DevOps for information management systems

Date12 February 2018
Publication Date12 February 2018
AuthorAsif Qumer Gill,Abhishek Loumish,Isha Riyat,Sungyoup Han
SubjectInformation & knowledge management,Knowledge management,Knowledge management systems
DevOps for information
management systems
Asif Qumer Gill
School of Software, University of Technology Sydney,
Ultimo, Sydney, New South Wales, Australia, and
Abhishek Loumish,Isha Riyat and Sungyoup Han
School of Software, University of Technology Sydney,
Sydney, New South Wales, Australia
Purpose Development and operations (DevOps)is complex in nature. Organizations are unsure how to
effectively establish a DevOps capability for the continuous delivery of information management systems.
This paper aims to compile and analyze DevOps by applying the well-known systematic literature review
(SLR) approach. This reviewis intended to provide a knowledge base to support the informed, effectiveand
less riskyadoption of DevOps for information managementsystems.
Design/methodology/approach In this qualitative research study, the SLR method was applied to
identify3,790 papers, of which, 32 relevant papers were selectedand reviewed.
Findings The results are organized using the well-known ISO/IEC 24744 metamodel elements: people
(roles), process,technology and artifacts. In total 11 major roles, 6 processes, 23 technologies, 5 artifacts and 7
challenges(including 6 corresponding solutions) were found. DevOps engineeris becoming a newly identied
role. Continuous delivery pipeline and continuous improvement are the most highlighted major DevOps
processes. Build system technology is becoming the key focus of DevOps. Finally, major challenges are
around people and culture and the misunderstanding of DevOps. Potential research areas are: DevOps
analytics,artifacts and toolchain integration.
Research limitations/implications The research ndings will serve as a resource for both
practitioners and researchers who have interest in the research and adoption of DevOps for information
Originality/value This paper provides a comprehensive systematic review of the body of knowledge to
support the ongoing research and adoption of emerging trends of DevOps for information management systems.
Keywords Challenges, Continuous delivery, DevOps, Continuous deployment,
Information management systems
Paper type Literature review
1. Introduction
Agile approaches focus on the continuousdelivery of working information systems (ISs) in
small iterations (Agile Manifesto, 2001). In a typical IS delivery environment, a separate
operations team is required to deploythe working software and hardware in the production
for data-intensive applications(e.g. IoT, mobile, Big Data and data warehouse applications).
The emerging development and operations (DevOps) movement, in the context of agile
software delivery, includes operations in development to make the working software and
hardware available to customersas quickly as possible without any undesired delays (Bass
et al.,2015). For the continuous and fast deployment of software and hardware, necessary
deployment automation and bridging two silos by including the operations in the
development are important(Hüttermann, 2012a,2012b; Wettinger, 2013).
Received13 February 2017
Revised14 July 2017
Accepted12 September 2017
VINEJournal of Information and
KnowledgeManagement Systems
Vol.48 No. 1, 2018
pp. 122-139
© Emerald Publishing Limited
DOI 10.1108/VJIKMS-02-2017-0007
The current issue and full text archive of this journal is available on Emerald Insight at:
The continuous delivery can be governedby effective and efcient coordination between
the development (e.g. software) and operations (e.g. hardware) teams (Peuraniemi, 2014).
However, most organizationshave two separate capabilities in the form of developmentand
operations, which are perceived as a challenge for fast and frequent releases (Wettinger
et al., 2014). DevOps is gainingmomentum and is considered as a prominent area of research
and practice. However, this term is often referred to as ambiguousowing to its varied
perceptions and interpretations(Peuraniemi, 2014;Liu et al.,2014). DevOps is considered as
an extension of agile methodologies fromdevelopment to systems operation, a combination
of development and operations, or it is a way to manage the end-to-end product life cycle
(Patwardhan, 2012;Peuraniemi, 2014). The integrated DevOps capability could be seen as
an alternative to the traditional, cultural, collaborative and management problems in the
isolated development and operations capabilities (Erich et al., 2014). However, the
establishment of DevOps capability is not a simple straightforward task and it involves
the consideration of a numberof elements (Claps et al.,2015). This draws our attention to the
following main researchquestion:
RQ1. How to effectively establish DevOps capability for the continuous deliveryof ISs
including softwareand hardware?
To address this important research question for supporting the informed, effective and less
risky adoption of DevOps, it is important to understand DevOps capability elements and
their details. Thus, a systematic literature review (SLR) (Kitchenham and Charters, 2007)
was conducted and synthesized using four core high-level elements of people, process,
technology and artifact (work product) adopted from the well-known ISO/IEC (2014)
metamodel for developmentalmethodologies. The review results are organized around these
four core elements and offer important consolidated taxonomy and knowledge base, which
will help establish DevOps capability.To the best of our knowledge, there are no such recent
studies published in the public domain (at least, at the time that this study was rst
initiated) that offer such systematic review in the context of DevOps capability
establishment. This SLR approach for identifying, analyzing and synthesizing DevOps
literature will providea consolidated knowledge base for researchers and practitioners.This
will ensure that important information and steps are not overlooked when considering the
adoption of DevOps. This paper also lays the foundation for further research in this
important area.
The structure of this paper is organized as follows: Section 2 provides the research
background; Section 3 discusses the SRL research method; Section 4 provides the research
results; and Sections 5 and 6 discuss the resultsand conclusions, respectively.
2. Background
In a typical IS delivery environment, development (Dev) and operations (Ops) have their
own roles, processes and tools, and therefore, both Dev and Ops are setup and run as
independent capabilities (Armenise, 2015). Wettinger et al. (2014) and Bayser et al. (2015)
mention about the different, or contrary, goals and mind-sets of the independent Dev and
Ops teams (Peuraniemi, 2014;Mueller et al., 2014). The principles of DevOps are highly
based on automation, continuous delivery, short release cycles and agile development to
enable the delivery of great valueto the customer (Bayser et al., 2015;Neely and Stolt, 2013).
According to Peuraniemi (2014), DevOps facilitates early customer feedback loops, which
may help to effectively addresscustomer satisfaction concerns. Thus, DevOps enablesrapid
and continuous feedback from the customerand the identication of concise customer needs
(Poppendieck and Cusumano,2012;Williams, 2012).

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