Tag: Flux7 DevOps Blog

What We Can All Learn from the Hertz-Accenture News

What We Can All Learn from the Hertz-Accenture News

 

Agile Enterprise Continuous Innovation

This article originally appeared on Medium 

The Hertz digital experience project presents an opportunity to examine continuous improvement and innovation. For those who may have missed the story, a brief background: Hertz hired Accenture to help it create a “world-class digital experience”, most notably to “redefine the customer experience on Hertz’s digital platforms” with a redesigned website and “complementary suite of mobile applications.” Hertz paid more than $32 million, which it is suing to recover. 

Continuous improvement and innovation, learning and teaching are at the heart of an innovative enterprise. While there have been several articles dissecting the lawsuit, I would like to focus on a piece that has been overlooked: how customers can contribute to the success of such projects and empower their vendors. Taking an Agile approach where customer and vendor work collaboratively together with full transparency could have helped avoid these issues. Let’s look at four specific areas where this can be applied:

  1. Learn to fish.
    Hertz notes in its filing that it “did not have the internal expertise or resources to execute such a massive undertaking.” Many companies don’t—especially in today’s tight labor market. As consultants, our experience has taught us that the best customers are the ones who focus on this shortage and make it a priority to upskill their own teams well. At the end of the day, these teams will gain an in-depth understanding of how to extend their solution moving forward while retaining ownership of their IP.

    It’s notable as the lawsuit claims that, “Accenture, not Hertz decided when the design met Hertz’s requirements.” This is often a symptom of a lack of collaboration between the customer and the consultant. Rather than wait to evaluate the design once it is done, a best practice is for the two parties to work together. This is where the customer investing in upskilling really helps make the dialogue rich.

  2. Small, impactful steps trump a ‘big reveal’.
    The lawsuit states that Hertz was aiming for a ‘go live’ date for its new website and mobile apps which was not met. This can be a symptom of targeting a big milestone, rather than incremental improvements with shorter feedback loops. Shorter feedback loops are the best way to achieve progress. They are beneficial as they provide faster feedback cycles which allow you to identify problems (and solutions) faster, create the space for greater flexibility, and allow teams to respond to changing requirements. In our experience, shorter feedback loops increase the ability to deliver the right solution. (In fact, we’ve seen this corroborated by the principles of Little’s Law.) Regardless of the tools you use, frequent reviews and retrospectives are critical to shrinking the feedback loop to the point that improvements can be identified and applied quickly to stay in line with a project’s changing needs.
  3. Transparency is paramount.
    Transparency ensures everyone is in alignment which is why simple steps like conducting daily stand ups and weekly reviews can have a big impact on project successes. Other elements for added transparency could include weekly sprint reviews where teams collaboratively evaluate the working solution, tools like Information Radiators, a Team Working Agreement, Definition of Ready and Definition of Done which can go a long way in ensuring alignment and catching misalignments early.
  4. Consider agile contracts.
    Last, speaking of a project’s changing needs, consider using agile contracts as a means to embed agility, transparency, and collaboration into the process from the start. Agile contracts require both the vendor and customer to jointly define the project — including risks, costs, timeline, scope, joint responsibilities and approvals — and encourage all the things we’ve covered thus far, transparency, frequent check-ins and short feedback loops.

    Agile contracts seek to replace lengthy risk-based language with a transparent project that unearths potential risk as the work progresses and allows teams to dynamically adjust their goals to achieve a functional product. Which leads to the most important point: agile contracts give teams the visibility and flexibility to collaboratively change priorities and/or change the path to a successful project conclusion given roadblocks that may insert themselves along the way. In this way, teams are empowered to focus on the end goal and not just pre-defined contact deliverables.

Agility, transparency, and collaboration are critical legs of the stool as companies work with 3rd party vendors to successfully accomplish important work. In the spirit of learning and continuous innovation, do you have any lessons on your path to digital improvement that you can share here?

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Flux7 Named a 2019 Gartner Cool Vendor in Business and IT Services

Flux7 Named a 2019 Gartner Cool Vendor in Business and IT Services

Gartner Names Flux7 Cool Vendor in Business and IT Services

Each year Gartner announces Cool Vendors in a variety of technology categories. We are honored to be recognized as one of five Cool Vendors named in the Gartner report, Cool Vendors in Business and IT Services, published May 14, 2019. (Gartner subscribers can access the report here.)

