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Taking Bimodal into the Jet Age: Enabling Enterprise DevOps Through Automation

Gartner Research?s bimodal IT framework blasted onto the development scene in 2014, effectively arguing that traditional development practices are no longer sufficient for organizations buckling under the ferocious demand for innovative new applications. According to Gartner, ?Bimodal IT is the practice of managing two separate, coherent modes of IT delivery, one focused on stability and the other on agility. Mode 1 is traditional and sequential, emphasizing safety and accuracy. Mode 2 is exploratory and nonlinear, emphasizing agility and speed.?[1]

Mode 1 development is related to system maintenance, stability or efficiency. These are typically slow moving development cycles with minimal intervention from the business. Mode 2 development inspires innovation.  It calls for significant business involvement, rapid delivery, and frequent change to transform ideas into applications.

Here?s the problem. Mode 2 systems often have dependencies on Mode 1 systems which means every so often (and inevitably) there will be a Mode 2 deployment that will have to wait on a Mode 1 update. Isn?t one of the key tenants of Continuous Delivery (CD), Agile and DevOps to move fast? By excluding Mode 1 systems from your CD pipeline, Agile methodology, or DevOps initiative you create a built-in hurry-up-and-wait cadence for every other x number of Mode 2 deployments. 

Additionally, it isn?t always feasible to split up your operations organization between Mode 1 and Mode 2 staff. Mode 1 and Mode 2 systems often share technological dependencies such as network, storage, and operating systems which means the same SMEs used for Mode 2 work will often be the same resources relied on for Mode 1 work. Something is needed to overcome resource bottlenecks and the web of enterprise application interdependence.

Enterprise-class automation and orchestration along with building an Automation Center of Excellence (CoE) can bridge this gap, offering legacy system agility and new-age system compliance. In this ultra-competitive, digital era of innovation that businesses compete in, an Automation CoE can design a comprehensive and more inclusive end-to-end continuous delivery pipeline that meets business? demand for new services. Automation and orchestration at enterprise scale will accelerate your traditional Mode 1 deployments and ensure a greater degree of compliance ? and lower risk ? to more nimble Mode 2 deployments.

Imagine constantly adapting a Mode 1 solution (e.g. Oracle Siebel) as you would a Mode 2 application to user feedback, shifts in the market and changes to business strategy?across a bimodal strategy. Test, support, development, and operations work together as one delivery team to automate and streamline build, test and release processes regardless of whether the system is Mode 1 or 2.

For example, consider the deployment activities for Oracle Siebel, a Mode 1 system. Using a release automation solution like Automic, you benefit from Siebel tools and API integrations, plus pre-configured workflow templates and orchestration, to ensure fully automated Siebel deployments. Indeed, Automic tests validate the success of a continuous delivery strategy for Siebel. Deployment workflows can be completed 55% faster using automation (including the time needed for import and deploy repository, deploy SRF, non-repository files, stop-start Siebel web servers and Siebel availability check). 

The result? Fast, consistent and reliable Siebel deployments. You eliminate human errors and reduce outages. Increase employee satisfaction. And improve compliance with a full audit trail.  Then when any dependent Mode 2 system is rolling out an update requiring a Siebel deployment, a single click can release both the Siebel changes and the Mode 2 system updates providing the business and IT a single pane of glass from which to provide approvals, view statuses, monitor deployment progression, and have the audit trail forensics and rollback capability to quickly recover should a failure occur.

Make no mistake, an enterprise Automation CoE along with automation and orchestration tooling represent far more than a simple and siloed continuous integration or continuous delivery practice. Its vision and scope considers a true, end-to-end continuous delivery pipeline inclusive of both Mode 1 and 2 systems. It brings agility to legacy systems and compliance to nonlinear ones. And it delivers DevOps automation and orchestration across any application (Mode 1 and 2) deployment environments whether they be mainframe, cloud, hybrid, or on-prem.

Why create an automation CoE as part of your DevOps initiative? Why use automation and orchestration tooling to combine both Mode 1 and Mode 2 deployments into one comprehensive and cohesive continuous delivery pipeline? Above and beyond the benefits cited in this post, there are significant financial rewards to be realized by adopting the view and strategy presented here. Did you know that organizations practicing agile methodologies or who are considered high performing DevOps organizations make more money?

In 2013 CA Technologies commissioned a survey that found that organizations adopting DevOps sped up the deployment of new services, cutting time to market by 20 percent, and led to a 19 percent increase in revenue. Forrester?s report in 2015 titled, ?The 2015 State Of Agile Development?, similarly found organizations utilizing agile development methodologies saw a 32 percent increase in revenue. These gains came from speeding up only Mode 2 systems. It stands to reason that if significant revenue gains are being had by just making Mode 2 systems fast and nimble, then revenue increases could really be astonishing if Mode 1 systems are included in a DevOps initiative so that both Mode 1 and Mode 2 systems are part of an end-to-end continuous delivery pipeline. 

Ultimately, you could argue that automation brings to the business what the jet age brought to biplanes: speed, agility, and reliability. It was the aviation pioneer Orville Wright who said, ?The airplane stays up because it doesn?t have the time to fall.? The same is true of organizations that rely on automation for complete end-to-end continuous delivery. If you want your organization to soar high into the clouds (pun intended), then automation is the engine to take you there.

[1] Gartner IT Glossary, Bimodal IT,

Organizations are going bimodal.  Scott Willson, DevOps Evangelist at Automic, explains how automation brings legacy system agility and new-age system compliance to your DevOps strategy.

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ScottWilson contributed to this article