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What is DevOps?

Feb 15, 2022
Oshyn
Oshyn

DevOps involves developers, operations, and IT professionals working together to create a culture with quick software delivery. The goal is to provide new features faster with fewer mistakes and better quality.

This collaboration helps software teams improve the speed and quality of their software without disrupting production systems.

As you can imagine, DevOps is highly attractive to organizations. With top-notch software teams, organizations can develop products faster with continuous integration, deployment, and testing while ensuring the availabi1lity of applications through automation.

In this blog post, we will explore what DevOps is, why it’s essential for any business looking to remain competitive in today’s fast-paced world, as well as its benefits over time.

DevOps Defined

DevOps is made of two parts:

  • Software development (Dev) — development and security teams
  • Operations (Ops) — IT operations, quality engineering, and even marketing teams

By combining these two, DevOps principles make it possible for companies to shorten the systems development life cycle and deliver quality software products continuously. According to Gartner, "DevOps represents a change in IT culture, focusing on rapid IT service delivery through the adoption of agile, lean practices in the context of a system-oriented approach."

Therefore, DevOps sits at the intersection of culture, people, and technology to enhance collaboration between teams that would be otherwise siloed.

Here's a handy table that shows how DevOps differs from other software development paradigms.

Waterfall Agile DevOps
Automation Level Low Varied High
Delivery of Value Slow (3-6 months) Daily or Weekly Continuous
Collaboration Low and siloed Business stakeholders are involved in the process Every part of the team is involved in the project since it starts
Customer Feedback At project completion After every sprint Continuous
Flexibility for Changes Extremely limited Iterative system enables prioritization Highly responsive and cross-functional

It’s also worth noting that Devops doesn’t replace agile, it enhances it. Through culture and organizational change, DevOps seeks to improve the collaboration between developers and the operations team using technology and automation to create a dynamic, repeatable workflow that enables rapid software development and removes data silos. Agile makes DevOps possible and goes beyond being simply an approach to software development.

Now that we’ve defined DevOps let’s look at the DevOps lifecycle to understand the DevOps journey better.

The DevOps Lifecycle

Each phase in the DevOps lifecycle aims at closing the loop between development and operations to enable faster software development. It’s typically composed of six steps:

Continuous Development

Continuous development practices span the planning and coding phases of the development cycle and aim to develop a sketch plan to build the software.

It also focuses on building software incrementally rather than on a large batch enabling code to be rapidly delivered as soon as it’s completed and tested.

Continuous Integration (CI)

Continuous integration, continuous improvement, involves two processes. Firstly, the reconciliation and merging of shared code into a repository. Secondly, automatic tests and code verification tools are applied to avoid bugs and code malfunctions at the release date.

The CI process tests code and the software artifact as a whole to see how it performs. It combines standard code curation practices such as pull requests to prevent merge issues when a software developer reconciles different branches of the codebase.

Continuous Deployment (CD)

Continuous deployment means the automatic release of code updates without the need for manual checks. In the continuous integration model, tests and iterations are automatically applied to the code, resulting in a faster product release.

However, without proper care and adequate checks in place, continuous deployment might push production bugs and vulnerabilities to the main application unless you combine it with efficient updates policies.

Continuous Monitoring

Keeping an eye over all the moving parts that compose a modern application or website can be challenging. Mitigating compliance and security issues is fundamental to the DevOps culture.

Continuous Monitoring then, involves the ongoing monitoring of the code,its operations and infrastructure in a feedback loop. You can be confident that if something isn’t going right with your website, that it will be caught under this monitoring.

Continuous Feedback

In the DevOps culture, feedback doesn’t occur at the end of the software development process. It requires coordination between both development and operations teams throughout the software lifecycle and even in non-IT contexts such as marketing and design.

Continuous feedback enables cross-functional teams to receive immediate feedback from customers regarding the product and make adjustments on the go to ensure that users and visitors can benefit from the app or website.

Continuous Operations

Reducing website downtime is a must for every organization. Downtime —both planned and unplanned— can wreak havoc on your operations, and you must be prepared to face those issues as they arise.

Continuous operations involve deploying backup systems and alerting DevOps professionals about issues before they can hinder your operations. They are also tied to automatic remediation and server load balancing tools to provide service without interruption.

