What Is DevOps?
Dev Ops is the term broadly used to reference the combined philosophies, culture, tools and practices that are used to enable organisations to deliver applications and services at a faster rate than traditional software development processes in the past. Traditionally there has been a clear distinction between the infrastructure operations function and software development & test functions within a software development lifecycle. Today, with more and more companies delivering frequent application updates, the need for a collaborative mindset with regards to infrastructure configuration, software development and deployment has become a key success factor. DevOps is a direct response to this collaborative mindset.
From Current Practices to Automated Solutions
DevOps is changing fast in terms of its framework and philosophy. It is aimed at providing a framework for seamless application development and faster integration of new software products and features. DevOps best practices ensure continuous and uninterrupted communication, integration, collaboration, visibility, and transparency within application development teams (Dev) and their corresponding IT operations team (Ops). The close and direct relationship between “Dev” and “Ops” is seen throughout the development lifecycle: from primary software planning to deployment, operations, and continuous monitoring. This relationship forms the basis of a customer feedback loop that encourages further development, testing, and deployment. The transition from current practices to automated solutions strives to achieve a smooth management between each of these layers within the lifecycle of the solution. Innovation in the DevOps arena has given rise to a level of productivity never achieved through manually managing the development, deployment and on-going management of these systems. There are now a number of cloud based SaaS solutions that make it faster and more efficient for teams to manage their processes and respond to their clients requirements at a rate never been seen before. By Automating mundane and time consuming tasks, teams can focus on building high quality software systems that deliver the best solutions to their clients and enable companies to compete harder than ever before. In many cases, those that follow a non-automated DevOps process run the risk of being left behind.
Overdoing DevOps Automation
The origin of this issues stems from the confusion around agile versus waterfall software development methodologies. While agile is the newer and more innovative approach, some businesses miss the mark as they take this agile approach to an extreme. They over complication of the agile approach leads to unnecessary over engineering of the automated DevOps process. A balance must be struck between efficiency and productivity.
The PMI survey based on the past two years give important information regarding where traditional and agile methodologies could be used. While the majority of businesses recognise the advantages of agile and DevOps, in some cases, businesses are not applying a wise approach to managing projects. Following tried and tested best practices will inevitably lead to a more structured and planned approach to the DevOps process. It must be assessed continuously to ensure at each phase of development, the DevOps process is still effective and fit for purpose. Processes must be enhanced and tweaked throughout the lifespan of the product.
Achieving a Balance
Some businesses are over-automating DevOps, and on the other hand, some aren’t automating at all. How to determine your balance?
Automation is based on placing technology around all manual processes so they become inherently repeatable. If your processes are flawed and ineffective, mistakes will occur faster and more frequently. Efforts must focus on the processes required during development and deployment. Once these are identified, it is a matter of applying the effective DevOps automation solutions to correspond to the given processes; although, not all processes can be, or should be automated, so be careful here.
DevOps Best Practices
DevOps best practices demonstrate endless automation and improvement. These are as follows:
- Continuous development. Planning and coding stages of the DevOps lifecycle.
- Continuous testing. Automated, scheduled, nonstop code tests during the time of application development or updates.
- Continuous integration (CI). Implements configuration management (CM) tools with other test and development tools to track developed code ensuring it is ready for production.
- Continuous delivery. Automated delivery of code changes to a test production environment.
- Continuous deployment (CD). The implementation of new or revised code into production.
- Continuous monitoring. Involves continuously monitoring the code and primary infrastructure in a live operational environment.
- Infrastructure as code. This ensures provisioning of infrastructure for a software release using automated DevOps processes and tools.
Effective DevOps Automation Tools
Some “drag-and-drop” platforms are based on cloud computing infrastructure. They streamline and simplify the process of designing AWS/Microsoft Azure cloud infrastructure for hosting any application using cloud best-practice principles.
These tools can help achieve better business results with DevOps: Operations teams provide automated infrastructure with minimal engineering, and developers create a reliable and secure product with the least bugs. With cloud-based DevOps technology, your business can confidently get the services and capabilities needed to exploit developer productivity in both cloud and on-premise environments. To find out more about how DevOps and automation tools can improve the productivity of your teams and operations, get in touch with us.