DevOps Automation: Why It’s a Necessity for IoT
Rowe explains further: “DevOps is about aligning the development of software and the operation of that software to fit business needs, and you do that by having constant feedback throughout the entire process. When you extend that into the IoT, that same feedback loop is extended into the physical world, and much of the value of these assets is now driven by the software and the data coming from the things. I think DevOps and the IoT come together nicely because it allows you to get feedback from real things, in the real world, and feed that back through the processes, into engineering, into product development, into new offering development, etc.,” Rowe says.
DevOps Is Good for IoT Security, Too
Connected IoT devices are a good fit for DevOps because they are always on, which means they are available to receive updates. Unfortunately, this means they are also targets for cyberattackers. DevOps automation can help here, too.
“DevOps not only looks at adding features, but also continuous improvement from a security perspective, and we need to consider that, too – using DevOps to deploy security updates incrementally and as fast as possible,” Rowe said.
The technology to secure IoT devices is already available. “It comes down to the people and culture to use the security. There aren’t many security engineers who understand DevOps and vice versa, because it’s so specialized. And they might not understand IoT systems, so it’s a matter of getting these groups together with the security building blocks that are already on the market,” Linthicum said.
Blokdyk agrees. “DevOps training is the starting point for an organization embarking on an IoT and DevOps journey, and businesses need to take a security-first approach and start with infusing security in their company culture.”
Addressing DevOps Cultural Challenges
Regardless of the type of applications organizations are building, the challenges associated with DevOps remain the same.
“The people and culture are mission critical. That’s where we’re stubbing our toes,” Linthicum said. “The technology works and has for a while, but it needs to be in the hands of those who believe that this will be beneficial to the company, beneficial to shareholders, beneficial to customers. It’s a rather drastic change for people who are dealing with technology in traditional ways.”
Blokdyk agrees. “Big data from IoT provides great opportunities for organizations to improve, but far too many companies suffer from reliance on legacy practices that are holding their development teams back,” he said. “Without feedback from start to finish, DevOps is no more useful for defining teams’ roles and responsibilities than not having DevOps. The breaking of silos and integrating teams is the basic obstacle that any company needs to overcome to achieve DevOps practices for IoT.”
But there is good news. “You have the opportunity to break down those barriers, understand what makes each side tick, resolve any issues, and move on to delivering more value to the business,” Rowe said.