Gartner, the world’s leading research and advisory company, notes in the report, “These Cool Vendors are specialist business and IT service providers that offer innovative and disruptive approaches with value propositions that align with evolving requirements in a digital business world. They reflect the game-changing technologies in CIO agendas for 2019.”

We are proud to be recognized among vendors that are innovative, impactful and intriguing! At Flux7, we embrace innovation as one of our core values, operating like an innovation lab for our customers, helping drive digital transformation to create an Agile Enterprise. We help address enterprises digital transformation by providing a framework and technology platform to quickly and securely adopt, implement, operate and scale enterprise IT platforms.

Specifically, Flux7 Landing Zones on AWS provide enterprise companies with a secure foundation, configuration-as-code, automated provisioning, infrastructure design and deployment guidance to enable organizations to start application migration to the cloud and gain valuable skills through comprehensive training in days, and automated processes in minutes. The Flux7 solution also helps enterprises establish standardized reusable design patterns on their public cloud infrastructure to simplify ongoing management, eliminate deployment bottlenecks, improve stability and quality, and reduce DevOps adoption costs.

Flux7 has also recently been ranked by Growjo among the fastest growing companies in the Austin area. Flux7 is #88 is based on growth indicators and a predictive analysis algorithm unique to Growjo. In addition, we saw customer contracts grow 247% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019. 2019 growth closely follows our 2018 year-ending cumulative three-year revenue growth of 547%.

Gartner Disclaimer

Gartner does not endorse any vendor, product or service depicted in its research publications, and does not advise technology users to select only those vendors with the highest ratings or other designation. Gartner research publications consist of the opinions of Gartner’s research organization and should not be construed as statements of fact. Gartner disclaims all warranties, express or implied, with respect to this research, including any warranties of merchantability or fitness for a particular purpose.

Want to grow with us? Check out our Career opportunities here: https://www.flux7.com/careers/ Interested in having our DevOps consulting team help with your IT modernization project? Reach out to us today. Or, stay in touch by subscribing to our blog below.

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IT Modernization and DevOps News Week in Review

IT Modernization and DevOps News Week in Review

IT Modernization DevOps News 9

The annual Jetbrains State of the Developer Ecosystem survey found that 45% of developers are now using a DevOps continuous integration / continuous delivery tool of some sort. And, interestingly, 63% of respondents felt that AI would replace developers — at least partially — in the future. The survey also found that 43% of responding developers are not using a configuration management tool, while the majority of those who do (27%) use a custom solution.

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Other DevOps findings include the fact that 90% of developers who use a server templating tool use Docker while the infrastructure provisioning solution of choice is Terraform (16%) with CloudFormation a close second (14%). Last, as we would expect, Kubernetes use has grown rapidly over last year’s survey, with almost one-third (29%) using it as their production container orchestration service.

DevOps News

  • VMware buys Avi Networks, a multi-cloud application delivery company, for an undisclosed amount. “Combining Avi Networks with VMware NSX will further enable organizations to respond to new opportunities and threats, create new business models, and deliver services to all applications and data, wherever they are located,” VMware’s Tom Gillis said in a statement
  • In other acquisition news, CloudBees acquired Rollout, a secure feature management company providing software specifically targeted for developers and product teams. According to a press release, the companies say that the deal, “further strengthens CloudBees’ leadership in the continuous integration and continuous delivery pipeline market, giving customers the ability to deliver new features safely, securely and quickly into production.”
  • Our DevOps Consulting team suggested this read containing (pun intended) three strategies for implementing a microservices architecture.
  • Last, we enjoyed this article by Astasia Myers summarizing 3 Themes from the Velocity Conference 2019 — most notably that talk of Kubernetes is alive and well and that skill development remains a limiting factor for cloud-native infrastructure adoption.

