devops integration collaboration trust [shutterstock: 145518796, Nicoleta Raftu]
[shutterstock: 145518796, Nicoleta Raftu]
Blog DevOps

DevOps: Trust Through Integration And Automation

For dissonance to become harmony, operations teams and developers have to trust each other. Support from management and a solid foundation aid this development.

The active involvement of management has proven crucial in the introduction and practice of DevOps methods and processes in SAP organizations in recent years. Only support from the top allows a true DevOps culture to emerge. However, every culture also needs a solid foundation. Only when both conditions are met, support from above and below, can the culture really blossom. But what must the foundation be made of to ensure that it will last?

The greatest challenge for SAP teams is currently the transformation to S/4 Hana. They are under tremendous pressure. Most of them prefer a gradual transition. While this cautious approach reduces the risks, it has the side effect that two different system and application landscapes have to be maintained and serviced over a certain period of time. This dual-maintenance mode means that SAP teams not only have to apply patches in both the previous SAP ECC world and the new S/4 environments, but also develop, test, and implement changes and innovations in both systems. This makes their task more complex and therefore more complicated and prone to errors.

SAP customers who have already successfully implemented a DevOps culture have a clear advantage here, because the teams can divide up large problems and challenges into many small subprojects. As a result, large problems suddenly become small, manageable, and controllable. Incidentally, this also applies when SAP customers decide to implement the new software generation in a single step. After all, operation and maintenance of the new environment with its frequent updates and changes practically presuppose a DevOps culture.

Manual becomes automated

The DevOps concept pays particular attention to the ideas of Continuous Delivery (CD) and Continuous Integration (CI), so that changes, updates, and security patches can be integrated into the existing code and applied as soon as they are available. Due to the large number of dependencies in SAP software in production environments, the effort required to do this manually is no longer manageable if this process is to run more than two or three times a year.

SAP teams therefore need support from suitable tools. These must not only be integrated, but also highly automated. However, this tool chain will remain incomplete as long as it is not able to integrate and automate continuous testing into the process as well.

In a DevOps culture, development is divided into small substeps that are feasible not only in terms of task volume, but also in terms of time. The new code created in the process must already be tested several times in these cycles of one to two weeks and checked for its behavior in a productive environment in order to avoid errors and the resulting interruptions to operations in advance. However, manual tests would exceed the tight time frame of these development cycles. Automated test tools must therefore become part of an integrated tool chain and are just as much a part of a culture of continuous quality assurance as regular peer reviews, retrospectives, and measurements.

Continuous delivery, integration, and testing, supported by an integrated and automated tool chain – these make up the foundation of a DevOps culture at SAP companies. The award for a diligent DevOps culture? Higher software quality massively reduces the risks of frequent release cycles. At the same time, the associated costs can be reduced by up to fifteen times.

E-3 Magazine April 2022 (German)

About the author

Achim Toeper, Basis Technologies

Achim Toeper is Senior DevOps Solution Specialist at Basis Technologies.

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