homeblogdevops big finance companies does it help

DevOps in Big Finance Companies: Does it Help?

Can DevOps work in a large enterprise laden with legacy systems? Does it have value in finance, a heavily regulated environment where any company's transactions can affect the business of others in the industry? Jim Bird, CTO at BIDS Trading L.P., writes about where he thinks DevOps can help — and where it can’t — in his article, Making DevOps Work Outside WebOps, published at JavaCodeGeeks.com.

Jim fully endorses the most important mission of DevOps: bringing developers, IT operations people and business managers together to address important issues in their companies:

  • configuration management
  • improving software release and deployment processes
  • run-time alerts
  • run-time checks on operational dependencies and status
  • application monitoring
  • learning from failures

It was interesting to see that, 10 months after we published our 2013 State of DevOps Report, it’s still relevant to people who think deeply about IT. Jim cites our finding that high-performing DevOps shops deploy code up to 30 times more frequently than their lesser-performing peers, with 50 percent fewer failures.

Jim points out something that DevOps practitioners eventually become comfortable with: Deploying changes very frequently can result in more failures, albeit smaller ones. While that can be okay for webops organizations, Jim points out failures can be more serious for finance.

One principle of DevOps — and of continuous delivery, which DevOps practices and culture enables — is more frequent release of small changes. The assumption is that small changes are less inherently less risky than big ones, easier to roll back, easier to diagnose and to fix.

Another issue Jim has with DevOps is that large enterprises have often grown via merger and acquisition, and so have thousands of different applications to manage, on myriad different platforms. Some of these technologies are no longer supported by their original creators or resellers. “You can’t pretend that you can take care of your configuration management problems by using Puppet or Chef” in such an environment, Jim writes.

Here’s where we have an issue: It’s precisely because they have large heterogeneous environments that big enterprises need configuration management to achieve harmony across their systems. Puppet Labs customers tell us that DevOps practices, including automated configuration management, allow them to align their legacy infrastructure with new development. Creating configuration commonality between different systems reduces the amount of routine work IT operations people have on their plate, and keeps systems in a better defined, more predictable state.

We always want to hear more about how DevOps is playing out in different industries. If you’re in finance, and you’re using or exploring DevOps practices, we’d love to hear your take on its limitations and usefulness. Please add your comments below.

Learn More