DevOps orchestration and feedback loops can significantly impact and improve your organization’s delivery pipeline. In this post, we’ll define and illuminate the importance of DevOps orchestration and feedback loops, and how together they can make a difference in your pipeline.
Although people widely use the terms “automation” and “orchestration” interchangeably, their scopes vary with significant process differences between them. DevOps automation automates a single function or a task in a DevOps pipeline that is routine and monotonous. Orchestration describes a string of such automated tasks consolidated into a streamlined workflow. In environments where automation would not work because of barriers among the groups, orchestration can be used to help organizations solve issues despite such barriers. Hence, DevOps orchestration simply brings together already existing automation networks into a cohesive, consolidated platform.
The Need for DevOps Orchestration
DevOps teams deal with constant navigation between development and operations. It would be highly beneficial if a single platform could pull together the tools teams typically use as various automation pieces from multiple DevOps toolsets. This is where DevOps orchestration services come into the picture, as orchestration enables teams to achieve that.
The primary goal of DevOps orchestration is to ensure seamless and quick delivery of new builds into production. It also aims to achieve streamlined and error-free software releases. Different organizations use various coding standards, guidelines and policies. DevOps orchestration plays a major role in efficiently managing and ensuring adherence to such policies. DevOps orchestration also is pivotal in properly defining and maintaining third-party software and their multiple versions across different environments.
Effective DevOps monitoring is vital. It is the key to understanding and evaluating various performance metrics in the production environment. When done right, DevOps monitoring can provide visibility into different critical aspects such as deviations in performance, application functionality issues and service availability problems. In any DevOps environment, the ability to identify and pinpoint such issues proactively can be highly beneficial, and DevOps monitoring enables executives to do so.
Feedback loops are the essence of any process improvement and DevOps is no exception. Typically, such loops initially function with an organization’s policies and progress all the way through implementation, policy adjustments (if any) and usually ending with reimplementation. They are not limited to specific process cycles in a DevOps environment—for example, it’s applicable to CI/CD practices, infrastructure monitoring and application development
Types of Feedback Loops
Broadly, there are two categories in feedback loops: reinforcing feedback loop and balancing feedback loop. People refer to the former as “a loop of accelerating change.” In a reinforcing feedback loop, increased value in the first entity results in an increase in the second entity, which in turn further increases the value of the first entity. Conversely, in a balancing feedback loop, value increase in one entity results in a decreased value in the second entity, which consequently decreases the value of the first entity.
Significance of Feedback Loops
One of the major capabilities that differentiates and carves a unique niche for DevOps from the rest of its predecessor methodologies is its feasibility to incorporate feedback from customers as well as other systems in the pipeline, including the monitoring system. The feedback obtained helps to bridge the gap between the software’s function and customer expectations. It also provides valuable insights about what you can do to improve the build of the software and ultimately enhance its functionality and reliability.
Feedback loops are particularly crucial when it comes to continuous testing. To carry out continuous testing effectively, building automated tests is only a job half done; the rest depends on the visibility of the test results and how you can utilize them to enhance the existing process. To do that, you need comprehensive feedback of your software’s performance across various stages of the software development life cycle (SDLC), starting right from development and continuing all the way to post-production. Implementing the right feedback loops will help you gather such detailed feedback.
Thus, feedback loops serve as the difference between merely speculating how an end-user might consume a product and methodically improving the existing workflow to better suit the end-user requirements through feedback.