How continuous backup can help DevOps teams keep working with the right data
The world of software engineering has changed; in fact it’s constantly changing. We’re moving on from the days of waterfall when big-budget releases with multiple features per version were the norm. Now, to compete, organizations have to implement agile development, with shorter release cycles and fewer improved or new features at a time. Modern software development has evolved to a practice of continuous development to the point that each new release feels like a simple patch rather than a dramatic overhaul.
This has completely upended the testing process. Release cycles are a fraction of the time they used to be and the previous QA methods don’t stand a chance to keep pace. The latest model combines developers, operations, testing and security into close-knit teams. Development cycles are shortened and testing and deployment are automated from the source. All of this blending of teams and processes has been dubbed DevOps.
This new paradigm for operations and development has been made possible by the flexibility ushered in by virtualization and the snapshots that can be made for a point-in-time failback. Yet, limitations remain that can keep technology from supporting the advanced needs of DevOps teams. More is still needed to keep environments up to date because once a snapshot is deleted, the data that it represented is gone.
New tools have emerged including Docker, Kubernetes and Puppet to help on the operations side, but development teams can still be expensive if they aren’t used efficiently and effectively. Any amount of downtime or idle waiting for a database to be refreshed from production or for any sort of regression testing environments to be instantiated is burning money. DevOps processes can do this, but they aren’t effective if they don’t have a continuous stream of recovery points.
The Quality of Code
Development can only be as good as the copies of production data that a developer has to work with. The challenge is to get a current copy of production data in a reasonable amount of time. If it uses simulated test data designed to mimic production, results can be shoddy and defects can occur more frequently.
A continuous backup solution with search and recovery across data, files or VMs from any point in time can make development and testing easy. Spinning up a clone of production environments is simple if you have multiple copies of data in different locations in a one-to-many configuration. Production data can then be replicated to DR facilities for protection, but also to development, test and QA environments to assure that developers and testers are working on the same, latest version of production data.
Production replicas along with the simultaneous use of a proper API can allow the orchestration of test builds and deployments without manual intervention. This is essential because being able to perform tests on good, reliable data can significantly reduce the amount of code defects deployed into production.
Confidence in Changes
Because you can spin up real-time replicas of production workloads with ease, developers don’t have to guess what might happen when they push a new code update into production. Instead, the can reproduce an exact replica of production that has the latest data to an isolated area where it can’t affect production users. In this environment, they can observe the results without any risk.