Flux7 Introduces Program To Help Enterprises Take The Reins Of DevOps Infrastructure

Delivering DevOps-style IT to enterprise customers is a specialized practice only a select few solution providers have much, if any, experience in.

One DevOps shop that's been on the vanguard of the movement is Flux7. For a few years now the Amazon Web Services partner based in Austin, Texas, has been guiding customers along transformative journeys toward rapid and agile application development, deployment and management processes.

But what the systems integrator has been hearing of late from customers is they'd like to have under their own roofs the technical expertise to support and maintain their modern IT architectures and methodologies, Aater Suleman, Flux7's CEO, told CRN.

[Related: AWS DevOps Certification Now Open To Partners]

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To meet an emerging demand, Flux7 is extending its customer engagement model with a new solution called Engage that guides customers through that next step in their DevOps transition.

"I don't think you can have DevOps be completely external. It has to be internal. And most companies are starting to see that," Suleman said. "They want to scale quickly and having reliance on a third-party company doesn't help do that."

DevOps is a mind-set, not a product, Suleman explained. And when successfully implemented and executed, the value proposition is incredibly enticing -- doing 10 times the work in one-tenth the time.

Flux7 has always worked closely with its customers to help them adopt DevOps processes and realize their IT goals, Suleman said.

"What's been lacking, and what Flux7 has learned is an essential component, is the coaching to help customers do it themselves," Suleman told CRN.

With Engage, Flux7 goes beyond building and deploying the solution by adding a coaching regime for select members of the customer's IT staff that mirrors the education new Flux7 engineers receive.

The skills taught in that process have been gained from real-world experience -- Flux7 has executed transformative DevOps projects for large enterprises, like agricultural vehicle manufacturer John Deere, a project that was showcased in a keynote video at this year's AWS re:Invent conference.

"When you want to learn to cook, you have to go to a chef's kitchen and see how they do it," Suleman said. "That's how our engagements are structured. First piece is we are doing the work when customers watch. Then they do the work while we monitor and watch them."

Any customer pursuing that path is expected to launch its own Center for DevOps Excellence after the proof-of-concept is completed -- a unit within their internal IT organization that's ready to absorb the necessary skills to maintain DevOps processes. The CDE team should be small and lean, closely involved with the company's greater IT operations and not isolated in a silo.

The CDE engineers will only spend a couple hours a day working with Flux7, enough time to gain the skills needed to take the reins of their company's modern infrastructure.

Suleman told CRN far greater interest from customers in managing their own DevOps operations started becoming apparent in the first quarter of this year.

That instinct makes sense, he said, because a solution provider in the middle of a DevOps loop slows the entire cycle.

At the same time, Flux7 has found from experience that too much customer autonomy creates a much greater risk the project will ultimately end up in limbo.

"If we're not managing, there's a big chance they'll fall off the cliff," Suleman told CRN.

Under the Engage program, Flux 7 will provide the tools, manage the project, and make sure the customer stays on track while it acquires the skills and masters the procedures for implementing DevOps.

"We are not just telling them what to do but checking on them every day," Suleman said.