What is DevOps?

Amy DeMartine

Everywhere I turn, I hear about how some product or service is geared towards DevOps.  It feels like the “cloud washing” we all just went through.  “Cloud washing” continues to cause problems as even today it remains difficult to understand how products and services really affect our ability to create and manage clouds and applications in the cloud.  This “DevOps washing” is causing the same problems and it becomes harder and harder to understand what DevOps really is and how it applies.  I spent a morning breakfast presentation just talking about the definition of DevOps with a group of technology management folks for over an hour! 


I’ve spent the past year being the Ops part of the Forrester DevOps story.  We have been hard at work and released a playbook called Modern Service Delivery (to match the Modern Application Delivery playbook coming from my Dev partner Kurt Bittner) and we are approaching the end of creating the foundation of the DevOps story from planning to optimization.  We define DevOps as:


“DevOps is a set of practices and cultural changes — supported by the right tools — that creates an automated software delivery pipeline, enabling organizations to win, serve, and retain customers.”


If you are serious about DevOps, you can cut through the noise of the “DevOps washing” and start with several practical tips to get you moving in the right direction:

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Thoughts on Huawei 2015 – The Juggernaut Continues to Build

Richard Fichera

In late April I once again attended Huawei’s annual analyst meeting in Shenzen, China. As with my last trip to this event, I approached it with a mix of dread and curiosity – dread because it is a long tiring trip and doing business in China if you are dependent on Google services is at best a delicate juggling act, and curiosity because Huawei is one of the most interesting and poorly understood of the large technology companies in the world, especially here in North America.

I came away with reinforcement of my previous impressions that Huawei is an unapologetically Chinese company. Not a global company that happens to be Chinese, as Lenovo presents itself, but a Chinese company that is intent upon and is making progress toward becoming a major global competitor in multiple arenas where it is not dominant now while continuing to maximize its success in its strong domestic market. A year later, all the programs that were in motion at the end of 2014 are still in operation, and Y/Y results indicate that the overall momentum in areas where Huawei is building its franchise, particularly mobile and enterprise IT, are, If anything, doing even better than promised.

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Is Your Company A Place Where Employees Grow And Thrive, Or Wither And Leave?

David Johnson

As Forrester's Customer Experience Index (CX Index™) proves, the key determiner of a company's success is customer satisfaction. We can also prove that there is a strong correlation between employee satisfaction and customer perception and opinion, which is more pronounced with those employees who have a greater impact on your customers. To improve customer satisfaction, these employees have to feel that they can succeed. If they can’t succeed, they will burn out, and burned out employees aren’t going to help your company win, serve and retain customers. Forrester believes that you as an I&O leader can play the decisive role in customer satisfaction, if you choose to.

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Take Investment Protection Off Your List Of Evaluation Criteria

Andre Kindness

Historically I have not been a big fan of Interop for a variety of reasons. However Greg Ferro, George Stefanick, Ivan Pepelnjak, and Harvard Business Review IT Director Ken Griffin — to name a few — changed the breakout sessions experience for me. During Greg’s data center network session, he said something that was priceless. He was giving some guidance around refresh cycles and told the audience to not worry about investment protection. It was so refreshing to hear it. I wasn’t the only one nodding my head: Investment protection is hogwash.

Greg made the case that moving to a 3-year replacement cycle changes a customer’s buying and design criteria. Right now, customers have to guess what is going to happen over an 8- to 10-year cycle; this long term guess creates the desire to protect that amount of spending with “investment protection” features. By considering flexibility, growth, and scalability of the network over that period, customers lean towards chassis switches with ports, which can cost 5 to 10 times as much as a pair of 1RU switches with the same type of ports. By selecting chassis switches, Greg says customers have doubled or tripled their project cost.

However on a 3-year replacement cycle, customers can choose right-sized equipment (which is probably a 1RU switch), do less maintenance, and gain faster access to new features. In addition, the risk could be lower.  For example if bad decision was made, a company is only stuck with selection for 3 years. Or, the company can choose to replace the network earlier and take smaller hit on capital expense line than if the compay bought chassis switches.

