Suppose you want to boost your organisation's ability to develop and deliver applications and services faster. In that case, you need a better approach than the traditional software development process, which means using the DevOps methodology.
DevOps is becoming increasingly popular among organisations that want a better and faster way of innovating for their clients, adjusting to the changing markets and thriving at driving business results.
So, what is DevOps? This article provides a definitive guide to DevOps, what it is, its benefits, its lifecycle and why it matters.
- DevOps means developers (Dev) and operations (Ops). It is a mindset, a combination of cultural philosophies, practices and tools to increase an organisation's ability to deliver software or applications that add value to customers faster.
- DevOps matters because more and more businesses use software or applications to interact with their customers. Hence, the need for companies to change how they use and build applications to meet their customers' expectations.
- The benefits of adopting DevOps practices are quick problem-solving, agility, increased collaboration and trust, and automation to quicken delivery time, reduce cost and deliver value to customers.
- DevOps lifecycles are continuous development, integration, delivery, testing, deployment, monitoring, feedback and operations.
- While DevOps is not a tool, it has tools like Git, Jerkins, Kubernetes, etc., which you can use to automate the application build, testing and delivery process.
What Does DevOps Means?
DevOps definition can be a little technical if you are new to it. It amalgamates developer (dev) and operations (ops) into one word. In its simplest term, DevOps is a software engineering methodology.
It combines people (developers and operations team), practices and tools to foster collaboration, communication and shared responsibility. DevOps practices make it easy for the software development and operations teams to accelerate delivery through automation, collaboration and feedback.
Think of DevOps as a combination of cultural philosophies, practices and tools to increase an organisation's capacity to deliver software at a higher speed. An organisation that adopts the DevOps model will develop and improve products much faster, serving its customers better and competing effectively in the market.
How Does DevOps Work?
DevOps works to increase communication between the development and operations teams. These teams are no longer siloed (separated from one another) but merged into a single group that cuts across all the departments involved in building an application or service.
- Development and operations teamed up to plan the task.
- The Devs team writes and reviews the code using source code management tools.
- The Devs team builds code into the desired format and uses CI/CD tools to verify the code.
- The team (security and quality assurance) tests the code to ensure that it is high-quality and to fix any errors.
- The DevOps team (operations) approve and deploy the software.
- The operations team monitors and maintains the app to detect issues early.
Example of How DevOps Work
Large tech companies like Microsoft, Google and Amazon use the DevOps practice to automate processes and improve delivery and efficiency. Let's consider how Microsoft uses DevOps.
- Team Collaboration. The tech company breaks down silos between teams to foster communication, visibility and goal alignment. It will enable the team to build a better product.
- Growth mindset. Microsoft encourages continuous learning because the journey never ends. The team must change how they work, adopt new processes and see failure as an opportunity for improvement.
- Use of Technology. The team relies on the best tools to automate processes and operate infrastructure.
What Are the Benefits of DevOps?
The six benefits of DevOps include rapid problem-solving, agile project development, increased collaboration, automation, reduced cost and added value to customers.
Quick Problem Solving
DevOps makes it easy for teams to iterate, test, implement feedback, and deliver quality faster. It means that businesses can innovate for their clients more quickly, adapt to the ever-changing market and provide more positive business results.
One way it does that is through automating the development, integration, testing, deployment, monitoring, feedback and operations process. Using the right set of tools, the organisation can automate error tracking and allow the team to find and fix bugs before production, speeding up the delivery process.
The quick feedback provided by the DevOps lifecycle makes teams work more agile. Feedback loops in the workflow protect the unit from external challenges that could derail the project. External challenges can range from regulatory control to market volatility or competitor activity.
These challenges can stop or delay a project, prolonging the launch date and creating customer dissatisfaction. DevOps process and culture anticipate challenges early during the planning stage and respond without delay.
DevOps breaks down silos (walls) between different departments. It focuses on collaboration and shared accountability between teams and across departments. The developer, operations, security, quality assurance, and data analyst working on a project are involved from start to finish.
When everyone in an organisation is working toward the same goal of adding value to customers, it is easier for them to make decisions, adjust to changes and work efficiently as a team.
Automation is an essential aspect of DevOps, which makes long processes short. What usually takes hours to complete can now be completed in seconds. Through continuous integration (CI), work is delivered several times a day in small batches via automation.
