August 24th, 2021
Trend Watch: Value Stream Delivery Platforms (VSDPs)
No longer does the DevOps toolchain need to exist as discrete automation silos, it has now evolved into a platform that organizes the delivery of applications as a value stream. These value streams are now fully integrated sets of capabilities that include continuous deployment and rollback, automated policy enforcement, test automation, build automation, and continuous orchestration.
Recently, Value Stream Delivery Platforms (VSDPs) have emerged as a solution to evaluate.
Notably, VSDPs have become increasingly necessary following the COVID-19 pandemic. Businesses are now looking for a new range of solutions that help them rebalance and shift their IT portfolios consistently, under pressure to reduce cost and budgets while maintaining business continuity through the challenging economic times.
Advantages of VSDPs
Dev industry thought leaders are concluding that by 2023, about half of the Dev organizations will have switched from multiple point solutions to VSDPs. That marks an almost 30% increase from the 10% that was reported in 2020. Widespread adoption is in acceleration mode because of the vast process advantages of VSDPs, including:
Reducing the Complexity of Integration
VSDPs are based on fully integrated Dev capabilities. As uniform, integrated platforms, they eliminate the complexity of manually integrating pipelines. A VSDP can equip your teams to build and manage your infrastructure of software development tools as one.
Reduction in Cost
DevOps professionals are always looking for ways that help improve workflow and minimize overhead. VSDPs give them a platform that reduces the cost of orchestration, integration, and governance. Notably, most dev teams will adopt a consumption-based cost model that helps understand the product’s cost implications. Since VSDPs offer end-to-end visibility, you can finally keep tabs on the overall cost of the product, in realtime.
For developers, workflow is measured in terms of release velocity, cycle time, flow efficiency, throughput, and the number of aging work items. Additional metrics include the work in progress, lead time, and planned versus actual work. All instrumental in the development cycle.
With VSDPs, teams are able to work more effectively throughout the end-to-end software delivery process. Integrated team experiences dramatically improve workflow from the initial point of contact with the customer to the last need for product support. Further, since VSDPs are extensible, your development tools can manage and monitor your software throughout the delivery life cycle.
Notably, both product and platform teams benefit from VSDPs. The platform team can free up time previously spent building and maintaining toolchains to instead focus their efforts on streamlining the process. Similarly, the product team has an easy way to quickly share information across the process so that dev, QA, and Ops are all in synch.
VSDPs are advantageous because it helps these teams working both interdependently and independently to easily collaborate, removing the constraints of complex and brittle toolchains.
Key Capabilities of DevOps VSDPs
Each of these capabilities helps dev teams improve their flow of value:
Plan and Create
VSDPs help with agile methodologies and managing the product roadmap. Use the VSDP tool to go through backlogs, source code, and artifact repositories, empowering your teams to share codes and packages, cutting the time it takes to get it into your clients’ hands. But before that, your teams can review code automatically and carry out comprehensive static code analysis.
Finally, a critical capability of VSDPs is that they help you plan and create a product within a platform that offers metrics to measure the flow of value. Specifically, you’ll be able to keep track of the lead and cycle times, aging work items, and defect-escape rates, among many other time-cutting metrics.
Integrate and Verify
For dev teams, functional and nonfunctional test automation are critical. Package managers and container registries require dependency management and integration, all of which are accelerated by VSDP functionality. Better yet, VSDPs can support continuous integration of the product cycle. Finally, VSDPs provide support for your build pipelines, which makes it easier to enforce standards, and of course, make ample use of reuse.
Deploy and Operate
A successful product cycle requires development, testing, staging, and production. VSDPs can do! They can fully automate your deployment cycle, improving workflow all along the way. For example, your Dev platform should offer support for IaC practices and other container-based deployments. Up-to-the-deadline changes are inevitable, so the platform equips your dev teams with support for manual changes before deployment.
And, you can finally begin using these tools, to mitigate deployment risks with blue/green, canary, and feature flag management capabilities. Save on calamities by flagging for warnings and time bombs early on.
Monitor and Improve
First, improve performance at an accelerating rate by reducing the heavy lifting. Your dev teams have to ingest and analyze data from multiple sources, including the infrastructure, network, and other applications. Toss in a constant need for automation, monitoring, and feedback monitoring. And we’re not done yet. Dev teams constantly need to perform root cause analyses and anomaly detection. But yes, keep it all on deadline. And make certain to measure operational metrics consistently to cut failure rates and customer downtime.
Oh yeah. VSDPs give you all of these clear advantages for delivering consistent monitoring and product improvement.
Security and Compliance
These days, security is top-of-mind. Your products must be trusted. Up-to-date security vulnerability remediation is a must. Which requires consistent static and dynamic security. And, dev teams want to avoid any leakages in API keys and credentials. Finally, given the recent rise of international cybercrimes, it’s essential to meet new and evolving regulatory standards and coding guidelines. And yes, dev teams can maintain the security and compliance of their products using VSDP capabilities.
Governance and Access
Access support is paramount for any tool a dev team uses during product development. VSDPs provide a solution for authorizing access, including single sign-on and multifactor authentication. Further, the platform can provision roles, privileges, and permissions that make it possible to grant or deny access to any user or activity during the product cycle.
Developers often work as teams handling different aspects of the process. VSDPs fully support collaboration within and among teams. Go ahead and integrate collaboration tools that make it possible to plan, design, and develop products smoother and faster.
The platform offers analytics that assess team-level productivity and agile or DevOps maturity. Using these analytics, you can make real-time assessments for where assistance may be needed. Finally, members of separate teams can analyze any feedback they have on team cohesion and product features.
APIs for Extensibility
Let’s not forget third-party tools. They’re more than welcome within a VSDP. Open your thinking to include a vast array of third-party tools for creating, building, and deploying products. You can even use a VSDP to analyze value stream metrics. Finally, it’s possible to have bidirectional orchestration of workflows on the platform, cutting the time from coding to deployment.
Accelerate Your Software Delivery with Guide Rails
As more organizations adopt cloud, agile, and DevOps as part of their digital transformation efforts, they need technology that can streamline the development of their software and the delivery workflow. Specifically, they need to improve the flow of value from the idea to the delivery.
But, having multiple point solutions makes it challenging to scale DevOps initiatives. Each solution comes with a new set of limits that make orchestration, integration, and management too complex. Besides, multiple point solutions swell the time to market. The result: an unnecessary lack of visibility into the workflow and an unnecessarily delayed customer value delivery.
Worse, having multiple point solutions means that besides not having scalable solutions, development teams lack secure access to DevOps environments. Translation: higher operating costs for the business and the inability to work remotely for the dev teams.
As an infrastructure and operations leader, you want to accelerate your software development process. Now you can.
With support from the Guide Rails platform, you can adopt an environment specifically designed to remove impediments on your infrastructure, operations, and cloud infrastructure. And, it’s a platform built to accommodate the different needs of the multiple product teams, including serverless development, in-browser integrated development environment support, and extensive fuzz testing. Additional offerings will include greater visibility, auditability, observability, and traceability, all of which will eliminate constraints to the flow of work. The Guide Rails platform provides a one-of-a-kind platform for CI/CD and DevOps built for cloud-first and hybrid cloud development. Guide-Rails® removes the complexity associated with CI/CD and DevOps practices so that developers and operations can focus on code and delivery, not tools, processes, and infrastructure.