Benefits of DevOps for Marketing Teams

  • Faster time to market: The quick DevOps pipeline ensures that software is built fast and consistently. Through this pipeline, more features and functionalities can be rolled out faster to create new opportunities for marketers to bring in new users and clients.
  • Reliability: Automation enables companies to develop and deploy software with fewer bugs. For marketers, DevOps brings less friction in the development pipeline and enables a loop of continuous improvement across teams and disciplines.
  • Agile business processes: The Agile methodology ensures high speed and smooth delivery, which is something that marketers can also benefit from for their campaigns. By turning feedback and data insights into changes and improvements, marketers can adjust their messaging to reach more potential users and support operations.
  • Enhanced collaboration: Involving marketers into the DevOps model ensures that marketing teams stay in the loop about feature changes and how those specific changes will impact the company’s business goals so they can communicate better with the customers.
  • Greater visibility over analytics: One of the core principles of DevOps is, ‘fail fast, fail often, iterate’. It is a guiding methodology that helps marketers gather information and quickly identify opportunities for improvement. All across the entire DevOps pipeline, marketers can access massive amounts of data that helps improve the product.
  • Peace of mind: In the end, DevOps gives marketing teams peace of mind. It consistently curates more value without blockages and outages that could result in fewer visitors or website downtime.

Benefits of DevOps for Software Development

  • Faster delivery: The DevOps methodology enables faster software delivery using automated continuous delivery methods that leverage development techniques and empower developers. In fact, research by Google found that elite DevOps teams deploy 106x faster than low-performing teams thanks to automation.
  • Less manual errors with automation: With automation, software development teams can reduce the amount of manual overhead and errors during development. They can continuously push code, build, merge, and deploy code through automated CI/CD processes.
  • Faster feedback: With a DevOps feedback loop in place, the communication between teams ensures that every problem in the system is resolved timely to mitigate potential unplanned downtime. Continuous feedback bridges gaps between different teams and reduces blockages in the release pipeline.
  • Better software quality: Enacting DevOps practices has the potential to maximize your software’s quality. By leveraging agile development practices, professionals ensure that every part of the application or website is automatically tested and that performance is guaranteed. Developers can focus their efforts on building features and improving availability.
  • Transparency: The DevOps process builds a culture of shared responsibility, transparency, and faster feedback. DevOps professionals are used to collaborating and solving problems together as a team, which isn’t often the case for siloed teams. The DevOps culture eliminates the finger-pointing mentality and looks at the development process holistically to achieve better performance.

What Role Does Automation Play In DevOps?

Automation is the glue that holds all six processes–continuous development, continuous integration, continuous deployment, continuous monitoring, continuous feedback, and continuous operations–together.

It enables the orchestration of these processes and ensures that all the different tools and systems in the DevOps lifecycle are well-connected to achieve end-to-end automation without data silos across each phase.

This simplifies the DevOps practice and makes the processes faster and more efficient. Developers and operations teams can then build, test, deploy, and maintain code in less time with no mistakes.

Automation of the build and release process through CI/CD pipelines is what gives customers the ability to quickly and reliably deploy new features for their customers. DevOps automation tools include automated testing, monitoring tools, and IT management systems to ensure that your DevOps pipeline is running and that your site is always in top shape.

Read More: DevOps Automation: How it Works

The Challenges To DevOps Adoption

Modern organizations should implement DevOps, but the problem is that plenty of them rush into DevOps because of the hype and without fully understanding what DevOps is and how it really works. This leads to poor implementation and ultimately to poor results.

Let’s see some of the most pressing challenges to implementing a DevOps initiative.

  • Failure to gain executive buy-in: Unless they work at a tech company, many executives don’t really understand the benefits of this system. DevOps then remains a developer thing rather than an enterprise-level concern as it should be from the start.
  • Focusing only on the tools: While DevOps tools are necessary for a proper pipeline, focusing only on your toolchain won’t do the trick. Instead, you need to set the correct structure, then the processes, and, finally, the tools. Make sure your team follows the processes because if they can’t, they won’t.
  • Not having the right partner to help you: Traditionally, software development was carried out by teams with a specific focus and expertise, but for a DevOps team to work, collaboration needs to be cross-functional and non-siloed. Fostering collaboration and the right culture can take you a long way, but DevOps can be harder to implement without the right partner—and DevOps engineer—to help you.
  • Not automating anything: Failing to automate your systems and allowing things to still be done manually can only lead to potential breakage points or flaws in your system. DevOps thrives on automation, and the more you automate, the fewer issues you will have with your pipeline in the future.

Introduce DevOps To Your Development Lifecycle With Uptime

At Oshyn, we offer our clients the help of efficient and expert DevOps practitioners well-versed in continuous integration (CI) and delivery (CD). Our skilled team will ensure your DevOps success and enable you to gain greater visibility over your development pipeline.

We call this Uptime: a proactive way for websites to remain performant, ensuring the reliability and security of your website and customer experience platforms. Uptime enables proactive website management, all in a centralized place that integrates with your chosen DevOps toolchain to test features and solve problems as they arise.

With Uptime by Oshyn, you get a DevOps tool that will give you all the information you need to make informed decisions and release better software faster.

If you want to learn more about Uptime by Oshyn, go here: Uptime by Oshyn.

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