AWS News

  • A provider of managed database and cloud services, RDX announced at AWS Summit last week the availability of its new clckwrk Refactoring Service for Oracle. The new service enables enterprises to migrate apps using Oracle databases to Amazon Aurora, Amazon’s PostgreSQL open-source relational database.
  • AWS announced GA of Amazon Personalize, its fully-managed service that allows operators to create private, customized personalization recommendations for applications. This same technology that is used on Amazon.com is now available to developers to incorporate into their own applications. As AWS notes, it’s “like having your own Amazon.com machine learning personalization team at your beck and call, 24 hours a day.”
  • As of this week, AWS CodeCommit now supports two additional merge strategies for pull requests: squash merges and three-way merges. AWS also introduced a conflict resolution editor that allows developers to manually resolve conflicts from the console at the time of a merge.
  • Our AWS Consulting team enjoyed this guest AWS Blog by Alice Xiao, Data Analyst at State Street who shared how the Financial Services company uses CloudWatch Logs Insights to support their innovation process of rapidly converting business ideas into client-centered applications.

Flux7 News

  • Read CEO Dr. Suleman’s InforamtionWeek article, Five-Step Action Plan for DevOps at Scale in which he discusses how DevOps is achievable at enterprise scale if you start small, create a dedicated team and effectively use technology patterns and platforms.
  • Also published this week is Dr. Suleman’s take on Servant Leadership, as published in Forbes. In Why CIOs Should Have A Servant-Leadership Approach he shares why CIOs shouldn’t be in a position where they end up needing to justify their efforts. Read the article for the reason why. (No, it isn’t the brash conclusion you might think it is.)

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Written by Flux7 Labs

Flux7 is the only Sherpa on the DevOps journey that assesses, designs, and teaches while implementing a holistic solution for its enterprise customers, thus giving its clients the skills needed to manage and expand on the technology moving forward. Not a reseller or an MSP, Flux7 recommendations are 100% focused on customer requirements and creating the most efficient infrastructure possible that automates operations, streamlines and enhances development, and supports specific business goals.

from Flux7 DevOps Blog

Major Wholesaler Grows Uptime by Refactoring eComm Apps for AWS DevOps

Major Wholesaler Grows Uptime by Refactoring eComm Apps for AWS DevOps

AWS Case Study Ecommerce Cloud Refactor

A recent IDC survey of the Fortune 1000 found that the average cost of an infrastructure failure is $100,000 per hour and the average total cost of unplanned application downtime per year is between $1.25 billion and $2.5 billion. Our most recent customer relies heavily on its eCommerce site for business and knowing the extreme costs of infrastructure failure to its business, turned to the benefits of cloud-based DevOps. The firm sought to increase uptime, scalability, and security for its eCommerce applications by refactoring them for AWS DevOps.

What is Refactoring?

Refactoring involves an advanced process of re-architecting and often re-coding some portion of an existing application to take advantage of cloud-native frameworks and functionality. While this approach can be time-consuming and resource-intensive, it offers low monthly cloud spend as organizations that refactor are able to modify their applications and infrastructure to take full advantage of cloud-native features and thereby maximize operational cost efficiencies in the cloud.

AWS DevOps Refactoring

Employing the DevOps consulting team at Flux7 to help architect and build a DevOps platform solution, the team’s first goal was to ensure that the applications were architected for high availability at all levels in order to meet the company’s aggressive SLA goals. Here, the first step was to build a common DevOps platform for the company’s eCommerce applications and migrate the underlying technology to a common stack consisting of ECS, CloudFormation, and GoCD, an open source build and release tool from ThoughtWorks. (In the process, the team migrated one of the two applications from Kubernetes and Terraform to the new technology stack.)

As business-critical applications for the future of the retailer, the eCommerce applications needed to provide greater uptime scalability and data security than the legacy, on-premises applications from which they were refactored. As a result, the AWS experts at Flux7 built a CI/CD platform using AWS DevOps best practices, effectively reducing manual tasks and thereby increasing the team’s ability to focus on strategic work.

Further, the Flux7 DevOps team worked alongside the retailer’s team to:

  • Migrate the refactored applications to new AWS Accounts using the new CI/CD platform;
  • Automate remediation, recovering from failures faster;
  • Create AWS Identity and Access Management (IaM) resources as infrastructure as code (IaC);
  • Deliver the new applications in a Docker container-based microservices environment;
  • Deploy CloudWatch and Splunk for security and log management; and
  • Create DR procedures for the new applications to further ensure uptime and availability.

