While hearing about the impact of COVID -19 on business organizations I came across an interesting analogy by Robert Kiyosaki, the famous author of Poor Dad and Rich Dad, who tried to put the current context in terms of a cocoon of butterfly and the chamber within which we all are enclosed. When we metamorphosis into a full-blown life is a real aha movement. Here what is interesting is that the current situation is an enclosure within which we supposed to realign ourselves. Organizations have been operating with software environments which require regular Operational support on a day to day basis. The predominant approach for such support has been waterfall approach wherein each requirement passes through a stage gate of steps where it incrementally implemented and put to additional testing cycles and released to production environment. However, those are time consuming when we look from the context of lean principles like Overproduction, motion, defects, over processing, waiting and transport.
It is always IT Operations responsibility to provide a stable environment that is difficult for any to introduce production changes at rapid pace that could jeopardize the systems, whereas developers see the need to introduce changes at a quicker pace. This conflict results in an environment which hampers the service quality, customer satisfaction and firefighting. The key goals of DevOps which can be applicable for operational support include responding rapidly with changing landscape and providing stable, reliable and secure environment. When DevOps is adopted for SAP, it helps to innovate faster to deliver SAP applications, Helps in automating which not only minimizes risk but also helps in eliminating errors, it puts IT respond to business needs and make the systems change continuously to ensure it keeps up with business expectations. The common DevOps tools which are used by developers like GitLab, Jenkins, Azure DevOps do not work for SAP. SAP offers tools for managing the DevOps and recommends approaches like Developing multispeed approach to managing SAP change like as we know there are places where it needs rapid change and places it needs careful approach to make the changes and one speed does not fit all, Introducing agile development methodology using SAP Solution Manager carry out manual and automatic testing, test planning, execution and analytics, Defect management and agile approach.
The key ways by which CI / CD can be integrated to SAP include adopting ITSM tools, automating unit testing, automatic quality checks, automatic sequence deployment and a comprehensive regression testing and when possible integrate SAP change orchestrator with DevOps delivery management tools like Github. Some of the technology elements which are essential for supporting a deployment pipeline include logging, Environmental management, source code repository, orchestration, Building deployable artifact, unit testing, automatic regression testing and release management. Some of the SAP capabilities for such requirements include Build management with SAP Netweaver, Code analyzer using ABAP test cockpit, SAP Code Inspector. Some of the scenario require to fall back on external tools like Service / API testing protocols, Test automation tools like HP or Selenium, Roll back automation like scripts.
Definitely detailed assessment of SAP tools for DevOps support or using DevOps for S/4 Implementation is beyond the capability of current blog, there are good amount of literature available with SAP and partner organizations which can be leveraged for identification and deployment of such features to manage the operations. The use of DevOps to SAP is more than essential in the current scenario as there are possibilities of disruptions, system outages, availability of key resources and need for unplanned work, above all keeping the customers and key stakeholders happy!. To conclude I would like to give you a good references on the topic like The DevOps handbook by Gene Kim and Plural Sight Trainings on the topic like DevOps course, AWS for DevOps.