The purpose of DevOps is to create a strategy for better collaboration

NEXT100 Winner 2017 Muneesh Kumar, Vice President, XcelServ Solutions discusses the concept of DevOps in detail along with its benefits

How DevOps is transforming organizations - IT Next

DevOps is a response to the interdependence of software development and IT operations that aims to help an organization to rapidly produce software products and services

DevOps, normally mistaken to be either a tool or a profile in an organization, is neither. It is a set of principles and practices that helps in continuous integration and development. DevOps is an application development method that stresses communication, collaboration and integration between the developers and Information Technology (IT) professionals. So, DevOps is a response to the interdependence of software development and IT operations that aims to help organizations to rapidly produce software products and services. 

Given all its definitions and delusions, it is indeed more than interesting to note that if practiced correctly, the DevOps process has a few key practices that can help organizations to innovate faster through automating and streamlining the development and infrastructure management processes.

Now all the innovations in the process or the product are only possible if the methodologies are followed precisely, some of which are detailed below:

One of the major and important practices is to perform very frequent updates. This help organizations to innovate faster for end customers. These small releases are usually more incremental, make development less risky, and help the teams identify and address bugs quickly.

Another way of making your application more robust and flexible is to use microservices. The combination of micro services and increased release frequency leads to significantly more deployments which can present operational challenges. DevOps practices such as continuous integration and continuous delivery solve these issues and let organizations deliver rapidly in a safe and reliable manner.

Infrastructure automation practices such as, infrastructure as code and configuration management, help to keep computing resources elastic and responsive to frequent changes. In addition, the use of monitoring and logging helps engineers track the performance of applications and infrastructure, so they can quickly react to problems.

Continuous Integration (CI) is nothing but software development practices that require the teams to merge their code into a central repository regularly, after each check-in automated build and test are run. But the goals of continuous integration are to find the defect quicker and improve the software quality, thus building more efficiency in the process.

Continuous Delivery (CD) is a software engineering approach where the code is automatically built, test and released to the environment for testing or in production. This is a very important step in the development cycle as this entire hole cycle ensures the reliability of the software at any point.

DevOps Culture is about removing the barriers between two traditionally siloed teams’ development and operations and stresses on small, multidisciplinary teams, who work autonomously and yet take collective accountability for how actual users experience their software. For a DevOps team, there’s no place like production. Everything they do is to improve customer experiences.

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) helps to manage the development, production and testing in an efficient and repeatable manner through the management of virtual machines, networks, load balancers and connection topology in a descriptive model. The big advantage that IaC achieves this is by using the same versioning as the DevOps teams for source code.

Infrastructure as Code has evolved, over a period, to solve the problem of environment drift in the release pipeline. Teams with integration of IaC in the process can deliver stable environments rapidly and at scale and can avoid manual configuration of environments with enforcement of consistency by representing the desired state of their environments.

 Microservices, especially the microservices architecture is a design approach to build a single application as a set of small services. The concept is to develop services like mini applications where each service runs in its own process and communicates with other services through a well-defined interface using a lightweight mechanism which is typically a HTTP-based application programming interface (API). This builds a huge capability in the system to develop, detect, manage a large product in small phases and yet maintain the impact on the system. Microservices are designed & built around business capabilities with each service scoped for one and only one purpose and deployed independently, either as a single service, or as a group of services.

Monitoring, as it implies, provides feedback from production and is obviously the most important aspect of the DevOps process. One of the bigger goals of monitoring is to achieve higher availability by minimizing time to detect and mitigate along with building the capability of “validated learning” by tracking usage. Organizations can get to understand the most critical aspects of how the updates have impacted users and also shed more light on the root cause or all issues created through capturing, categorizing, analyzing data and logs generated by applications and infrastructure. As active monitoring becomes increasingly important - services must be available 24/7 and as application and infrastructure update frequency increases, creating and analyzing alerts and performing real-time analysis of this data will help organizations to act proactively. This segment delivers information about an application’s performance and usage patterns.

 The DevOps toolchain is a combination of tools that enables DevOps lifecycle design, development and management of applications. These tools automate the manual tasks and help teams to manage the complex environments. Most of DevOps aspects won’t be possible without tools such as, Jenkins, Ansible, Docker or Puppet. Still, tools such as, Team foundation Server and Teamcity only facilitate the process and allow to achieve the goal.

Some of the benefits of DevOps are as follows:

  • Frequently and fast software delivery in the marketplace     
  • Minimizing the chance of outages; if anything goes wrong, the team can handle quickly
  • Better collaborations between Business, Dev and Ops teams
  • Stable environments
  • Less complexity to manage
  • Time to focus and quality improvement

The purpose of DevOps is not to create silos but to create a strategy for better collaboration between various cross-functional teams. The implementation of DevOps in early stages creates a foundation for scalable growth. So, DevOps is not a team but a concept; however, if you still want to label a team as DevOps, think again!

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