One of the biggest challenges for DevOps teams in enterprise environments is managing changes across development, maintenance and production environments. The popularity of custom code in enterprise applications poses a unique obstacle, since distributed teams often have separate copies of applications. A common scenario is having one team focus on security, a second focus on performance tuning and a third focus on implementing new features. While dividing development tasks helps boost efficiency, it becomes a complex undertaking to reliably merge these changes in one fell swoop.

Planning the updates

Before you start to retrofit your code, your business and IT teams need to identify the requirements of the development project and prioritize them based on company needs. When your key performance indicators and metrics are established, your DevOps team members will be able to ensure they are on the right track and are focusing on the most important aspects of the project.

As a rule of thumb, your development team needs to establish balance between the logical and technical aspects of the project. Planners and maintainers can't be overwhelmed with unnecessary information — to effectively retrofit your code, there needs to be a clear understanding of what each segment of code does and how the parts can be connected. According to SAP, a bi-yearly development cycle is ideal for enterprises, since it enables change to occur while minimizing risks. But many organizations want to run a much more regular release cycle to be able to showcase agility driven by market needs.

Performing a controlled import

After determining your objectives, the next step is to identify code that should be merged into the target system. For example, if you're updating an application interface, your developers should focus solely on that segment of code. If you're focused on improving back-end mechanics, on the other hand, you will want to have your teams specifically focus on that area.

Regardless of the task being performed, your IT teams should use the characterization test to document how the application functions after the merge. This is essential to spotting any unintended consequences from updating the code. Here you can automate the process using retrofit tools available in the marketplace to focus resources on other essential tasks.

The importance of modernization

The popularity of the Internet of Things, data analysis and software-as-a-service platforms are all putting significant demands on existing database systems. Legacy systems can't keep pace with change due to the complex processes for basic tasks such as data modeling, batch processing and system integration. If you're currently running a legacy database system, you might want to consider switching to an in-memory database system that is built to optimize speed while still efficiently using resources. However, if you still need to retrofit code changes into your existing applications, following the steps outlined and using automated tools can help ensure the process goes off as quickly and efficiently as possible.

Are you planning to retrofit different versions of an enterprise application? What is the biggest obstacle you're struggling with? Let us know your stories in the comments.

Charles Costa is a content strategist and product marketer based out of Silicon Valley. Feel free to learn more at CharlesCosta.net.