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Harness.io harnesses intelligent automation to eliminate DevOps bottleneck

The DevOps origin story starts with a frustrated Belgian agile practitioner named Patrick Debois and two Flickr employees role-playing the tense relations between developers and operations teams. Twelve years on from the first Devopsdays conference in 2009, DevOps has revolutionized the software delivery pipeline.

But while the mega-companies of tech have the process down pat and deliver updates multiple times a day, smaller companies are still struggling with complex delivery pipelines that take weeks to create and are instantly subject to revisions and repairs. In an ironic twist, it’s the DevOps team itself causing delays in the process.

“The first generation of DevOps was that you created this DevOps team, and then the developers will give all the delivery related stuff to that DevOps team … and they become a big bottleneck,” said Jyoti Bansal (pictured), co-founder and chief executive officer of Harness Inc. “We need to have the right kind of platforms for software delivery and simplify this so that everyone can become as good as Google, Netflix [or] Amazon.”

Bansal spoke with  John Furrier , host of theCUBE, SiliconANGLE Media’s livestreaming studio, during the AWS Startup Showcase: New Breakthroughs in DevOps, Analytics, and Cloud Management Tools event . They discussed how Harness is changing how DevOps teams work through intelligent automation of the software delivery pipeline. (* Disclosure below.)

Spotting a problem, and creatting a solution

While CEO at AppDynamics LLC, a company Bansal co-founded, he noticed a major inefficiency within DevOps.

“They were spending $6 million a year just writing deployment scripting. And even with that, they were nowhere close to world-class,” Bansal stated.

Tasking himself with the mission to simplify the software delivery pipeline, Bansal left AppDynamics and founded Harness. Three years later, the company is one of the leaders in the Amazon Web Services Inc. partner ecosystem, and Bansal looks to be tucking another successful startup into his entrepreneurial portfolio.

Bottlenecks in the delivery process cause stress and frustration for developers who deliver code under pressure only to have it sit on a shelf. Even worse, they get it kicked back to rewrite because of delays they are not responsible for. The problem lies in the complexity of a modern pipeline, Bansal explained.

First, a developer writes code. It is tested, sent through security checks, compliance checks, and tested again. Then it is deployed in a staging environment. Tweaked. Then finally deployed in a limited production environment to verify it works well. If it doesn’t, it’s rolled back, until finally it is gradually deployed widely.

Next-gen DevOps is all about the developer experience

The next generation of DevOps has to focus on the developer experience, according to Bansal. Instead of the DevOps team “doing all the work themselves” writing deployment scripting, they should be able to define guardrails to delineate security and quality requirements. The process then becomes a self-service experience where developers do things within those guardrails.

“This is what the modern DevOps should be,” Bansal said.

This is where Harness steps in, automatically managing an entire continuous integration and continuous delivery cycle with governance, a high degree of automation, security and quality control.

“A lot of these complex CI/CD pipelines that people need, it can take them like three months, six months, to put it together. With Harness it’s an hour [to] put together a very, very sophisticated CI/CD pipeline,” Bansal stated. “Think of it as the CI/CD on steroids, available to you right away.”

Harness’ visual builder enables users to build out the entire process – either a sophisticated CI/CD pipeline or a declarative YAML interface – with just a few lines of code. The solution integrates with “every cloud environment, every monitoring system, every billing system, every kind of a testing process, every kind of security scanning,” Bansal said. “You can just drag and drop, and in minutes you’re up and running.”

Once the deployment is in place, Harness analyzes data flowing in from data monitoring, logging, testing and security systems and measures the impact of various deployments or code changes. This allows predictions for areas most likely to break down within the process and for recommendations to create the ideal process for each unique pipeline scenario.

New features being introduced to Harness include cloud cost management and feature flags. Cost management troubleshoots to find areas of high spend and figures out how to reduce them, as well as calculating the impact on cloud costs every time code is shipped. Users have an option to roll back or stop the delivery process if costs exceed a certain threshold.

Feature flag management measures the impact of turning a feature on versus off, simplifying a procedure that is currently time-consuming.

“It’s an integrated approach to this intelligently automated pipeline instead of these small point approaches that are just very hard to manage,” Bansal said.

With a powerful pitch that “we can give you the world’s best software delivery tooling at the cost of half to one developer,” it’s not a hard case to convince businesses of the potential of Harness, according to Bansal.

“It’s 20 to 30% more efficiency gain for the developers. Their quality of life gets better,” he said. “As a business, your innovation velocity is much higher [while] your risk on your consumers is much lower because your quality of how you ship becomes better. There is no point in you trying to do it on your own [if] you can get a platform that can do it all for you. Then you can focus on your core business of what you want to innovate on.”

Watch the complete video interview below, and be sure to check out more of SiliconANGLE’s and theCUBE’s coverage of the AWS Startup Showcase: New Breakthroughs in DevOps, Analytics, and Cloud Management Tools event . (* Disclosure: Harness Inc. sponsored this segment of theCUBE. Neither Harness nor other sponsors have editorial control over content on theCUBE or SiliconANGLE.)

Photo: SiliconANGLE

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