire experienced professionals. Specialists run the Kubernetes platform in DevOps teams and provide team members with advice and support to improve collaboration. Companies must ensure that they train or hire enough DevOps engineers according to the size of their project.
Oliver Wise is a Principal Software Engineer at IT service provider Consol. (Photo: console)
Oliver Wise emphasizes that “containerization is not something that only affects the operations department.” It requires rethinking at all levels of responsibility. Therefore, companies must not only drive the adoption of tools like Kubernetes, but also create a DevOps culture to accompany them. This is the only way they can take full advantage of their container-based IT infrastructure.”
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