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Facebook and HP Show Different Visions for Web-scale

Richard Fichera

Recently we’ve had a chance to look again at two very conflicting views from HP and Facebook on how to do web-scale and cloud computing, both announced at the recent OCP annual event in California.

From HP come its new CloudLine systems, the public face of their joint venture with Foxcon. Early details released by HP show a line of cost-optimized servers descended from a conventional engineering lineage and incorporating selected bits of OCP technology to reduce costs. These are minimalist rack servers designed, after stripping away all the announcement verbiage, to compete with white-box vendors such as Quanta, SuperMicro and a host of others. Available in five models ranging from the minimally-featured CL1100 up through larger nodes designed for high I/O, big data and compute-intensive workloads, these systems will allow large installations to install capacity at costs ranging from 10 – 25% less than the equivalent capacity in their standard ProLiant product line. While the strategic implications of HP having to share IP and market presence with Foxcon are still unclear, it is a measure of HP’s adaptability that they were willing to execute on this arrangement to protect against inroads from emerging competition in the most rapidly growing segment of the server market, and one where they have probably been under immense margin pressure.

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Intel Announces Xeon SOC – Seriously Raising the Bar for AMD and ARM Competition

Richard Fichera

Intel has made no secret of its development of the Xeon D, an SOC product designed to take Xeon processing close to power levels and product niches currently occupied by its lower-power and lower performance Atom line, and where emerging competition from ARM is more viable.

The new Xeon D-1500 is clear evidence that Intel “gets it” as far as platforms for hyperscale computing and other throughput per Watt and density-sensitive workloads, both in the enterprise and in the cloud are concerned. The D1500 breaks new ground in several areas:

It is the first Xeon SOC, combining 4 or 8 Xeon cores with embedded I/O including SATA, PCIe and multiple 10 nd 1 Gb Ethernet ports.

(Source: Intel)

It is the first of Intel’s 14 nm server chips expected to be introduced this year. This expected process shrink will also deliver a further performance and performance per Watt across the entire line of entry through mid-range server parts this year.

Why is this significant?

With the D-1500, Intel effectively draws a very deep line in the sand for emerging ARM technology as well as for AMD. The D1500, with 20W – 45W power, delivers the lower end of Xeon performance at power and density levels previously associated with Atom, and close enough to what is expected from the newer generation of higher performance ARM chips to once again call into question the viability of ARM on a pure performance and efficiency basis. While ARM implementations with embedded accelerators such as DSPs may still be attractive in selected workloads, the availability of a mainstream x86 option at these power levels may blunt the pace of ARM design wins both for general-purpose servers as well as embedded designs, notably for storage systems.

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Rack-Scale Architectures get Real with Intel RSA Introduction

Richard Fichera

What Is It?

We have been watching many variants on efficient packaging of servers for highly scalable workloads for years, including blades, modular servers, and dense HPC rack offerings from multiple vendors, most of the highly effective, and all highly proprietary. With the advent of Facebook’s Open Compute Project, the table was set for a wave of standardized rack servers and the prospect of very cost-effective rack-scale deployments of very standardized servers. But the IP for intelligently shared and managed power and cooling at a rack level needed a serious R&D effort that the OCP community, by and large, was unwilling to make. Into this opportunity stepped Intel, which has been quietly working on its internal Rack Scale Architecture (RSA) program for the last couple of years, and whose first product wave was officially outed recently as part of an announcement by Intel and Ericsson.

While not officially announcing Intel’s product nomenclature, Ericsson announced their “HDS 8000” based on Intel’s RSA, and Intel representatives then went on to explain the fundamental of RSA, including a view of the enhancements coming this year.

