Dev Teams are Blocking Infrastructure

I recently took the job within Kyndryl of helping to establish and expand our Application and Data Consulting Practice. Kyndryl is known as an infrastructure company, there’s no way around that and I got lots of questions about why anyone would want to run the software portion of a company so focused on infrastructure. The truth is, for the first time in decades, the developers need the help!

In considering whether to take the job, I recalled a moment a few years ago while I was still working for a big bank with thousands of developers. I had made the switch from working on the software development side of the house to running the implementation of this bank’s Kubernetes clusters. I distinctly remember a morning when a young engineer and his manager came in to my office with a question about a support ticket they had received. One of the application teams had entered a ticket for our monitoring team to install a performance monitoring agent on a particular container. They gave the container’s full name and included approval from their management team for us to log in to the container for the install.

The application team had the ability to modify their own docker file to install the agent. Further, the fact that the application team wanted to software installed meant they had missed that containers were immutable by design and the value of having their container image and dockerfile stored and versioned. I realized then that the tables had turned. For the first time since punch cards gave way to Cobol and Assembler, the infrastructure teams were not holding back the development teams.

Of course it’s not universally true. The most advanced dev teams at most companies are still constantly challenging the infrastructure and security teams (even the cloud providers themselves) to provide more tools and technologies faster. However, there are a lot of software development teams that are not ready to make use of the advanced infrastructure that’s available to them. There are several reasons for this:

  • The teams aren’t trained on and don’t understand how to use infrastructure as code, horizontal scaling, asynchronous communication, and so many other things that are required for them to unlock the power of the infrastructure they’ve been given.
  • They are working with workloads that are stuck on legacy infrastructure like the mainframe.
  • The code they are working with is too ingrained in legacy development models.
  • The data is too disorganized and not secure enough to move to the cloud.
  • ERP or COTS workloads won’t allow them to leverage more advanced infrastructure.

My new team in Kyndryl is focused on helping your development team overcome these challenges and unlock the value of the infrastructure now available to you.