Between new federal mandates to modernize, the shift to remote work and the public’s expectations, federal agencies are feeling the pressure to modernize their software applications and network infrastructure with a more cloud-based or cloud-first approach. But federal agencies face several challenges that could slow them down on their journey toward modernization.
Traditional vs. DevOps culture
The traditional waterfall method of development is slower and less efficient than a DevOps approach, and doesn’t work well in a cloud-based modern infrastructure. Changing methodologies will require a culture shift for the whole agency.
The hallmarks of a DevOps approach are attainable goals, repeatable processes, and modern SDLC tooling. In other words, DevOps is a combination of development techniques and tools. It requires the re-engineering of business processes. The word itself is a combination of the terms ‘software development’ and ‘IT operations’ and embodies the idea that development is a continuous, looping cycle of planning, writing, testing, deploying, operating and monitoring operations. Software is never a finished product so much as a constantly evolving process of development and refinement.
The advantage of DevOps methodology is that it increases the speed and efficiency of software development. However, to shift from a traditional waterfall method to a DevOps approach, agencies will need to adopt new software processes and new tooling shapes, and change their approach to automation.
Replacing legacy applications and infrastructure
In a recent study of federal agencies, the U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) identified the 10 most critical systems at 10 agencies, including the Departments of Treasury and Defense. They ranged in age from eight to 51 years old, and cost a combined $337 million to maintain and operate. Out of the 10 agencies, three had no documented plans to modernize and two had plans that included key practices for success.
Several of these systems use older languages like COBOL. The GAO has reported that the reliance on legacy languages has inherent risks including increased procurement and operating costs as well as a lack of availability of individuals with the necessary skill sets.
Combining DevOps with DevNet for a complete cloud-first modernization solution
Cisco has long been a leader in networking, offering a range of products that cover the full scope of service-provider and enterprise requirements. In the past decade, Cisco has also focused energy into software innovation, and one of the most interesting developments to arise from this focus on software is DevNet, Cisco’s program for developers. Created in 2014, the program was designed to enable network engineers, developers and other IT professionals to create integrations and applications on Cisco products.
By combining DevOps and DevNet, agencies can shift their efforts toward a cloud-first modernization strategy. The combination gives developers and network engineers everything they need to create full-fledged cloud environments, networks and applications.
Meeting the challenge of migrating to DevOps/DevNet
For many agencies, shifting from a traditional waterfall approach to DevOps and DevNet may be difficult because they lack the internal resources to make the shift. A partnership with a technology provider can offer DevOps and DevNet support for agencies as they move toward a modern development approach.
Such support can include consultation, application design, and access to skilled resources to help complete any or all phases of a planned cloud-first modernization project or strategy. With the right support from the right partners, federal agencies can make the cultural and technological shifts needed to take advantage of the benefits of DevOps, automation, faster development cycles, and cost savings.
If you want to learn more about how to modernize using DevOps and DevNet, please reach out to your Sirius Federal representative or contact us, and we will be happy to connect you with one of our experts.