DevOps culture has taken the software industry by storm and is transforming how many organizations go about their work, with 83 percent of IT decision-makers reporting that their DevOps initiatives achieve higher business value through better quality products and faster software delivery. But despite the growing popularity and widespread implementation, many organizations are still struggling to unlock the full benefits of DevOps. Read on to learn more about the methodology and how to take your DevOps initiative to the next level.
What is DevOps, anyway?
DevOps is a popular software development methodology that aims to streamline and speed up the software development lifecycle. As you probably know (or can imagine), the methodology’s name comes from combining the terms 'development' and 'operations'. A software development consultant named Patrick Debois is largely credited for creating said term, consequently becoming the “Father of DevOps” after launching a conference called DevOps Days in 2009.
DevOps Part 1: Agile Operations – The Evolution of DevOps
DevOps was born out of the industry’s need to address shortcomings in the increasingly popular Agile software development methodology regarding rapid and efficient code deployment. As a result, DevOps is a set of practices, processes, and tools which support a culture of close collaboration between Development and Operations teams.
The main goal of implementing DevOps is to reliably deliver high-quality software at great speed and scale. It does this through adopting:
- Iterative software development methods
- Programmable deployment and maintenance
- Automation throughout the software development lifecycle
- Cultural changes when it comes to cross-functional collaboration
The DevOps process can be visualized as an infinite loop that contains the following steps: plan, code, build, test, release, deploy, operate, monitor, and then plan again on the basis of feedback and monitored observations, resetting the loop again.
What are the benefits of implementing DevOps?
DevOps is a popular methodology that continues to evolve as time goes on and more and more organizations implement these practices, processes, and tools. According to a survey conducted by Atlassian, 49% of companies implementing DevOps managed to reduce their time-to-market, 61% reported higher quality products as a result, and 99% maintain that DevOps had a positive impact on their organization as a whole.
Here are some of the main benefits which come along with a DevOps transformation:
- More frequent and faster software deployment
- Higher product quality and less defects
- Quicker feedback cycles and issue resolution
- Increased team and business productivity
- Lowered management, production, and maintenance costs
- Greater adaptability to change and unplanned work
- Stronger collaboration and communication
- Overall happier and more engaged teams
The Top 5 DevOps Success Factors
The core principles of DevOps
Although DevOps does not represent an official framework, it is more than just guidelines for increased collaboration between development and operations teams. It represents a serious mindset and cultural shift whose core principles include:
1) Automation of the software development lifecycle
Before the DevOps movement, software development was much more dependent on manual handoffs between people at every stage of the process which made it hard to release new code quickly and efficiently. With processes that automate testing, continuous integration (the addition of new code into existing code), and continuous deployment (i.e. releases), strong DevOps teams are able to release code several times a day instead of several times a year.
2) Collaboration and communication
Development and operations teams have historically butted heads on many issues (and even more so with application security teams). This is where the above-mentioned mindset and cultural shift come into play. Although it seems obvious, none of the benefits that DevOps practices bring to the table can be realized without clear and regular communication, which is why its importance is emphasized so strongly in this working methodology.
3) Continuous improvement and waste minimization
Continuous improvement - also known as kaizen - is an Agile staple which means that you’re always on the lookout for ways to streamline work and reduce waste. In the face of constantly changing circumstances (market demands, customer requirements, technological innovation, etc) continuous improvement and deployment (CI/CD) empower dev teams to optimize for speed and scale through experimentation and frequent releases.
Automation, better collaboration, and CI/CD free up developers to do more meaningful work, part of which is understanding what users really need and how to make sure they get it. That’s where short feedback loops come in handy. DevOps focuses on the rapid collection, response, and sharing of user feedback in order to make use of it as quickly as possible. Using live monitoring, DevOps teams get real-time insights into how actual users interact with software and they then use those insights to optimize the product even further.
DevOps Part 2: Methods, Practices and Tools
4 key ways to step up your DevOps game
Maybe you’re just getting started with DevOps, or you’ve already had a DevOps in place in your organization for some time now. Either way, implementing and optimizing DevOps can be a challenging endeavor. Here are our four top tips for taking your DevOps game to the next level:
Cyberattacks are on the rise, with malicious emails up by a whopping 600% due to the Covid-19 pandemic and the global cost of cybercrime is predicted to hit $10.5 trillion by 2025. There’s no better time to start incorporating automated security checks into your DevOps approach, transforming it into a DevSecOps approach.
DevSecOps: Building Security into DevOps
This will enable your team to identify security issues and software vulnerabilities early on in the software development cycle (ideally before pushing new code into production) which will help you avoid costly delays, risks, and reworks further down the line.
Serverless architecture is when the provider themselves is in charge of managing the allocation and provisioning of servers, and everything you need is provided to you within the cloud infrastructure so developers don’t need to take care of server maintenance themselves.
If you are already using a DevOps approach and looking for ways to optimize it even further, going serverless can help your team outsource the tasks related to pipeline management in order to support:
- Rapid development and deployment
- Easier updates or patches
- Increased team productivity
Consider a low-code approach
Low-code development has risen in popularity since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020, due to the accelerated rate of digital transformation and largely in response to market needs for swift code delivery. Low-code is considered a game-changing yet divisive topic in the DevOps world. It may not be the right fit for every team or organization, but it’s definitely worth considering.
Low-code software enables you to build applications without coding knowledge using a highly visual approach (think drag and drop elements) and preconfigured ready-to-use templates. This enables dev teams to accelerate development and deployment while allowing non-technical team members to contribute to the software development process.
Use DevOps-Ready platforms
Have you ever heard of the DevOps tax? In a typical DevOps toolchain, there are a lot of different solutions which the team cobbles together in order to carry out your DevOps initiative. Inevitably, managing all these tools and making them communicate information back and forth efficiently takes a huge amount of time and resources, hence the term “DevOps tax”.
DevOps-ready platforms, on the other hand, are already designed to help you execute DevOps and support automation, continuous integration, and continuous deployment among the other practices and processes of the methodology. The right tools on the market will cover the whole development lifecycle, from conception to deployment and monitoring.
Curious to learn more about how the right kind of platform can accelerate and optimize your DevOps initiative? Check out our eBook on the topic here: