Programming in the pandemic - Appvia: GitOps-as-a-Watercooler (GaaW)

The Computer Weekly Developer Network examines the impact of Covid-19 on the software application development community.

With only a proportion of developers classified as key workers (where their responsibilities perhaps included the operations-side of keeping mission-critical and life-critical systems up and online), the majority of programmers will have been forced to work remotely, often in solitude. 

So how have the fallout effects of this played out?

This post comes from Tom Finch, solution architect  cloud-native delivery platform Appvia.

Finch points out that organisations are looking at ways to innovate faster and in different ways, because of the disruption to work practices of the ‘past’ and the total transformation of the way we work (from home) given the pandemic. So, there’s a spike in organisations researching and trialing new, effective ways of working now that ‘physical presence’ and ever-present ‘watercooler’ discussion is out.

GitOps-as-a-Watercooler

For developers and DevOps specifically, it’s changed how they collaborate on code, manage rollouts and work on new releases. GitOps has been really important for some companies in minimising disruption.

Because GitOps is a way of working rather than a technology, it can be integrated into tools or be its own thing. This is more effective than using standalone tools which were more suited to the ‘old world’. It’s even able to make some product-centric teams bringing solutions to market during a pandemic more efficient.

Of course, you shouldn’t shoehorn GitOps or other processes in just because it’s a buzzword – if Infrastructure As Code (IAC) works well then do that. I believe that this is one of the reasons IT adapted quickly to the pandemic, being remote and agile is in our collective DNA.

The ‘standalone’ old world

GitOps alternatives for config management like Terraform, Ansible, Puppet, Chef work well in the ‘old world’ of traditional practices, but when it comes to a cloud-native approach using K8 as the workhorse, GitOps is a better choice in the new non-standalone connected world of cloud. GitOps git centric ‘as-code’ approach helps foster collaboration, which is crucially important in the current climate.

Implementation should have minimal impact on remote teams, as IAC/GitOps lend themselves already to remote ways of working which, in my opinion is why IT is surviving well in during the pandemic. Being (as I said) ‘remote’ is already in the DNA and, if anything, remote, multi-disciplined, product-centric teams can be more productive now than ever.

Product-centric teams are driven by the desire to focus their attention on building and bringing products to the market. These organisations look to develop new products using the most innovative technology and processes that are available to them, one of which would be GitOps.

Used in the right way it can be faster and more efficient, but just ‘doing it’ because you feel you should won’t get you where you need to be. If Infrastructure As Code (IAC) works well, great do that. Don’t shoehorn in GitOps just because it’s a buzzy term or you feel like you need to for the sake of it.

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