CA Expo: DevOps Still Top Of The Agenda

CEO Mike Gregoire says CA’s fascination with rapid development practices is not going away

“DevOps is taking the best tools and processes from the infrastructure world, tying them to the best tools and processes from the development world, and trying to automate them as much as possible,” explained CA Technologies CEO Mike Gregoire during his first keynote in the UK, at the CA Expo in London.

According to Gregoire, DevOps, the streamlined development methodology that marries developers with operational staff, is becoming more popular every day, and can reduce costs and time-to-market while increasing the quality of applications.

CA currently works with more than 200 major businesses that have adopted CA Lisa – its software suite for application delivery. “The whole idea of giving the developers a workbench where they can test and understand the performance as they are building the code – we think it’s something extraordinarily unique,” added Gregoire.

Most of the subjects mentioned in the Thursday’s keynote were already covered at CA World in Las Vegas earlier this year, including the growing importance of APIs, challenges in mobile device management and the increasing adoption of cloud services.

The keynote was followed by a presentation from Tom Standage, digital editor at the Economist, who said mobile devices are finally becoming our primary computing platforms and predicted that in 2014, IT managers will lose their hostility towards BYOD.

Need for speed

According to Gregoire, DevOps encourages cooperation and reduces the number of repetitive tasks, leaving less room for mistakes. “70 percent of failures in application development are caused by some level of human interaction that didn’t go well,” claimed the CEO.

devops-define-rolesCA says its DevOps approach helps achieve as much as a 30 to 50 percent reduction in time-to-market, an 80 to 100 percent improvement in quality and a 20 to 30 percent reduction in infrastructure costs.

“Conventional test environments are costly, complex and slow to deliver,” said Bruce Mitchell, CTO of Lloyds Bank, one of the early adopters of the new methodology. “By delivering virtualised services, we were able to find ways to create functional, rich test environments, but do it in a way that was much cheaper and much quicker than what we could do with the traditional model.”

Meanwhile, the number of APIs is set to increase dramatically next year as more transactions go mobile, and CA’s recent acquisition of API security company Layer 7 shows that it intends to take advantage of this trend.

“Take a look at a company like – over 50 percent of their revenue doesn’t come from people using the browser – they are using APIs,” said Gregoire. “And as we start to think about this virtual world, how many different APIs we are using and where that data is, that presents a lot of risk for the CIO, a lot of risk for the infrastructure. We need to understand how to take care of that.”

While discussing BYOD, Gregoire said his company was aiming to make the management of mobile devices as effortless as the management of traditional PCs.

IMAG0344Smartphone and tablet sales have been outpacing PC sales for a while, but the Economist’s Standage pointed out that mobile devices have a much shorter life span – just one or two years, while a traditional PC can last for at least five. He quoted research that suggests the number of mobile devices in use has only overtaken the number of working PCs this summer.

He predicted that in 2014, mobile devices will finally stop being a “second-class citizen”, and BYOD will stop being a dirty word. Standage also said that cloud infrastructure has reached a tipping point, with IT managers worrying less about cloud security and more about complexity.

Gregoire wound up with a reiteration of  the company’s commitment to rapid, backwards-compatible releases of its cloud-related products.

“The days of doing a one-year implementation, running it for three years and then hiring an outside consulting firm to spend millions of dollars to do the upgrade – I think that business model is absolutely dead.”

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