RSA is a combination of very standardized x86 servers, a specialized rack enclosure with shared Ethernet switching and power/cooling, and layers of firmware to accomplish a set of tasks common to managing a rack of servers, including:

·         Asset discovery

·         Switch setup and management

·         Power and cooling management across the servers with the rack

·         Server node management

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Almost Half Of Large Enterprise Private Cloud Initiatives In AP Are On The Wrong Track

Naveen  Chhabra

I recently joined Forrester as a senior analyst on the infrastructure and operations (I&O) team based out of New Delhi, India. I’m delighted to be a part of Forrester and have begun work on my first report, which will focus on cloud trends in Asia Pacific and put a regional spin on a report my colleague Lauren E. Nelson published in February titled Adoption Profile: Private Cloud in North America, Q3 2014. My new role will enable me to continue pursuing my passion for next-generation solutions like cloud computing, automation, and customer experience management and their ability to support business objectives.

As I reviewed data from Forrester’s Business Technographics® Global Infrastructure Survey, 2014 of business technology decision-makers in Australia, China, and India, I found causes to be concerned about the private cloud initiatives of the region’s large enterprises. A finer-grained analysis of the most senior executives from large enterprises (companies with 1,000 or more employees) in the survey found that nearly half (43%) of the private cloud deployments in AP will fail to meet business objectives, for the following reasons:

  • 26% of private clouds will not offer self-service to developers.
  • 17% of firms will discourage their developers from using public cloud.
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DevOps Now With CALMSS

Eveline Oehrlich

I would like to welcome you to the "Modern Service Delivery" playbook.  In this playbook, we are researching how you can take your tech operations team and transform it into a modern operations team.  You know already that in the age of the customer, I&O must transform to support businesses by accelerating the speed of service delivery, enabling capacity when and where needed and improving customers and employee experience.  You  must buddy up with your application development team!  Get used to a new way of working.  That gets me to the point of this blog – CALMSS!  Yes – you are reading this right.  CALMSS is not just a scramble of words – it is a fine assessment of characteristics with the purpose of describing a methodology.  The first acronym - CAMS (Culture, Automation, Measurement, Sharing) was coined by John Willis and Damon Edwards in 2010 in the first US based Devopsdays in Mountain View, California.  Later on the “L” for lean was added by Jez Humble.  We at Forrester have added an additional “S” for sourcing as we believe that DevOps must be supported with a solid sourcing strategy to extend the ecosystem.  This then brings us to the arcronym of CALMSS.

After a great conversation with Patrick Debois  – godfather of DevOps – we are working on a Forrester CALMSS research report (publishing April 2015) where we list what we think are the characteristics of each letter that supports measurement at individual, project, intra-company and inter-company levels.  We will be focusing in our playbook on the project level so that you can measure and benchmark yourselves.    

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What is the difference between white-box, bare-metal, branded bare-metal, and OEM network switches?

Andre Kindness

I’m getting a lot calls from clients who are using “white box” and “bare metal” interchangeably when discussing network switches. It might not seem like a big deal, but it is when customers are trying to accomplish a certain task and are examining the wrong products or don’t see the full picture. This is especially true when it comes to assuming that the hardware cost of an Accton 5712 switch is significantly lower than the hardware cost of Broadcom-based switches from Arista, Cisco, or HP. The reality is that pundits are mixing up terms and products.

 Fundamentally, they are not making an apples-to-apples comparison and therefore are setting up the wrong expectations for customers. Forrester’s research document The Myth Of White-Box Network Switches dissects the cost of the Accton Edge-Core 5712 (Broadcom Trident II ASIC) switch layered with Cumulus Linux OS and compares this combination against a generic vendor switch built on Broadcom II ASIC, such as Cisco Nexus 3172PQ. We built a model showing the cost of goods sold from the components up and found less than a 5% difference between the switch from the original design manufacturer and traditional network vendor. This holds true when comparing other Accton Edge-Core switches against other traditional vendor Broadcom Trident II switches. The real cost is in the software, global distribution channel, compatibility testing between hardware and software, and global support. “The Myth Of White-Box Network Switches” gets into a lot more detail regarding actual costs.

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