DevOps is the amalgamation of “development” and “operations,” but its fundamental meaning is cultivating a collaborative mentality within an organization, emphasizing quality and speed in delivering products that meet all client requirements.
When teams work in silos, integrating their efforts can often lead to problems. This is where DevOps steps in, streamlining the process for all involved members. To illustrate this concept, consider a company that conducts reviews for a new design. The development team creates programs to simplify the work, and the operations team utilizes these programs to run tests manually. However, issues arise when the two teams operate separately. The development team completes its tests with specific designs, and upon releasing the product to the operations team, discrepancies emerge because the latter is using different designs with new features not considered in the previous tests. This can lead to finger-pointing and conflicts between the teams. DevOps provides a solution by advocating collaboration throughout the development life cycle.
DevOps adheres to key principles for development and deployment across all software life cycles.
- Automation: Identifying opportunities for automation and implementing it across all development phases, reducing the time needed for various steps.
- Collaboration and communication: Effective communication is fundamental for collaborative processes. As Franklin Covey’s principle suggests, “seek first to understand and then to be understood.”
- Continuous improvement and minimization of waste: Regularly monitoring the entire process, including automation tools, to identify areas for improvement, leading to quicker releases, efficient production times, and better recoveries.
- Hyperfocus on user needs with short feedback loops: Maintaining communication with users and obtaining feedback in cycles, aligning with agile methodologies to ensure delivering what users genuinely need.
Once we adopt this methodology, we’ll find ourselves facing numerous new tools and projects to optimize our processes. This often leads us to transition from monolithic architectures to more efficient microservices. DevOps offers a structured approach to help us achieve this goal of creating a streamlined software structure.
To better illustrate these phases, let’s consider a company working on developing cloud-based solutions. They have various portals for handling servers, databases, and metrics, each developed by different teams with their own architectures and standards. Let’s explore the phases in the context of this company:
- Bring Your Own DevOps:
At this stage, all teams are tasked with selecting their own tools and integrating them together. In our example, the company has separate portals for servers, databases, and metrics. However, each portal was created independently by different teams, leading us to the next phase.
- Best-in-class DevOps:
With all of the tools in place, the attention switches to establishing a single standard for them and prioritizing updates. Collaboration among teams becomes critical in order for them to understand and support one another. We have separate teams for servers, databases, and metrics in our example. Prioritizing metrics may result in a better understanding of the procedures and tools used by other teams. This unified understanding leads to a more cohesive understanding of the company’s work. However, if revisions are required in the middle of a process, we will go on to the next phase.
- Do-it-yourself DevOps:
In this phase, teams create their own applications to handle DevOps processes, tailored to their specific needs. While this approach can be beneficial, it requires significant effort to maintain and expand. For instance, in our example, if we need to ensure the accuracy of unit tests, each team might implement its own package of tests within their applications. Unfortunately, this approach limits cross-team compatibility.
- DevOps Platform:
The ideal phase to replace the do-it-yourself approach. Here, we bring all our DevOps applications together within the same portal, adhering to a unified standard. Developers become familiar with the architecture of these applications, reducing complexities and allowing us to standardize and consolidate efforts. As a result, we can now apply this platform across different projects.
The DevOps Cycle is centered around the process taken to achieve desired results. It follows an infinite cycle, as represented in Figure 1, the DevOps Cycle, and detailed below.
- Plan: This phase involves structuring the information and tasks, setting priorities, and monitoring progress.
- Create: Design and develop the software, bringing the envisioned concept into reality.
- Verify: Ensure that the code works properly and meets the user’s requirements.
- Package: Put together project dependencies and documentation for streamlined deployment.
- Secure: Conduct comprehensive checks for vulnerabilities using automated tools to enhance software security.
- Release: Deploy the software, making it available for use by intended users.
- Configure: Set up the necessary structures to effectively manage your applications.
- Monitor: Keep an eye on performance metrics to ensure continual progress.
- Govern: Establish policies and rules for your organization to follow in order to maintain consistency and order.
The advantages of adopting DevOps are numerous, and below, you’ll find a concise summary of some key benefits:
- Collaboration: DevOps methodology fosters stronger teamwork between development and operations teams, reinforcing the idea that they are all working together towards a common goal.
- Improved Responsiveness: Increased collaboration leads to quicker response times for improvements or changes, reducing issues in the final software product.
- Shorter Cycle Time: With more effective and fluid collaboration, the time taken to create new software or make changes to existing software is reduced, while also ensuring higher quality.
By embracing DevOps, businesses can reap the benefits of enhanced collaboration, faster responses to changes, reduced development times, and a more content and productive software development environment.