While public sector entities continue to leverage commercial off the shelf (COTS) technology, there will remain a need for custom build software in support of the mission. In order to properly develop, maintain, and support this custom software, agencies need to rely on an Application Lifecycle Management (ALM) approach. This approach brings together the tools, activities, and people to efficiently manage an application from its inception through its retirement. ALM is similar to the software development lifecycle (SDLC) which focuses mainly on the development of software. In contrast, ALM encompasses the lifecycle of development to maintenance and, finally, to decommissioning.
How ALM works in a given environment can vary according to the software development methodology being deployed. Traditionally, the waterfall development methodology was common in the public sector, but, increasingly, Agile or DevOps methods are being leveraged.
DLT’s ALM recommended vendors focus not just on the "development" portion of an application's life but also on the deployment, promotion, and ongoing management of the application until decommissioned. Key elements of an ALM toolchain include: software requirements definition and management, software change and configuration management, software project planning, with a current focus on agile planning, work item management, quality management, including defect management. Other key capabilities include: reporting, workflow, integration to version management, support for wikis and collaboration, strong facilities for integration to other ALM tools.
Regardless of your preferred development methodology, DLT has the right tools to support your Application Lifecycle Management initiatives.
Despite which development methodology is used, DLT’s ALM framework has three distinct components: Governance, Development, and Operations.
The governance component involves all decisions about the software. It starts with a basic concept developed by a business case. This is where the original concept gets expanded and tied to specific business strategies. The governance component also covers other aspects including user access, security, and resource management.
The development component of the ALM integrates the SDLC. This phase of the software project covers all aspects of its development including planning, design, building, testing, and deploying it. For agencies using the waterfall methodology, development is done in stages. For companies using Agile or DevOps, the steps are fully integrated.
Operations is the third component of the ALM, which involves deploying the application and maintaining throughout its lifecycle. For agencies using the waterfall methodology, development and operations are completely separate. For companies using Agile or DevOps, they are an integrated, continuous process.
DLT Solutions ALM recommended products focus not just on the "development" portion of an application's life but also on the deployment, promotion, and ongoing management of the application until decommissioned. Key elements of an ALM solution include: software requirements definition and management, software change and configuration management, software project planning, with a current focus on agile planning, work item management, quality management, including defect management. Other key capabilities include: reporting, workflow, integration to version management, support for wikis and collaboration, strong facilities for integration to other ALM tools.
The public sector is more and more requesting their software be developed using the Agile Development method. Agile is an iterative approach to software development that emphasizes flexibility, interactivity, and a high level of transparency. Agile projects involve the frequent release of usable code, continuous testing (quality), continuous security, and acceptance that whatever you think you know now, the reality is, it’ll change.
In order to respond to these frequent application changes, IT Operations is impacted to provide the necessary resources and practices to deliver the service to end users. So service delivery and how the app and systems interact are a fundamental part of the value proposition to the agency as well, and so the product team needs to include those concerns as a top level item.” From this perspective, DevOps is simply extending Agile principles beyond the boundaries of “the code” to the entire delivered service.
DLT Solutions provides technology that supports the notion that change is unpredictable and platforms and practices should be highly flexible and adaptable to be able to accept modifications regardless of the employed software development and deployment practices in order to give stakeholders a highly available, scalable, reliable, secure, and high quality work product.
The application development landscape in the public sector has undergone vast changes over the past decade. The shift from Waterfall and on-prem to Agile and cloud computing platforms, shared storage and data, and more dynamic applications has brought enormous benefits to government organizations, which are looking to become more efficient.
While DevOps has increased speed, scale and functionality of applications, the application lifecycle model needs more robust security to meet compliance requirements. DevSecOps was introduced to meet this challenge and to bring development, operations and security together.
This approach makes security equal with development and operations in the application lifecycle and it ensures that security is at the forefront when developing and deploying applications.
