Sunday, October 1, 2023

Strategies to Minimize DevOps Tool Sprawling

By Nikhil Sonawane - June 05, 2023 6 Mins Read

Strategies to Minimize DevOps Tool Sprawling

Most enterprises have adopted DevOps in their business strategies, yet many are experiencing tool sprawl. Adopting to DevOps approach has made software delivery processes more efficient, simplified, and reliable. Businesses today have various tools that they need to manage, license, and maintain.

DevOps tool sprawl usually results from the flexibility offered to the development teams to select their tools. However, enterprises now understand the need for a centralized and streamlined system. The flexibility offered to developers to select the right tool for the task has enabled the teams with agility to execute tasks. However, the outcome is a complicated web of systems and work processes to deliver software.

As National DevOps Day 2023 is around the corner, in this article, let’s explore the strategies to reduce the DevOps tools sprawling to improve overall efficiency.

Ways to reduce DevOps tool Sprawling

Centralize the software artifact management and storage

Development teams designing and developing new products usually use free or cost-effective solutions. As software engineering and development teams are scaling exponentially, they implement robust tools and technologies to design, develop and deliver applications.

As a result, the development teams might use multiple repositories or serves to store their artifacts. This creates DevOps tool sprawl, delays automation, hinders security, and requires manual efforts to develop and deploy software updates. Organizations will start storing the software artifacts in multiple repositories or locations like a package manager, other container registries, or Docker Hub.

Moreover, GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, or other control systems versions and other storage servers like Google Drive, Amazon S3 buckets, and on-premises share drives offer spaces for developers to store their software artifacts. Saving and maintaining software artifacts in various storage locations can be an effective solution for small development initiatives.

However, storing artifacts on multiple servers will not be an effective solution for development teams that need quick deployments, have to share artifacts across multiple teams, or collaborate with teams that work at dispersed locations.

Developing a comprehensive centralized repository for all dependencies and creating artifacts and their metadata enables teams. It is one of the most effective ways to ensure better automation and offer a single source of truth to imply the organization’s security efforts.

Also Read: Reasons Why Data Governance is Challenging for Enterprises

Systems and data monitoring

Developers and engineers today have multiple monitoring tools to oversee, and the numbers might increase when organizations make service level agreements (SLAs) more stringent. Implementing such a wide range of tools can create chaos for the software engineering teams and increase the cost of licensing, maintaining, and managing them. For transparency, organizations need more visibility into their workflows, infrastructure, and applications.

However, IT decision-makers must consider that multiple monitoring and logging tools will create data silos, restricting the development teams from accessing and exploring data when needed. Developing a holistic of tools across the entire tech stack will enable organizations to have cross-functional insights and enrich the value of all those logs the various tools generate if organizations have already consolidated these aspects. They also need to consider consolidating continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery/continuous deployment (CD) tooling, Distribution and caching, and Source and Version Control Software (VCS) tools.

One crucial factor that DevOps leaders need to consider is that they cannot consolidate everything. There might be other crucial features or capabilities that organizations need to maintain in their current toolsets. Organizations exploring options to consolidate the toolsets must consider a centralized platform’s role in minimizing the number of tools the development teams leverage. Additionally, consolidation will help seamlessly integrate and connect the solutions in the new enterprise tech stack.

Consider all the options wisely

One of the most effective ways businesses can reduce the DevOps tool sprawling is by thinking vigilantly about the pros and cons of adopting new tools in the tech stack. Every tool will have functional and non-functional aspects. Various teams buy a new tool based on its functional benefits to their development work processes, such as visualizing data or optimizing observability. The teams usually overlook the new tool’s non-functional aspects, such as performance, upgrading ease, and security functionalities.

Let’s visualize a tool as a journey in which the function would be its final destination and non-functional aspects would be its path. IT decision-makers must consider operational challenges before implementing a new tool in their enterprise tech stack. Organizations must consider the resources required to manage the tools and whether updated versions are available.

Moreover, organizations must consider agility as a deciding factor before implementing the new tool. It is crucial to understand whether the tool is modular or extensible to determine if the tools will optimize the functionality downstream. If organizations make a wrong decision while integrating a new tool, the team might get stuck with tools that are obsolete and cannot get rid of.

Also Read: Managing Cloud Computing Cost: Challenges & Strategies

Enterprise tech stack detox

Another effective tool sprawl mitigation strategy that businesses can consider is adopting all-inclusive tools that help the development teams to achieve the desired outcome with minimum tools. Various vendors offer all-in-one tools that can help businesses reduce the DevOps tool sprawling.

The best tools will offer observability and monitoring tools that leverage a stateful streaming pipeline and machine learning capabilities to evaluate and extract insights from multiple data sources. Integrating comprehensive tools with artificial intelligence capabilities to identify data patterns will help to overcome data silos and the other risks it might expose to the organization.

Develop a DevOps Tools Consolidation Roadmap

Organizations can create a tool consolidation roadmap to ensure a streamlined process to consolidate all the tools in the enterprise tech stack. Businesses that are witnessing an out-of-control DevOps tool sprawl need to have effective strategies implemented to overcome them.

Before organizations embark on a journey to consolidate tools, they should have a plan of what they will achieve. Once they clearly understand what they want to accomplish, the team can draft a list of use cases and create a potential road map of potential solutions. Enterprises with a goal and plan to achieve it cans start executing it. Consolidating the tools in the enterprise tech stack will enable the organization to reduce the DevOps tool sprawling.

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Nikhil Sonawane

Nikhil Sonawane is a Tech Journalist with OnDot Media. He has 4+ years of technical expertise in drafting content strategies for Blockchain, Supply Chain Management, Artificial Intelligence, and IoT. His Commitment to ongoing learning and improvement helps him to deliver thought-provoking insights and analysis on complex technologies and tools that are revolutionizing modern enterprises. He brings his eye for editorial detail and keen sense of language skills to every article he writes. If he is not working, he will be found on treks, walking in forests, or swimming in the ocean.

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