DevOps Sharpens Indian Tech During COVID Induced Remote Working
When DevOps started a few years back in India, its adoption was faster than expected. Technology is a big game changer for India, where we see a mix of companies with large offshore development centres that are adopting tech, and also the new breed of tech startups as well as B2C companies.
Recently, Longitude, an arm of Financial Times Group conducted a survey of 400 global IT executives and practitioners. The survey found that organizations that have adopted best DevOps practices are starting to see tangible financial benefits over those that haven’t yet invested in them.
In the wake of COVID, as work becomes more and more remote, this is even truer. To find out how India’s DevOps culture has fared in recent times as well as amid COVID, The Tech Panda spoke to Kavita Viswanath, General Manager of JFrog, an end-to-end DevOps platform for continuous software releases.
It took at least a few years before India jumped into the Cloud. But in terms of DevOps, we’ve seen a slightly different pace. We have companies with their development centres in India
She says India has shown unique growth when it comes to DevOps in comparison to Cloud. Still, the whole DevOps majority curve in India is definitely in the same lines as Europe, but still behind the US.
“Typically, if you look at the past decade, when Cloud became big, developing nations in Europe and the US picked it up first. It took at least a few years before India jumped into the Cloud. But in terms of DevOps, we’ve seen a slightly different pace. We have companies with their development centres in India,” she says.
Multi-national companies (MNCs) like Boeing, Bank of America, JP Morgan, Mercedes Benz, etc., have sizeable development centres in India. They have started automating with DevOps processes by using different tools from companies such as JFrog.
“We see them adopting DevOps practices way ahead of time. And this is not because these are MNCs trying to adopt a new technology. This is also because Indians working in these offshore development centres understand the power of using a new tech in this space,” she says.
DevOps Gives the Edge in COVID Times
Another point Vishwanath makes is that the high number of Indian tech startups in areas like ecommerce, B2C, and C2C, depend on the smooth functioning of DevOps, a fact apparent in COVID times.
“Given this landscape, tech becomes a very big game changer for them. When COVID hit, and all of these ecommerce companies had to change their delivery methodology, they had to update their apps with new safety measures to be able to deliver to consumers,” she explains.
DevOps has given the tech sector in India an edge that has been leveraged during the COVID crisis.
“All of this had to really happen overnight for them to keep their businesses up and running. So this is a new breed of companies, where tech adoption is really fast and the way they adopted a new tech in terms of new product releases and updates to DevOps automation tools, we see that they were still being competitive in the market. They were still able to release these new features on time to make sure that they’re up and running and their business is not impacted,” she adds.
What is DevOps?
In simple terms, DevOps is a process followed by teams in any tech environment to deploy software. It’s a set of practices that brings together software development and IT operations. The goal is to speed up the systems development life cycle and provide continuous delivery with high software quality.
When large software teams, often spread across multiple locations, write code in different languages, the resulting code has to run somewhere for the final product to take shape and form. The team makes everything happen once the code is written by developers.
“This entire team, the process they follow, the interaction and collaboration with the dev team, and how they get the code from development to release is really what DevOps is all about,” says Vishwanath.
We see them adopting DevOps practices way ahead of time. And this is not because these are MNCs trying to adopt a new technology. This is also because Indians working in these offshore development centres understand the power of using a new tech in this space
She tries to simplify with an example that everyone can relate to. When a user watches Netflix on a laptop, a phone, or the television, there are three different form factors, which are running three different operating systems.
“What you don’t realize is when you’re watching your favorite program, the Netflix app is getting constantly updated in the background. It could be the app running on the television or the app version running on the phone, because that’s a different app that is written for the form factor of the phone, or it could be something running differently on your laptop or your tablet. The user does not realize that these apps are getting constantly updated,” she explains.
These updates could either be a security patch that Netflix is releasing, a new feature that Netflix is introducing, or just an upgrade to the existing app from an overall tech perspective. This is really powered by a DevOps team.
JFrog: De Facto DevOps
The JFrog platform is a combination of six different products, which help automate a DevOps process end to end. The JFrog platform takes care of product releases in terms of managing release cycles for developers and ensuring that security is taken care of when releasing a particular batch or an upgrade.
After a code is written, the JFrog platform takes over, starting from where the executable files get stored, making security checks to ensure that the updates released by the customer are safe and secure, and taking care of distribution centers, no matter how spread out.
“Essentially, right after the code is written, to the time the code is getting deployed and released to the end point, all of this is powered from the JFrog platform via six different products that we have,” says Vishwanath.
She proudly informs that JFrog has been the pioneer of the whole concept of a binary repository manager when the need was felt in small pockets. The cofounders of JFrog wrote the product more than ten years back at a time when there was no solution available in the market, whether open source or commercial.
Since then, they’ve been changing the product roadmap to suit their customers. They have been working closely with their customers, getting a better understanding of how they are looking at DevOps and picking up products along the same lines. This, Vishwanath says, has helped them dominate the market and also stay ahead of the curve when it comes to customer requirements.
“Somewhere, we have become so popular that our product is more famous than the company. People don’t realize that Artifactory is the name of the product, but it’s powered by JFrog. And that’s the de facto name as far as DevOps is concerned,” she says proudly.
Artifactory is JFrog’s signature product, a universal artifact repository that supports all package types in artifact management.
The Significance of Automation in COVID Times
As COVID-19 continues to harangue the world, Vishwanath says in a world where everyone started working remotely, DevOps managers or engineering managers are now seeing that it’s all the more important to get tools to automate and bring all the code written by different developers together.
There was a time when people, while they were still working together and physically closer to each other, could coordinate product releases.
This is a new breed of companies, where tech adoption is really fast and the way they adopted a new tech in terms of new product releases and updates to DevOps automation tools, we see that they were still being competitive in the market
“You could afford to shut down your business and say that okay, for the next three days, my servers aren’t going to be up and running, my system is going to be down, because I’m going to do an upgrade to my product. You could do that, and you could still pull off a successful release, because everyone was going to sit together and work overnight and make it happen. But today, the whole environment has changed significantly,” she says.
This is not a possibility anymore, which is why we see organizations in a rush to adopt tools and technologies that help them with product releases in a much more sophisticated way, without having to depend on people to monitor and make sure that the releases are successful.
At the same time, they also understand the edge they need to have over their competitors in the market. Therefore, they cannot afford to shut down their production environment for long.
Also, app-based companies have solutions like ERP or CRM, which while good to have, aren’t a must-have to run a business. On the other hand, infrastructure-based organizations have tools like AWS or Azure, where these infrastructure solutions are definitely needed and all the more now, when business has become super remote.
“Given that, I think infrastructure companies are definitely seeing a boom, and app companies might see a sinusoidal wave in their business for some time,” she says.