The more frequent the delivery, the faster and easier it is to identify and fix issues that can delay production. So, with closer collaboration, common goals, and quicker feedback loops, teams have time to experiment and address customers' needs.
DevOps's core principle is to strive for continuous integration and delivery by deploying early and regularly and integrating feedback loops at every lifecycle step. Development operations, in turn, optimise performance, reduce costs by minimising network downtime and increase the speed of delivery.
Continuous integration (CI), continuous delivery (CD) and automated testing make it easy to produce better code because errors are corrected early in the development process.
Deliver Value to Customers
DevOps deliver more value to clients. It is a way for development teams to align technology to core business objectives. Businesses implementing solid DevOps strategies can provide more value to their clients by removing or automating repetitive tasks. The group, in turn, will have more time to innovate, enhance technology quality, and deliver quality products to the customers.
What Is DevOps Culture?
At its core, a DevOps culture fosters closer collaboration between stakeholders (developers and operations) in the software development and delivery process. Adopting a DevOps culture will help organisations to align people, practices and tools toward a shared objective.
Shorter Product Delivery Cycle
DevOps teams must remain agile throughout the application development lifecycle to deliver the product to their customers in a short time frame. When all stakeholders in the software development process collaborate, it shortens the product's release cycle, reduces risk and speeds up the process of implementing feedback.
Increase Visibility and Collaboration
Teams no longer work in isolation when they adopt a DevOps culture. Visibility means that each team must share their priorities, processes and progress so that every member is on the same page. Aside from that, the development and operations team must communicate for rapid delivery and implementation of feedback.
DevOps culture creates accountability among team members. The development team is accountable for quality, innovation, and stability. Also, the operation team is accountable for security and compliance in the software development process.
DevOps culture creates a growth mindset among team members. Even if there is a setback, team members will examine the reason and implement feedback to ensure it doesn't happen in the future. It will make them move toward innovation, integrate feedback quickly, increase customer satisfaction and adapt to market change quickly.
DevOps practices are continuous development, integration, delivery, testing, monitoring and performance.
Developing an application or software starts with planning and writing the code. Continuous development helps determine the project's vision and integrate feedback from different sources like operational monitoring, which they do through regular delivery with the aim of constant improvement.
Before, developers would work separately for a long time and merge their changes once they had completed the work. This work practice makes merging code difficult and time-consuming, resulting in bug accumulation without fixes and making it harder to deliver updates to customers quickly.
Continuous integration (CI) means quickly integrating customer feedback into the application or product. Every revision committed to the system activates an automated build and test, making it easy to deliver updates rapidly to customers.
Continuous delivery (CD) is the ability to quickly release changes to an application in a less risky way without the users noticing. One case where a DevOps team can apply continuous delivery is releasing a new mobile app version.
Small but frequent updates can be made to an application while in operation. When an organisation adopts continuous delivery, it will improve software delivery performance, increase the quality of the products and reduce deployment pain.
In continuous testing, the team tests the code for bugs and errors and fixes them quickly. Testing occurs throughout the software delivery lifecycle instead of waiting till the deployment stage.
Continuous testing aims not only to find bugs in the code but to find them in the early stage of development so that they don't have to be addressed in the production stage. It will ensure that the code is high quality and won't result in errors before it is released.
This DevOps practice automates the release of new or updated code into production. Continuous deployment works with constant integration by completing the automation cycle. Aside from that, continuous deployment helps speed up feedback loops with users through automation.
Code updates are monitored with automated DevOps tools and then deployed into the production environment after passing the testing phase. It goes a long way to save time and increase users' satisfaction.
It requires implementing a feedback loop from the internal team and the end users to get more insight into software performance. The DevOps team will use the report from the feedback to guide product iteration.
Feedback sources include surveys, social media, forums, questionnaires and focus groups. Continuous feedback aims not only to determine the application functionalities but to know the overall customer satisfaction and meet audience needs and expectations.
It involves the continuous monitoring of both the code and the underlying infrastructure that support it. Automated error tracking is crucial here. Constant monitoring ensures that the team has complete insight into the performance and health of the application or product to detect and fix errors quickly.
Automation will provide visibility into software performance, user behaviour and infrastructure. Also, it ensures that the DevOps lifecycle is well maintained to provide a good user experience.
