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IBM Smarter Cities team
speeds cloud offerings
to market with DevOps
Group shortens SaaS development cycles while
increasing software quality and consistency
To meet clients’ demands, the IBM®
group needed to undergo
a major transformation to expand and
optimize the delivery of software as a
service (SaaS) offerings.
The group adopted DevOps practices,
rolling out a ﬂexible infrastructure,
implementing automation wherever
possible, and establishing continuous
integration and feedback.
The team achieved an effective time
savings of 75 percent through automation,
cut the number of maintenance windows
required by 50 percent, and reduced
maintenance window duration by
The IBM Smarter Cities group needed to transform its business model.
Clients were beginning to request software as a service (SaaS) offerings
hosted in the IBM Cloud, rather than on-premises hosting services.
“As our clients have evolved, they have come back to us and said,
‘We want you to manage that complete system, end-to-end for us,’”
says Doug Cox, vice president, IBM Smarter Cities software &
Industry Solutions engineering, IBM. The group needed to make
significant changes to its product architecture to move to the
Creating a cloud-based architecture
Because the Smarter Cities group is a large organization, Cox knew
he needed to take a systematic approach to rolling out the new
cloud-based architecture. “We had to try to standardize this rollout
as much as possible and guide groups as they transition to providing
the SaaS offerings,” says Cox. He decided to use DevOps methods
to support the change.
Using automation as part of the DevOps approach,
the IBM Smarter Cities group is accelerating the
delivery of new capabilities to clients. “By driving
those efficiencies, we can meet demands faster,” says
Doug Cox, vice president, IBM Smarter Cities
software & Industry Solutions engineering, IBM.
“It’s a plug-and-play
architecture, so we can
plug in Rational
Performance Tester or
Tester or any of the other
—Mike Braendel, Smarter Cities leader for
development centers of competence, IBM
Driving change with DevOps methods
To facilitate the rollout of the DevOps methods, Cox established
a group to manage the necessary infrastructure. The new architecture
is flexible, so the team can plug in any application it needs for such
items as requirements management, source code management or test
automation. “It’s a plug-and-play architecture, so we can plug in
Rational Performance Tester or Rational Functional Tester or any
of the other Rational applications as needed,” says Mike Braendel,
Smarter Cities leader for development centers of competence, IBM.
As part of the DevOps approach, the team used automation wherever
possible. In the past, a team performed operating system updates,
middleware updates and security fixes manually. Using IBM UrbanCode™
Deploy software, the team automated the deployment of all of these
updates. It also automated performance and functional testing using
software. “We rolled out DevOps practices across our
team to improve our competitiveness, drive down the cost of goods
sold, and get code out to clients faster,” says Cox.
Rapidly responding to client demands
The Smarter Cities group has achieved 75 percent effective time
savings through automation. Improvements to its testing processes
through automation have resulted in a savings of 136 hours per cycle,
or more than three staff weeks per cycle. The group has also reduced
required outage windows by 50 percent. “You’re removing the human
element and the error potential, and you’re making the process more
efficient since the automation allows you to do things in parallel and
update numerous machines concurrently,” says Braendel. “So we’re
able to shorten the outage windows because we can perform security,
operating system and application updates all during one period.”
Automation has also helped the group improve software quality
and consistency. “Because we’re able to automate, we can run a
more in-depth set of testing on the environment before we roll
it into production. So we’re delivering better quality and
consistency,” says Braendel.
• IBM Rational Performance Tester
• IBM Rational Team Concert™
• IBM UrbanCode™
About IBM DevOps
The capabilities in this case study represent elements of the IBM
DevOps solution. The DevOps approach is an enterprise capability
for continuous software delivery that can enable organizations to seize
market opportunities, respond more rapidly to client feedback, and
balance speed, cost, quality and risk. By applying lean and agile
principles across the software delivery lifecycle, the DevOps approach
helps organizations deliver a differentiated and engaging client
experience, achieve quicker time to value, and gain increased capacity
to innovate. The IBM DevOps solution uses an open-standards-based
platform and a continuous feedback loop across the delivery process,
and it is designed to integrate into existing heterogeneous lifecycle
environments to deliver value quickly.
There are six key practices to the DevOps approach: continuous
business planning, collaborative development, continuous testing,
continuous release and deployment, continuous monitoring, and
continuous customer feedback and optimization.
For more information
To learn more about how IBM software can support your transition
to DevOps methods, please contact your IBM marketing representative
or IBM Business Partner, or visit the following website: