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Using DevOps to make all software better at Microsoft

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Jason Yee | @gitbisect |

Sam Guckenheimer, product owner for Microsoft’s Visual Studio product line, will be at the Velocity conference to present the story of Microsoft’s transformation to becoming a Software-as-a-service provider and the lessons learned by embracing DevOps. We recently spent some time to talk about the origins of this change and what it means not only to Microsoft, but to the hundreds of thousands of customers they support world wide.

Microsoft’s DevOps journey began with pockets of change as the organization began to embrace the cloud and Software-as-a-service.

“If you roll the clock back seven or eight years ago,” says Guckenheimer, “you will see these individual initiatives that began, and if you look maybe four or five years ago you'll see that it was clear we were lining up broadly to do things right in the Cloud.”

As with most Devops transitions, top down support was critical to the change. Guckenheimer notes that Satya Nadella, Microsoft’s former executive vice-president of cloud & enterprise and current CEO, was critical in the movement.

“With Satya at the helm it's pretty clear that our business is about this move to the Cloud, “ he says. “We have a principle in the company that we develop cloud-first. So everything that we do comes out first, if it's going to be server-side, on the Cloud. Then we move it back to our on-prem products.”

That support for on-prem products is critical to serve a customer base that is technologically diverse.

Guckenheimer notes, “Our customers are in between. They are a mix of on-prem and public cloud and desktop or laptop and mobile. They do some of everything, and often many of those things mix. We need to serve them in that world, so we have a complexity of doing that.”

The shift from a packaged software mentality to cloud services still benefits customers who rely on on-prem solutions.

He points out, “With cloud, you think in terms of how quickly can you detect and remediate an issue, not how can you harden yourself, or long mean time between failures.”

That continuous integration and deployment perspective allows for faster, more reliable updates for their on-prem customers.

“By developing cloud first, releasing sprintly into the Cloud, and then quarterly taking what's been released and used live in the Cloud and moving it into a quarterly update that will shift to on-prem customers so that they then can install that into their data centers.”

Guckenheimer sums it up perfectly, “We use the cloud to make our on-prem products better.“

You can hear more about Microsoft’s DevOps journey and lessons learned at Sam Guckenheimer’s session on May 28 at the Velocity conference. Register today for an All-access, 3-day, 2-day or Exhibit Hall Plus pass to attend the session.

Tags: cloud, saas, devops

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