The competitive market of today is always looking for faster, cheaper and better products and services. This is no different in the application development area, whether it supports internal or external customers. The application development methodologies have evolved throughout the years. In turn, DevOps has been around since 2009, and it has gained wide acceptance. Are you deciding whether to adopt DevOps or are you wondering what DevOps is? Then this article will help you dearly. You will learn what DevOps is about as well as its significant benefits.
What is DevOps?
DevOps tears down the walls between traditional development and IT operations, hence its name. Top developers have been practicing the basic concepts of DevOps for decades by complementing their development skills with testing techniques and vast knowledge of technology operations and infrastructure. However, the actual term of DevOps was popularized through a series of meetings starting in Belgium in 2009. Agile development and the proliferation of automation tools have allowed DevOps to grow stronger and go mainstream.
So, what is the definition of DevOps today? DevOps is a culture that evolved from the Lean and Agile methodologies. It involves a set of best practices, tools, and policies with a strong focus on the collaboration and communication of both software developers and other IT professionals. This leads to quality, automation, and measurement over the entire service lifecycle, from development through delivery and production support. The purpose of DevOps is to establish a culture and environment where analyzing, designing, developing, testing, fixing, deploying and monitoring software can happen swiftly, frequently, securely, predictably and reliably. Often, DevOps is referred to as CAMS – Culture, Automation, Measurements and Sharing.
Agile development includes continuous integration with automated testing to make sure that code changes meet the requirements and are virtually free of defects. DevOps extends this concept to continuous delivery. Changes tend to be smaller, simpler, and more narrowed in scope, which greatly accelerates the turn-around time. Every code or configuration change goes through a pipeline of tests with feedback along the way. If a change passes initial unit and functional tests, the system is automatically deployed to a testing environment for a suite of tests, such as integration, security, regression, performance, interface, and operational. If something needs to be fixed, it may require rebuilding and reconfiguring the operating system and the runtime stack as well as the application from the ground up for each check-in. If all the tests pass at the end of the pipeline, then the changes are automatically deployed to production. This rapid deployment happens hundreds or thousands of times at development shops like Amazon and Google.
Although DevOps fosters collaboration, in a way, it puts more responsibility on developers to manage code deployments and maintain service levels.
What is the impact on Culture?
DevOps is more than just a tool or a process change. It inherently requires an organizational culture shift. This cultural transformation is especially difficult because of the conflicting nature of the different departmental roles. Operations want organizational stability, developers seek change, testers pursue risk reduction, and product owners expect multiple features and quick delivery. Getting these four groups to work cohesively is a critical challenge in the adoption of DevOps adoption.
What are the benefits of DevOps?
- DevOps results in rapid and frequent releases to production that reduce risk because any release contains fewer changes and is tested thoroughly.
- Any issues that are found in any of the steps of the process are easier to fix or roll back because they are minuscule. One great analogy of DevOps is a conveyor belt, where there is a series of quality checks along the line at all main stages, making sure that any bundle with defects is quickly removed from the line and only the packages that meet all the quality standards are delivered safely and reliably.
- DevOps maximizes the predictability, efficiency, security, and maintainability of operational processes.
- The DevOps approach grants developers more control of the environment, giving infrastructure more application-centric understanding.
- DevOps procedures considerably help reduce the number and size of many of the obstacles found in software development. By bringing awareness and by planning the infrastructure setup earlier in the development cycle, we can prevent many infrastructure and operational issues.
- Human errors, the need for troubleshooting gurus, and change control bureaucracy are substantially reduced thanks to consistent, reliable, repeatable, and continuous automated deployments.
- Similar to Lean and Agile, DevOps focuses on people first, systems second.
- DevOps also emphasizes continuous process improvement (kaizen) through approaches like retrospectives.
Examples of DevOps
Companies that use a private or public cloud and that are already practicing Agile methodologies are especially suited for DevOps. Here are some examples.
Amazon Web Services (AWS) has DevOps embedded in its DNA and has a guide to DevOps. Its flexible environment has been instrumental in the success of well-known organizations like Netflix, Airbnb, and Etsy.
Puppet Labs, a favorite DevOps tool made a case study with LV=, a UK insurance company based in Liverpool, Victoria. The company was able to make changes faster and with fewer errors.
In this article, we covered what DevOps is all about as well as some significant benefits. You should now be able to assemble the team and start working on the implementation of DevOps.
Do have any comments about the definition of DevOps or are you aware of other crucial benefits? Please write a comment below.