This practice focuses on optimising applications for stability and better performance and ensures that end users never know when an upgrade is happening until they start enjoying the features.
Organisations use this DevOps practice to reduce downtime and prevent annoying service disruption for the end users. Also, it completes the loop of the DevOps lifecycle by sending bug reports and user feedback to the planning phase for better enhancement.
While DevOps involves using tools, it is essential to note that there is no single tool but a set of tools which are helpful throughout an application development lifecycle.
Jerkins is an automation server that developers can use as a CI/CD tool for any application development project. It automates the software development processes such as building, facilitating continuous integration and delivery, deploying and testing.
With this DevOps tool, the team can easily monitor repeated tasks, identify errors and integrate fixes. As a DevOps tool, Jerkins supports over 100 plugins to integrate with tools like Git, Maven or Amazon EC2. A team can configure Jerkins using its web interface with a built-in error check.
Docker is a DevOps tool that helps developers create, package and deploy codes easily and quickly via containers with dependencies rather than virtual machines. It does away with manual configuration activities and encourages team collaboration while maintaining the same development environment throughout the DevOps stages. Docker makes it easy for a team to add features and update fixes.
Gradle is a DevOps tool that you can use to accelerate the software development process. Application developers can use it to automate a build for multi-language application development.
It ships with a rich API and an advanced integration ecosystem and plugin that helps automate processes so that you can build, integrate and systemise the software delivery process. Aside from that, Gradle enables you to scale your development quickly with ultra-fast builds.
Git is a version control software that the DevOps team can use to track file changes and coordinate work among programmers. One benefit of Git is that it provides a competitive edge with features like a convenient staging environment, multiple workflows, commit and branching. Aside from that, Git can handle projects of different scales while maintaining speed and efficiency.
Why DevOps Matters
DevOps helps organisations to build and roll out applications and services faster to an ever-growing consumer market. The use of software like mobile and desktop applications has transformed the world and its business industries. Every area from shopping to entertainment and banking has been touched, making software an integral component of every business.
Businesses now interact with their customers through software or applications. They also use software to boost operational efficiencies by transforming logistics, communication, and operations. Organisations must change how they build and test applications to meet customers' expectations faster if they want to stay in business.
Frequently Asked Questions
Who Uses DevOps?
Large enterprises and start-ups use DevOps to speed up their software development process. Big web-native businesses use DevOps to boost efficiency. Examples of such businesses are:
- Amazon, Netflix and Facebook
- Financial services like Barclays Bank
- Entertainment companies like Sony Pictures
Aside from large organisations, individuals like developers and operations staff can use DevOps to foster collaboration and increase software deployment stability. Project and marketing managers can use DevOps to integrate customers' feedback and fixes, improve system responsiveness and reduce risk.
Is DevOps an Automation Tool?
There is confusion that DevOps and automation are the same. While automation is an indispensable aspect of DevOps, the two are different. DevOps is a mindset, not a tool. It is an approach to culture, practices and automation tools that increase an organisation's ability to deliver software or applications much faster.
DevOps practices merge the development team with operations, ensuring a continuous workflow to shorten the application development cycle. It integrates automation tools to monitor an application's performance, find and fix errors, and eliminate repetitive tasks that could waste time.
Which Tool Is Best for DevOps?
While DevOps is a mindset that promotes cooperation and communication between the developer and operations, it relies on tools to automate the various stages of the life cycle. Examples of some DevOps tools an organisation may use are listed below.
Docker: This DevOps tool enables software developers to package applications into containers.
Git: Git is software the DevOps team can use to keep track of code. It functions as a version control system and is helpful for team members to collaborate on projects and update previous code.
Kubernetes: This tool is helpful for DevOps because it allows you to automate your operations. It offers service discovery, load balancing, automated rollouts and rollbacks, and configuration management.
Jenkins: Jenkins is a DevOps tool that an organisation can use to build CI/CD pipelines. It makes it simple for DevOps developers to build, test, and deploy software.
What Is the Main Purpose of DevOps?
The primary purpose of DevOps is to increase an organisation's ability to deliver software and services at a higher speed. DevOps remove friction and risk and enable faster application production to meet customers' requirements.
Also, it allows the team to monitor the whole software development lifecycle from planning, development, integration, testing, deployment and operations. It makes it easy for the team to respond to any degradation in the customer experience effectively and rapidly implement changes.