DevOps is no longer a buzzword. It’s a combination of best practices, philosophies and tools that enable an organization to speedup software application delivery and you should be using it (if you’re not already). In short, DevOps enables digital transformation of a company. An organization using DevOps strategies will always have an edge over those not using one. In the long run serving their customers better and being able to adapt quickly to their needs serves as their competitive edge and makes your organization more successful than the competitors.
Delivery and Feedback
In a traditional organization, developers are often at odds with the business infrastructure. We hear developers complaining how long it took them to procure a new server or VM just for a proof of concept (POC) that they ended up dropping anyway. How many times do we hear that the operations team blames the development team for slowness of the website and vice versa? Even though this segregation is done to make the team as a whole more productive, in practice, it ends up making them less productive.
In the DevOps world, the same team is responsible for both development as well as operations and there is only one mantra and it’s continuous improvement. At Cazton, we help clients not only with the understanding the benefits of DevOps, but also with the right way of implementing it. We focus on making sure that DevOps is embedded in the DNA of the client team. It’s a major cultural change for traditional software development organizations though the results are phenomenal. Every major improvement comes with a transitionary phase which throws people out of their comfort zone, but in the long run pays off so much more.
As mentioned above, DevOps is a mindset and needs to be introduced in the DNA of every team member. Some of the principles preached by the DevOps community are:
- Responsibility: DevOps culture makes every single member of the team responsible for the delivery process. Conciliation and collaboration over confrontation is the key to success. There is no room for blame game.
- Repeatable and reliable: The process for releasing software has to be repeatable and reliable. This implies that the process needs to be thoroughly tested. Anyone should be able to use it reliably and should provide expected results.
- Automate everything: The eventual goal is to automate everything. Time and again it’s been proven that automation will result is lower costs and efforts. Removal of manual steps in the process is also extremely helpful in speeding up delivery by reduction in bottlenecks.
- In-built quality: One of the major principles of DevOps is to make sure that quality is first priority in the process. Speeding up while introducing technical debt is not a very good strategy; so, rather than having multiple backlogs for feature development, bugs and technical debt we need to have one backlog and improve quality as we go.
- Tackle harder problems first: In traditional software development organizations, the harder problems are tackled manually and then ignored. DevOps preaches tackling the harder problems first and brining the pain forward.
- Done means released: DevOps mindset emphasizes on the fact that nothing short of release can be called done.
- Continuous learning and improvement: You might have heard of continuous testing, continuous integration and continuous deployment or delivery. In short, continuous improvement collectively encompasses all the above and many other practices. The bottom line is to make sure not only that we incorporate all the practices we are aware of, but also make sure we are open to introducing new patterns and practices we learn as we go.
Advantages of DevOps
- Collaboration: One of the best benefits of DevOps is improved collaboration.
- Fail fast: Setting up the right DevOps strategy can take some time. However, once it’s done it increases the team’s velocity. This helps them deliver working applications and modules faster than ever. This makes them get feedback early in the game and eventually make decisions based on that. Failing fast is a highly recommended strategy especially for software products.
- Speed of delivery: Imagine waiting for months before a new feature could be delivered? Compare that to a DevOps enabled microservices model that enables delivering independent services multiple times a day. DevOps, if done right, can help the organization deliver multiple features pretty much on-demand. For more details regarding microservices based development, please read our detailed article
- Continuous integration and delivery: In a DevOps environment, the key is automation. Functional changes can be independently tested and deployed using good practices like continuous integration and delivery. This improves the overall reliability of the system.
- Auto-Scale: Since DevOps enables an organization to manage the development, test, staging and production environment using infrastructure as code in an efficient manner, it’s easy to automatically scale the system. Imagine using Docker as a container and using Kubernetes to orchestrate it while using Terraform to safely and predictably create, change, and improve infrastructure. This will help scale the entire development and operations at scale.
- Security: If DevOps is done right, security becomes an integral component of the entire lifecycle. Many companies make the mistake of having a siloed security team. Despite all their guidelines and practices, they end up having nothing more than a layer to prevent attacks. If containers are used correctly, security could be easily built into the containers and then scaled automatically. Introducing multiple security layers as and when needed can be easily done through DevOps.
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