VMware has been transforming itself during the past 20 years—from the originator of compute virtualization to a leader in products and services for the Software-Defined Data Center, hybrid cloud, and end-user computing.
Our continued growth has required a significant amount of business agility: the ability to rapidly introduce new products and features, respond to competitive threats, and address business and customer needs.
To drive greater agility, IT embarked on a transformation journey to replace the old waterfall approach with an agile delivery model that leverages DevOps and continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). The faster application development and nimbler infrastructure from a DevOps approach would enable VMware to more quickly introduce and support products and services.
The impact of this transformation on VMware’s business agility has been substantial. In 2017, we delivered more than 5,300 application features with a significant reduction in cost per feature. In this post, I will discuss our approach and adoption of the DevOps model.
IT’s Transformation Journey
Within our IT organization, we manage approximately 400 applications and around 12 million lines of custom code that run the core business of VMware. Prior to the DevOps adoption, our core delivery model was based on a waterfall methodology. With multiple projects running in parallel, it became difficult to deliver applications consistently with predictability and high quality. Moreover, the overhead caused the cost of delivery to begin to skyrocket. We decided to go back to the table to fundamentally redesign the way we delivered our programs and move to an agile delivery model.
Our journey consisted of three main steps:
- Move to the cloud: We consolidated all our environments into our internal private cloud.
- Move to DevOps model: We enabled automation for developers to manage the infrastructure thru APIs. We used blueprints to provision end-to-end instances and environments with the latest code, configurations, and data and made them available to developers at the click of a button. We also changed processes and reorganized teams with DevOps skills to decrease the handoff times between the development and operations teams.
- Automation to support agile delivery and developer self-service: We moved to an agile delivery model with end-to-end pipeline integration and a central application management plane. We also reduced our number of fully integrated environments from 27 to 5 by moving to a CI/CD model that integrated our code base across our architecture.
Central Application Management Plane
The Central Application Management plane is the heart of our model. Within it, we built an integrated developer experience that enables features such as a self-service portal and automated instance provisioning. Our model supports a release-when-ready approach that eliminates bottlenecks. This nimbleness results in an accelerated time to value and faster, better software builds.
We are moving toward a cloud-native architecture that leverages microservices and organizes apps around business capabilities. Single-pane-of-glass monitoring will be used to provide automated reporting and further improve process automation. In addition, we plan to move to a DevSecOps model to ensure security is built in throughout the application development process.
The journey to agility starts with IT. VMware IT transformed itself from an order taker to a catalyst for change. We now deliver the applications and infrastructure that drive greater agility in all aspects of the business. Stay tuned for future blog posts on our transformation journey.
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