The main idea behind DevOps is to enable companies to keep up with the increased software velocity and advancements in agile culture for a smoother end-to-end software delivery cycle.
The main goal of DevOps is to accomplish integration and automation, which is why implementing this philosophy can be challenging. Not only do you need to replace older methods and practices, but you’ll also have to change the mindset of the developers and the operations team to ensure they work in sync.
Several IT operations teams and software teams have adopted DevOps practices into their work culture for faster evolvement and improved innovations. The pipeline comprises continuous integration, testing, deployment, as well as monitoring application and system performance.
Introducing new DevOps tools and changing the mindset to prepare teams for the fast-paced world remains crucial for a successful implementation.
Despite the revolution that this philosophy brings to software development, several enterprises find themselves taking DevOps to an unproductive extreme. To remain productive, one of the aspects that teams need to work on is reducing rework, and the best way to ensure this is automation.
Understand How DevOps Works
Under a DevOps model, the development and operations teams are integrated into one to prevent them from getting siloed. This also improves collaboration and productivity.
You see, it brings alive the possibility of both the teams thinking more alike, working together and sharing responsibilities. This is done by automating code testing and workflows, automating infrastructure and continuously measuring application performance.
In some models, even the QA and security teams merge with the dev and ops. In cases where security becomes the primary focus, the name gets modified to DevSecOps.
In essence, the focus of DevOps is on automating processes that were otherwise manual and slow. Teams use a technology stack and tooling that can operate and evolve applications more reliably and swiftly. As engineers will be able to accomplish tasks such as deploying code and provisioning infrastructure faster with reduced issues, teams can reach testing and maintenance stages quicker.
Balance Between Standardization and Adaptability
Software products are mostly developed from the customers’ perspective, and if not, from end-user experience. Often, developers work backward to identify customer needs and wants for ascertaining successful innovation.
One of the biggest challenges when developing a software development life cycle (SDLC) strategy for organizations is to consider dynamic customer needs, strict compliance policies, unpredictable market trends and company goals. To ensure a consistent workflow, DevOps teams need to adopt standardization. In fact, workflows, technologies, processes, protocols and metrics need to be standardized before they can be automated.
This is also the main reason why organizations adopting DevOps need to strike a balance between standardization and adaptability. One industry that has excelled at this has been the financial industry, which has been leading the charge when it comes to adopting the latest software delivery practices and technologies, including DevOps. Financial executives view DevOps as being a way to improve security and risk and governance strategies.
The result is that cloud-based financial services are now automating virtually all of their processes through their software delivering pipelines, which makes tasks such as scanning receipts, sending invoices, tracking expenses or making payments seamless as they sync to your account. This simpler process is beneficial for boosting developer productivity and resource utilization, and for enabling enterprise scale management. If anything automating processes is becoming necessary for achieving higher product quality, compliance and scalability.
As mentioned above, new DevOps tools need to be introduced to team members to keep up with the constantly evolving strategies and implementation. But to prevent the creation of silos between teams, mechanisms need to be developed to make the adoption of new technologies easier.
Achieving the delicate balance between standardization and automation will help eliminate communication gaps, performance bottlenecks and silos between the different teams.
Benefits of Automation in the DevOps Landscape
The following are the advantages of adopting a DevOps philosophy:
- Code Development. Source control will keep everyone in the loop by managing, tracking and documenting any changes in code. This can be time-saving, and reduce the complexity of software projects.
- Smoother Testing. Testing is a continuous process in DevOps frameworks that includes system communication, several test integrations, predicting and tracking issues, and integrating approved automated builds. In the absence of automation, executing and managing continuous testing could be a rather tedious job that might cause problems between developers and the operations team.
- Better Visibility. The main job of the ops teams is to be aware of the code changes, ongoing problems and the impact of a specific code on the end goals. Plus, when they operate in a DevOps environment, they need to keep the developers in the loop as well.
For example, if a system administrator from the ops team identifies code issues weeks after submission, it puts more pressure on developers. Now, the developers have two jobs: solve the problem in the previous code, and simultaneously work on making progress with the new code. This is what gets time-consuming, which can harm the company’s market standing. To remain ahead in the competition, innovation needs to be frequent and accurate.
When there is a constant feedback loop between the dev, ops and QA, bottlenecks, and silos are eliminated, productivity is improved and customers are happier due to quicker innovation.
- Continuous Integration and Delivery. Automation can help deliver appropriate software built, data, code changes and tests to target environments. An example is how web hosts for e-commerce businesses need to be updated frequently for robust deployments. Automated testing will help ensure that code is delivered properly and doesn’t introduce new bugs, thus creating a platform with a superior user experience.
This, in turn, helps DevOps teams to introduce frequent software changes by deploying error-free codes and continuous testing.
- Data Processing and Monitoring. The teams also need to measure and monitor the performance of their environment, which can be done by reading and analyzing system logs. But the existence of hundreds or thousands of servers in the environment can make it complicated.
Automation will allow the teams to make sense of all the data and let them know how an application is performing and whether there are any bottlenecks.
Getting the Balance Right
Organizations need to realize that automation involves placing technologies around once-manual processes. The catch here is as the processes will become inherently repeatable, they need to be correct. Otherwise, organizations will only have flawed processes running faster, which will ultimately defeat the purpose of adopting DevOps in the first place.
Companies need to understand adaptability as well. This can be done by mixing both the old as well as new systems. For this purpose, an inventory of all applications, data stores and development processes for promoting meta development processes that include design, development, testing, deployment, configuration management and so on can be made.
In the end, the secret to winning DevOps is aligning DevOps tools with your organization’s goals – not following the footsteps of other organizations.