Moving forward, application updates will be rolled out via a blue-green deployment process that Flux7 helped the firm establish in order to achieve its zero downtime goals.

Business Benefits

While the customer team is a very advanced developer team, they were able to further their skills, learning through Flux7 knowledge transfer sessions how to enable DevOps best practices and continue to accelerate the new AWS DevOps platform adoption. At an estimated downtime cost of 6x the industry average, this firm couldn’t withstand the financial or reputational impact of a downtime event. As a result, the team is happy to report that it is meeting its zero downtime SLA objectives, enabling continuous system availability and with it growing customer satisfaction.

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AWS Case Study: Energy Leader Digitizes Library for Analytics, Compliance

AWS Case Study: Energy Leader Digitizes Library for Analytics, Compliance

AWS Case Study Energy Leader Textract

The oil and gas industry has a rich history and one that is deeply intertwined with regulation — with Federal and State rules that regulate everything from exploration to production and transportation to workplace safety. As a result, our latest customer had amassed millions of paper documents to ensure its ability to prove compliance. It also maintained files with vast amounts of geological data, that served as the backbone of its intellectual property.

With over seven million physical documents saved and filed in deep storage, this oil and gas industry leader called the AWS consulting services team at Flux7 for its help digitizing its vast document library. In the process, it also wanted to make it easy to archive documents moving forward, and ensure that its operators could easily search for and find data.

Read the full AWS Case Study here.

Working with AWS Consulting Partner Flux7, the company created a working plan to digitize and catalog its vast document library. AWS had recently announced at re:Invent a new tool, Amazon Textract, which although still in preview mode, was the ideal tool for the task.

What is Textract?

For those of you unfamiliar with Amazon Textract, it is a new service that uses machine learning to automatically extract text and data from scanned documents. Unlike Optical Character Recognition (OCR) solutions, it also identifies the contents of fields in forms and information stored in tables, which allows users to conduct full data analytics on documents once they are digitized.

The Textract Proof of Concept

The proof of concept included several dozen physical documents that were scanned and uploaded to S3. From here, Lambda functions were triggered which launched Textract. In addition to the data being presented to Kibana, URLs for specific documents are presented to users.

As Amazon Textract automatically detects the key elements in a document or data relationships in forms and tables, it is able to extract data within the context it was originally created. With a core set of key parameters, such as revision date, extracted by Textract, operators will be able to search by key business parameters.

Analytics and Compliance

Interfacing with the data via Kibana, end users can now create smart search indexes which allow them to quickly and easily find key business data. Moreover, operators can build automated approval workflows and better meet document archival rules for regulatory compliance. Moreover, no longer does the company need to send an employee in their car to retrieve files from the warehouse, saving time from a labor-intensive task.

At Flux7, we relish the ability to help organizations apply automation and free their employees from manual tasks, replacing it with time to focus on strategic, business-impacting work. Read more Energy industry AWS case studies for best practices in cloud-based DevOps automation for enterprise agility.

For five tips on how to apply DevOps in your Oil, Gas or Energy enterprise, check out this article our CEO, Dr. Suleman, recently wrote for Oilman magazine. (Note that a free subscription is required.) Or, download the full case study here today.

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IT Modernization and DevOps News Week in Review

IT Modernization and DevOps News Week in Review

IT Modernization DevOps News 12

The Uptime Institute announced findings of its ninth annual Data Center Survey, unveiling several interesting — and important — data points. Underscoring what many in the industry are feeling about the skill gap, the survey found that 61% of respondents said they had difficulty retaining or recruiting staff — up from 55% a year earlier. And, according to the synopsis, “while the lack of women working in data centers is well-known, the extent of the imbalance is notable” with one-quarter of respondents saying they had no women at all on their design, build or operations teams.

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When it comes to downtime, outages continue to cause significant problems. Without much improvement over the past year, 34% of respondents said they had an outage or severe IT service degradation in the past year. 10% said their most significant outage cost more than $1 million. When it comes to public cloud, 20% of operators reported that they would be more likely to put workloads in a public cloud if there were more visibility. While 50% of respondents already using public cloud for mission-critical applications said that they do not have adequate visibility.