DLT’s Secure Software Factory helps public sector organizations accelerate their journey to DevSecOps by providing a framework that U.S. federal agencies and state, local and education (SLED) organizations can use today to create, deploy and operate applications in a compatible, flexible and secure manner.
By following the framework outlined in the Secure Software Factory, government agencies and educational organizations can save money by bundling solutions they know are compatible, increase velocity by automating the steps in an application’s development, and increase quality and consistency by providing a baseline architecture that can be easily followed and replicated.
The Secure Software Factory starts with planning and integrating code, moves to running automated tests, checks for cyber vulnerabilities from both source code and binary dependencies, deploys the application to production, and then provides the ability to monitor and operate the application in production while continuously checking for potential vulnerabilities. Whether an agency or educational organization runs its workloads in the Cloud, on-premise or in a hybrid environment, the Secure Software Factory can meet their business needs and accelerate their organization’s software delivery in a secure fashion.
Benefits of DLT’s Secure Software Factory include:
- Cost Avoidance
- By verifying the applications before deployment, the Secure Software Factory enables government agencies and organizations to streamline application development without the risk of implementing incompatible solutions. This allows organizations to avoid the use of valuable capital that would otherwise be spent purchasing individual applications.
- Increased Velocity
- The Secure Software Factory is a cloud-enabled framework that automates all the steps in a modern software delivery process leveraging containers running in a Kubernetes environment. The Secure Software Factory simplifies the implementation process, allowing developers to focus on aspects of individual applications, reducing the risk of design flaws and code defects, which cuts down on the time to deployment.
- Improved Quality and Consistency
- The Secure Software Factory provides a baseline architecture that helps address design and development challenges, exposes architectural decisions and mitigates risks early in the development cycle. By using a baseline architecture, government agencies and organizations can develop applications that consistently meet standard of quality requirements.
- Existing Integrations
- Many of the tools within the Secure Software Factory integrate with each other, which means less connectivity issues and troubleshooting for your teams.
The Secure Software Factory allows DLT’s channel partners to leverage an end-to-end framework of best-of-breed tools, today, to meet their public sector customers’ mission requirements.
DLT supports channel partners by distilling the the Secure Software Factory concept and tying it their own go-to-market strategies. This approach helps channel partners better shape the unique Secure Software Factory value proposition to enhance discussions with government agencies and educational organizations.
Channel partners also have access to workshop/demo solutions that gives government agencies and educational organizations the ability to use the framework of automated tools in a demo environment.
Old software development models are too linear, have rigid procedures, limit communications and the ability to collaborate, which makes it difficult to quickly update and deliver software to all stakeholders. The Secure Software Factory delivers applications quickly and gets end-user feedback rapidly, so changes can be incorporated faster and more efficiently. This is achieved by delivering smaller iterations of application version, automating the deployment process, and facilitating collaboration and communication between development, security and operation teams. The result is improved application speed and quality at a lower cost.
Learn more about the Secure Software Factory from one of DLT’s SMEs.
Choosing the best technology in a sea of tools can be overwhelming, especially in the public sector where procurement can be a long and arduous process and making the wrong choice could set an organization back significantly as they evolve towards a DevSecOps culture. Each month, join DLT's App Life specialists, who combined have over 70 years of software development and sales experience, as we interview guests from the public sector arena (technology companies, SIs, agency executives, VARs, etc.). If you have an interest in learning about cutting edge technologies, or hearing about more mature technologies and their journeys of success (and learned failures along the way) in the Public Sector space, we think this podcast is for you.
DLT DevSecOps Podcast - Pilot Episode – June 9, 2020. Length: 1:04:36
Interested to learn more about DLT’s Secure Software Factory (SSF)? This podcast episode lays the foundation on the history of the SSF (why we built it), considerations DLT took when building the framework, our approach to software/application development, why the SSF is important for the Public Sector, it’s relevancy to the channel (VARs, ISVs, and Sis), and the long term strategy behind the SSF.