DevOps is the automation of agile methodology. The idea is to empower developers to respond to the needs of the business in near real-time. In other words, DevOps should remove much of the latency that has existed for years around software development.
DevOps' links with cloud computing are easy to define:
The centralized nature of cloud computing provides DevOps automation with a standard and centralized platform for testing, deployment, and production. In the past, the distributed nature of some enterprise systems didn't fit well with centralized software deployment. Using a cloud platform solves many issues with distributed complexity.
DevOps automation is becoming cloud-centric. Most public and private cloud computing providers support DevOps systemically on their platform, including continuous integration and continuous development tools. This tight integration lowers the cost associated with on-premises DevOps automation technology, and provides centralized governance and control for a sound DevOps process. Many developers who enter into the process find that governance keeps them out of trouble, and it's easier to control this centrally via the cloud versus attempting to bring departments under control.
Cloud-based DevOps lessens the need to account for resources leveraged. Clouds leverage usage-based accounting, which tracks the use of resources by application, developer, user, data, etc. Traditional systems typically don't provide this service. When leveraging cloud-based resources, it's much easier to track costs of development resources and make adjustment as needed.
What's most interesting is that the cloud isn't really driving DevOps; rather, DevOps is driving the interest and the growth of cloud
What drives the use of DevOps as a leading enabling technology to get to the cloud? It's the need to simplify and speed up a development process that has stifled growth for many enterprises. Stories abound about titans of industry who are unable to purchase companies or marketing leaders who are unable to launch products, all because IT can't keep up with the application development backlog.
While enterprise leaders look to fix their application development processes by moving from waterfall to DevOps, they also understand that DevOps alone won't save them. The latency in making capital purchases of hardware and software slows the development process, even if it's made agile. Developers end up waiting around for capital resources to be put in place before the applications can be deployed.
Thus, DevOps won't have much value without the cloud, and the cloud won't have much value without DevOps. This fact alone is being understood inside enterprises that once thought they could move to one or the other, and that no dependency existed. We're finding that dependencies between DevOps and cloud do indeed exist.