Interview: Amdocs, four-category finalist at DevOps Excellence Awards 2021

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Amdocs' open-source automation framework, Ginger, is under consideration for DevOps Tool / Product of the Year

As DevOps speeds application releases, the new production bottleneck is in quality assurance and testing. Promising to fix a bugged release later isn't good enough: customers rightly demand a working application from the get-go.

At Amdocs - a 27,000-employee company with customers around the world - the focus is all about solving that challenge. Itsik David, Head of R&D for Amdocs Quality Engineering, describes the work:

"Our cloud-native, open and dynamic portfolio of digital solutions, platforms and services brings greater choice, faster time to market and flexibility, to better meet the evolving needs of our customers as they drive growth, transform and take their business to the cloud."

Amdocs has a successful delivery track record and almost 40 years of expertise, as well as a "laser focus" on innovation. David describes the company ethos as "always constantly evolving and transforming to stay relevant and keep our leadership position in what is a very dynamic, complex market - and we take our customers with us. They really do view us as a trusted partner and that's very important to us."

David works on Amdocs' Ginger project: an open-source automation framework for quality engineering, which has been shortlisted for DevOps Tool/Product of the Year in this year's DevOps Excellence Awards. He's proud of the work his team is doing to support the technology industry's new way of working, explaining:

"DevOps's ability to accelerate application releases means quality engineering, or testing, is struggling to keep up, and its role has really changed. It's no longer just a stage in delivery - it's now viewed as an integral DevOps activity. The only way to meet the urgent need for quality testing at scale, which is critical to realising the benefits of DevOps, isn't just through automation - it requires AI-driven/intelligent automation. And that's Ginger.

"It's a really smart platform, with self-healing capabilities, requiring no coding skills to use, and which has reduced time to market by a staggering 50 per cent, and reduced test-data turnaround from 15 days to just 1. So yes - I'm definitely proud of the team behind Ginger to achieve all this in a very challenging year."

Itsik David, Head of R&D for Amdocs Quality Engineering

In the true spirit of DevOps, development on Ginger never stands still. David's team is always building new capabilities and enhancing existing functions that will improve the DevOps development process. This year that includes creating automation-driven development, so Ginger will be integrated into the code-development framework - enabling unattended building of automation during development. It could be a real gamechanger for Amdocs' customers.

"We're also expanding Ginger's cloud enablement from Azure to AWS and Google Cloud, as well as enabling cloud execution on containers, and applying AI-driven automation in the next phase of Ginger's self-healing capabilities, so Ginger will be able to fix automation script errors it finds in execution.

"Other plans for this year include expanding Ginger's integration capabilities through partnership with third- party solutions that provide value-added services such as software quality governance, mobile-device testing, and media and entertainment devices. We're also improving Ginger's execution capabilities by being able to work in a Linux environment, and we're enhancing Ginger's reporting capabilities through integration with industry-leading business-intelligence engines such as Grafana, Power BI, Tableau and MicroStrategy. So we're definitely busy..."

It's not only about Ginger, though: Amdocs has reached the shortlist in four categories at the DevOps Awards. Amdocs Microservices360 is down for Best DevOps Cloud Product; Head of New Tech R&D Roi Dayan is a contender for DevOps Leader of the Year; the company as a whole is under consideration for Most Innovative DevOps Vendor; and, of course, Ginger is in the running for DevOps Tool / Product of the Year.

Events like the DevOps Excellence Awards are important to the industry, says David, for their recognition and celebration of the hard work IT professionals put in:

"They recognise and encourage innovation - as well as the effort and people behind it. Since Ginger was launched we have had over 6,000 downloads, so we already know from the results and the feedback from customers that the innovation behind it, and its advanced capabilities, are having a really positive impact. But it's great for the people who've worked so hard on Ginger to receive external and objective validation from additional experts in the field."

A free download of Ginger is available here.

This year's DevOps Excellence Awards will take place virtually on the 30th June.

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