DevOps News

  • Atlassian has announced Status Embed, a service designed to boost customer experience and communication by displaying the current state of services where customers are most likely to see it, such as your homepage, app or help center.
  • GitHub has brought to market repository templates to make boilerplate code management and distribution a “first-class citizen” on GitHub, according to the company.
  • HashiCorp announced the availability of Hashicorp Nomad 0.9.2, a workload orchestrator for deploying containerized and legacy apps across multiple regions or cloud providers. Nomad 09.9.2 includes preemption capabilities for service and batch jobs.
  • SDXCentral reports that, “VMware is developing a multi-cloud management tool that Joe Kinsella, chief technology officer of CloudHealth at VMware, describes as ‘Google docs for IT management, which is the ability to collaborate and share across an organization.’”

AWS News

  • Amazon announced that AWS Organizations now support tagging and untagging of AWS Accounts, allowing operators to assign custom attributes, or tags, to the AWS accounts they manage with AWS Organizations. According to AWS, the ability to attach tags such as owner name, project, business group, cost center, environment, and other values directly to an AWS account makes it easier for people in the organization to get information on particular AWS accounts without having to refer to a separate spreadsheet or other out-of-band method for tracking your AWS accounts.
  • Also introduced this week is AWS Systems Manager OpsCenter which is designed to help operators view, investigate, and resolve operational issues related to their environment from a central location.
  • Amazon has launched a new service to enhance recovery. Host Recovery for Amazon EC2 will now automatically restart instances on a new host in the event of an unexpected hardware failure on a Dedicated Host. Host Recovery will reduce the need for manual intervention, minimize recovery time and lower the operational burden for instances running on Dedicated Hosts. As a bonus, it has built-in integration with AWS License Manager to automatically track and manage licenses. There are no additional EC2 charges for using Host Recovery.
  • Last, our AWS Consulting team thought this foundational blog on Getting started with serverless was a good read for those of you looking to build serverless applications to take advantage of its agility and reduced TCO.

Flux7 News

  • Join AWS and Flux7 as they present a one day workshop on how Serverless Technology is impacting business now (and what you need to get started). Serverless technology on AWS is enabling companies by building modern applications with increased agility and lower total cost of ownership. Find additional information and register here.
  • Read CEO Dr. Suleman’s InformationWeek article, Five-Step Action Plan for DevOps at Scale in which he discusses how DevOps is achievable at enterprise scale if you start small, create a dedicated team and effectively use technology patterns and platforms.
  • Also published this week is Dr. Suleman’s take on Servant Leadership, as published in Forbes. In Why CIOs Should Have A Servant-Leadership Approach he shares why CIOs shouldn’t be in a position where they end up needing to justify their efforts. Read the article for the reason why. (No, it isn’t the brash conclusion you might think it is.)

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Written by Flux7 Labs

Flux7 is the only Sherpa on the DevOps journey that assesses, designs, and teaches while implementing a holistic solution for its enterprise customers, thus giving its clients the skills needed to manage and expand on the technology moving forward. Not a reseller or an MSP, Flux7 recommendations are 100% focused on customer requirements and creating the most efficient infrastructure possible that automates operations, streamlines and enhances development, and supports specific business goals.

from Flux7 DevOps Blog

Digital Transformation & The Agile Enterprise in Oil and Gas

Digital Transformation & The Agile Enterprise in Oil and Gas

Digital Transformation Agile Enterprise Oil Gas

According to the World Economic Forum, digital transformation could unlock approximately $1.6 trillion of value for the Oil and Gas industry, its customers and society. This value is derived from greater productivity, better system efficiency, savings from reduced resource usage, and fewer spills and emissions. Yet, the journey to these digital transformation benefits begins with a proverbial first step which can be elusive for large oil and gas enterprises who have vast legacy technologies and complicated organizational structures to navigate.

At Flux7, we are proponents of the Agile Enterprise. While much work has been put into defining what makes an enterprise agile, we are fans of the research by McKinsey, who found a common set of five disciplines that agile enterprises share in common. Defined by their practices more than anything else, these agile organizations deploy an agile culture and agile technology to effectively support their digital transformation initiatives.

Becoming an Agile Enterprise is critically important within the oil and gas industries where unparalleled transformation is happening in rapid fashion. From new extraction methods to IoT and changing customer expectations, the industry is evolving quickly. For long-term, scalable success, digital efforts must be a cornerstone as organizations transition to becoming an Agile Enterprise.

