DevOps involves a combination of culture, practices and tools that automates the operation of software and infrastructure and, among other things, enables software teams to deliver applications and services at higher velocities. Organisations that successfully implement DevOps can deploy code releases more often, with improved quality and greater stability.
Development and Operations teams historically operated in silos which led to poor communication and inefficiency.
In contrast, DevOps addresses these problems by building a culture of collaboration between teams and promoting efficiencies through automation wherever possible. The combination of these factors produces a continuous stream of business value with benefits such as faster product time to market, gaining a competitive edge, increased software quality or an overall reduction in project costs.
What makes it work?
Being able to implement a successful DevOps strategy does not necessarily lie in the availability of a large transformation budget. The road to DevOps can begin by making small, incremental steps in the following key areas:
Fostering a culture of shared responsibility is essential to building a high performing DevOps team. It’s important to consider how your work can impact other people and teams involved in the release process. Viewing the coding and deployment activities as an end-to-end process helps break down the barriers between Development and Operations.
Another important principle within DevOps management is that a degree of failure is inherent in product development and should not be punished. Instead, a culture of continuous improvement should be promoted where good practices and efficiencies are nurtured. In this way, continuous improvement and failure can go hand in hand.
2. DevOps Practices and Principles
The agile practice of iterative development of features in collaboration with the business takes advantage of the maxim that a minimal viable product (MVP) is more valuable than a perfect product delivered in six months’ time. It makes sense that the chances of customer satisfaction will be greatly increased if the software product is developed with the business involvement from day one. Devops facilitates this, since all software development requires infrastructure (even in the cloud), and if the infrastructure delivery cannot keep pace with the agile development.
The emergence of DevSecOps – Devops applied to security – has brought its own efficiencies where security considerations are built-in early to the software development. Automated checks for known security vulnerabilities can be incorporated early into the DevOps pipeline. This can help reduce scope and cost of penetration/security tests that would traditionally be run towards the end of a project.
3. DevOps Automation Tools
Teams usually begin automation with the DevOps techniques of Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Deployment (CD). These processes often include the execution of an automated test pack for each code change followed by the automated deployment of the code to production. The return on investment by implementing techniques such as Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment can be considerable, with hourly releases replacing weekly or even less frequent ones.
Other important Dev Ops techniques include Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and Configuration as Code (CaC). Developers can create code to deploy infrastructure components, in fact entire complex environments with many servers, subnets, firewalls etc. and configure application settings. This makes possible repeated and reliable deployment of applications across multiple environments whether on-premise or in the Cloud.
IaC allows us to deploy applications such as Jira to a cloud infrastructure automatically without the need for manual installations and multiple configurations of both the application and hosting environment. We can now deploy an instance of Jira in 20 mins as opposed to 2 days resulting in x48 improvement in deployment time.—James Elder, Senior Consultant at AC
As regards to quality, the benefits of deploying a thoroughly tested application release to identically provisioned environments can be considerable, especially if thousands of deployments are required throughout the year.
At Automation Consultants we have realised the benefits of implementing DevOps practices when building our own software. These benefits include a thriving development culture, a higher frequency of delivery and an improved quality of products. Our own DevOps consultancy journey has helped us to implement DevOps pipelines for our customers based on our experience. To this end, we have forged partnerships with vendors who offer the best DevOps tools to provide the highest service capabilities.
AC has considerable experience in measuring the benefits of DevOps on small to large-scale agile deployments. Get in touch with us today to find out how our DevOps consulting service could help to integrate the culture, tools and processes of your business.