DevOps for Oil and Gas

Equal parts people, process and technology, DevOps is a key component of marrying digital and agile. With a solid cloud-based DevOps platform, automation to streamline processes and ensure they are followed, and a Center of Excellence in place to help train teams, oil and gas enterprises have a roadmap to digital transformation success with DevOps.

For a more detailed road map to DevOps success across the enterprise, please download our white paper:

5 Steps to Enterprise DevOps at Scale

Let’s explore a few examples of organizations in the energy industry that have applied DevOps best practices to facilitate digital transformation and reach greater enterprise agility:

TechnipFMC, a world leader in project management, engineering, and construction for the energy industry, was looking to ensure compliance and security for cloud computing for its global sites and the perimeter networks that support its client-facing applications. To help accomplish this goal, TechnipFMC wanted to create a consistent, self-service solution to enable its global IT employees to easily provision cloud infrastructure and migrate externally facing Microsoft SharePoint sites to the cloud. With templates and automation, TechnipFMC can now enforce security and compliance standards in every deployment, which enhances overall perimeter network security. In addition, TechnipFMC is expecting to reduce operational costs while growing operational effectiveness. Listen as TechnipFMC’s John Hutchinson shares the experience at re:Invent or read the full Technip story.

A renewable energy leader had two parallel goals: It wanted to use an AWS cloud migration strategy as an opportunity to overhaul its business systems and in the process, the company wanted to build standardization. Moreover, it aimed to increase developer agility, grow global access for its workers and decrease capital expenses. Based on its application portfolio TCO analysis, a lift and shift migration approach was pursued. With 80% of its applications now defined by a small number of templates, the company has standardized its software builds, ensuring security best practices are followed by default. The enterprise has increased its time to innovation, speed to market and operational efficiencies. Preview their story here.

Fugro, which collects and provides highly specialized interpretation of oceanic geological data, is able to keep skilled staff onshore using an Internet of Things (IoT) platform model. Called OARS, its cloud-based project provides faster interpretation of data and decisions. With continuous delivery of code, its vessels are sure to always have the newest software features at their fingertips. And, new environments which previously took weeks to build, now launch in a matter of hours, providing better access to information across global regions. Read the full Fugro case study here.

A global oil field services company was looking to embrace digitalization with a SaaS model solution that sought to integrate data and business process management and in the process address operational workflows that would lead to greater scalability and more efficient delivery. The firm implemented a pipeline for delivering AMIs that are provisioned using Ansible and Docker containers, thereby streamlining complex workflows, allowing the firm to reap efficiencies of scale from automation, meet tight deadlines and ensure SOC2 compliance. Now the firm has pipelines for delivering resources and processes to build and deploy current and future solutions — ensuring digital transformation in the short- and long- term.

We are living in an uncertain, complex and constantly changing world. To stay competitive, oil and gas enterprises are expected to react to changes at unprecedented speed, which has ushered in a strong focus on becoming an agile enterprise. Effectively balance stability with ever-evolving customer needs, technologies, and overall market conditions with DevOps best practices as your foundation to scalable digital transformation.

For five tips on how to apply DevOps in your Oil, Gas or Energy enterprise, check out this article our CEO, Dr. Suleman, recently wrote for Oilman magazine. (Note that a free subscription is required.)  Or, you can find additional resources on our Energy resource page.

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from Flux7 DevOps Blog

Upskill Your Team to Address the Cloud, Kubernetes Skills Gap

Upskill Your Team to Address the Cloud, Kubernetes Skills Gap

Upskill Your Team Kubernetes Cloud Skills Gap This article originally appeared on Forbes

According to CareerBuilder’s Mid Year Job Forecast, 63% of U.S. employers planned to hire full-time, permanent workers in the second half of 2018. This growing demand coupled with low unemployment is driving a real talent shortage. The technology field, in particular, is experiencing acute pain when it comes to finding skilled talent. Indeed, more than five million IT jobs are expected to be added globally by 2027, reports BusinessInsider.

Of these five million jobs, the two most requested tech skills according to research by DICE are for Kubernetes and Terraform with the company also finding that DevOps Engineer has quickly moved up the ranks of the top paid IT careers. As companies invest in IT modernization with approaches like Agile and DevOps and technologies like cloud computing and containers, skills to support these initiatives are in increasing demand.

The problem is not set to get better in the near or mid-term with many companies reporting that it’s taking longer to find candidates with the right technology and business skills for driving digital innovation. A survey by OpsRamp found that 94% of HR departments take at least 30 days to fill an empty position and 25% report taking 90 days or more. With internal pressures for innovation that won’t wait out a protracted hiring process, I encourage leaders to look internally, using two key levers to help grow innovation.

Upskill Your Team

One way to work around a skills gap within the organization is to upskill the team. Rather than hiring a new headcount that is already difficult to find, a solution is to train your existing team. (Or a few members of the team who can in turn train others.) While there are a variety of training options — from classroom training to virtual classes and more — at Flux7, our experience has shown that hands-on training works best for technical skills like Terraform or Kubernetes. 

Specifically, a successful model consists of the following:

  • Find a coach that can work hand-in-hand with your team
  • Identify a small but impactful project for the coach and team to work on together with the goal of having the coach train the team along the way
  • Start the project with the coach taking the initial lead sharing what they are doing, why and how with your team shadowing
  • Slowly transition over the course of the project to the coach assigning tasks to your team, with your employees ultimately leading tasks and checking in with the coach as needed.


In this way, teams are able to learn in a practical, hands-on manner, taking ownership of the environment as they learn and grow — all while having access to an expert who can guide, correct and reinforce learning.

In addition to gaining much-needed skills in-house, upskilling your existing team has retention benefits. In a survey of tech professionals by DICE, 71% said that training and education are important to them, yet only 40% currently have company-paid training and education. Underscoring the importance of training to technologists, 45% who are satisfied with their job receive training; conversely, only 28% of those who are dissatisfied with their job receive training.

Grow Productivity with Automation

In addition to upskilling your team, automation is important to continue to expand your capacity. Approaches like DevOps embrace the use automation to create continuous integration and delivery, in the process reducing handoffs and speeding time to market. In addition, the use of automation can keep employees from working on tactical, repeatable tasks and instead focused on strategic, business-impacting work.

Let me give you an example. I recently had the opportunity to work with a large semiconductor company who sought to bolster its team’s cloud, container and Kubernetes talents in order to support a new AWS initiative. Working hands-on in the cloud to automate its pipelines and other processes, the company was able to streamline tasks that formerly took days to mere minutes.

In addition to working elbow-to-elbow with a cloud coach on the project, the company also initiated weekly knowledge transfer sessions to the team to ensure everyone had received the same level of training and was ready for the next week’s work. At the end of the project, the team was ready to train others in the organization and felt confident that they were building better products faster as their time was focused less on tactical work and more on making a strategic impact. Another benefit to the team — and company as a whole — is that by taking a cross-functional DevOps approach, employees felt that communication improved making their work more enjoyable.

In a recent poll of over 70,000 developers, HackerRank found that salary wasn’t the lead driver of what they look for in a job. Rather, the most important factors for developers, across all job levels and functions, was the opportunity for professional growth and the opportunity to work on interesting problems. The application of automation not only increases developer productivity and code throughput but provides the space to work on interesting projects that leads to greater job satisfaction and retention.

With competition growing for employees skilled in Kubernetes, Terraform, DevOps and more, growing your own is an increasingly attractive approach. UC Berkeley found that the average cost to hire a new professional employee may be as high as $7,000 (while replacement costs can be as great as 2.5x salary) not to mention lost opportunity costs as organizations place projects on hold as they vie to find skilled talent. Upskilling employees, combined with greater automation, can increase code throughput and get more projects to market faster, maximizing near-term opportunity. Just as importantly, presenting employees with new skills and the opportunity to work on interesting work has proven to increase job satisfaction and retention.

Learn more about addressing the skills gap, building cloud-native infrastructure and more on the Flux7 DevOps blog. Subscribe today:

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IT Modernization and DevOps News Week in Review

IT Modernization and DevOps News Week in Review

IT Modernization DevOps News 13Palo Alto Networks made the most of a short week by announcing its plan to acquire container security company Twistlock for $410 million. It also announced plans to acquire serverless security company PureSec and launched Prisma, its new cloud security service. With cloud and container security top of mind for many, the acquisitions will prove to be valuable assets as enterprises seek to build security in.

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DevOps News

  • Red Hat Ansible Tower 3.5 is now generally available. The release now includes support for RHEL 8, external credential vaults via credential plugins, and Become plugins. In addition, Red Hat noted that the Ansible Tower 3.5 release saw over 160 issues closed.
  • Red Hat Ansible Engine 2.8 is now available. In addition to several enhancements, the release includes several new features such as Ansible content (Collections), BECOME being the default privilege escalation path, no longer depending on paramiko, and BECOMEplugins, and other notable improvements and changes.
  • TeamCity 2019.1, the first major release of this year, is here. The release features a redesigned UI, native GitLab integration, and support for GitLab and Bitbucket server pull requests as well as token-based authentication, detection and reporting of Go tests, faster build agent upgrades, and AWS Spot Fleet requests.

AWS News

Flux7 News

  • Join AWS and Flux7 as they present a one day workshop on how Serverless Technology is impacting business now (and what you need to get started). Serverless technology on AWS is enabling companies by building modern applications with increased agility and lower total cost of ownership. Find additional information and register here.
  • Flux7 has been ranked by Growjo as one of the fastest growing companies in the Austin area. Read more about Flux7’s customer and business momentum.

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Written by Flux7 Labs

Flux7 is the only Sherpa on the DevOps journey that assesses, designs, and teaches while implementing a holistic solution for its enterprise customers, thus giving its clients the skills needed to manage and expand on the technology moving forward. Not a reseller or an MSP, Flux7 recommendations are 100% focused on customer requirements and creating the most efficient infrastructure possible that automates operations, streamlines and enhances development, and supports specific business goals.

from Flux7 DevOps Blog

Growjo Ranks Flux7 Among Fastest Growing Austin Companies

Growjo Ranks Flux7 Among Fastest Growing Austin Companies

Growjo Ranks Flux7 Fast Growing in Austin

Growjo is on a mission to identify the top growing companies across regions of the US and we’re excited to announce that Flux7 has been ranked among the fastest growing companies in the Austin area. Flux7’s rank of #88 is based on growth indicators and a predictive analysis algorithm unique to Growjo that not only creates the most complete list of the fastest growing companies, but it is also a great predictor of future growth.

In addition to the Austin ranking, the Flux7 DevOps consulting services firm has been named to Growjo’s Tech Services, State of Texas, and overall 10k list of fastest growing companies. Calculated from high growth indicators that include employee size, brand awareness, funding, acquisitions, hiring plans, new locations and additional trigger events, the Growjo formula predicts that Flux7 is both growing at an increased rate and is poised to grow significantly through 2019 and beyond.

In response to the ranking, Aater Suleman, Flux7 co-founder and CEO, said “Flux7 succeeds when our customers succeed. We seek to make it possible for organizations to experiment more, fail cheap, and measure results accurately through an innovation lab strategy. Today’s ranking illustrates the power of this approach combined with Flux7 values of humbleness, transparency, and innovation to solve business challenges.”

At Flux7, we view customer growth as a significant vote of confidence; this year we are humbled to have so many new and repeat customers loudly affirming their confidence in our employees and approach to solving business challenges. We are truly honored to be an integral part of our customer’s digital transformations as we saw customer contracts grow 247% year-over-year in the first quarter of 2019. 2019 growth closely follows our 2018 year-ending cumulative three-year revenue growth of 547%.

Since its inception, Flux7 has established itself as a thought leader and valuable partner for enterprise and midmarket businesses aiming to modernize their IT practices and retain management of their own systems. Flux7 has been able to establish a unique position in the market by filling a need for enterprises to make rapid modernization progress while learning new technical skills for greater business agility.

With its Enterprise DevOps Framework, Flux7 helps organizations apply DevOps methodologies to reap benefits like greater innovation, enhanced security, increased scalability and more.

According to Growjo, inclusion in the Growjo 10000 is a better indicator of success than any other “fast company list”. Want to grow with us? Check out our Career opportunities here: https://www.flux7.com/careers/ Interested in having our DevOps consulting team help with your IT modernization project? Reach out to us today.

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from Flux7 DevOps Blog