Getting Started with DevOps

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getting-started-with-devops

DevOps is a framework that enables organizations to simplify operations between software and IT teams, so that they can build, test, and deploy a better software experience for their end users.

By incorporating DevOps into your organization, teams that previously worked independently begin to collaborate more closely, which leads to faster problem solving and increased productivity. At its core, DevOps is streamlined to deliver software faster, with less errors along the way. In order to increase integration and establish DevOps procedures successfully, organizations must recognize that shifting to DevOps involves adopting a new culture that can allow you to deliver better value to your customers. This article will examine existing problems in the software development life cycle, overview DevOps principles, and break down how DevOps can bring value to your business.

DevOps Background

As a result of our economy becoming increasingly service oriented, businesses have to make sure the services they provide are working optimally to guarantee a seamless end user experience. Organizations previously worked in divided groups with Development and Operations teams working independently from one another, as software and updates slid through the development lifecycle. Instead of having these groups separated, a DevOps practice calls for engineering and operations teams to participate in the full software lifecycle, from design to development and production support. Developers begin to use tactics previously reserved for operations specialists, and operations teams use techniques previously reserved for developers’ work on large scale systems.

Originally, development was strongly dependent on the time it took to complete one iteration of your software development cycle. This cycle is commonly broken down into your organizations’ existing processes. Once one cycle completes and ends with a build-up of customer response, another cycle of development begins. A longer cycle of development leads to greater lag and more roadblocks along the way that prevent organizations from updating, evolving, and repairing their product offerings at a satisfactory rate. DevOps breaks down a large, laborious development cycle into smaller cycles that can be automated and deployed more frequently. As deployments increase, your organization can determine customer response more quickly which can lead to a quicker start of a new development cycle. DevOps allows for more flexibility, as opportunities open to experiment and learn more rapidly.

DevOps Tools

DevOps is primarily a shift in philosophy, but there are also tools and technologies that allow for DevOps automation and collaboration to flourish within your organization.

Planning

DevOps adapts Agile methodologies to break up the life cycles discussed earlier into more manageable chunks. By planning out the steps that will help progress in a development lifecycle, a team can start gaining user feedback more quickly, which will lead to better planning for the future. Look through tools and techniques that allow you to discuss ideas in an interdisciplinary fashion where members from separate teams can all pitch ideas and comment on each other’s visions.

Example Tools:

Build

As you begin to build out your ideas from the planning stage, consider some of the roadblocks that normally slow down or halt production. Often hassles arise due to contrasting development environments and individual tinkering that never comes together into one cohesive deliverable. Consider setting up identically-provisioned environments to eliminate discrepancies between different development teams. Just as developers can learn from IT, IT can consider using Infrastructure-as-Code to design modular applications stored in version control to keep up with constantly changing systems. The whole process of building can be overseen by all with effective peer review brought about by the adoption of version control.

Example Tools:

Continuous integration

As products and services are built by teams and shared amongst an organization, they should be pushed into a shared repository several times a day to allow for rapid testing in the continuous integration process. As a result, bugs are seen earlier in the process and patches can be created rapidly. The process of looking for these bugs doesn’t require the entire energy of your organization, as automated testing can allow you to trust in effective testing repeated for each version of your final service. Generated reports can be examined by development and operations teams to figure out ways to improve upon the product from the knowledge gained from deployment results. As changes are incorporated more rapidly, use chat tools to give you real time alerts about the project’s status.

Example Tools:

Deploy

Once your product is ready to be deployed, you don’t need to be bogged down by status meetings. Instead, consider automating the deployment process from low level environments to a replicated highest level of production. The process of shipping your product out does not require unique scripts for each environment. By using clean code and common engineering practices, operations teams can deploy the product smoothly.

Example Tools:

Operate

Server monitoring and application performance monitoring requires software that focuses on how your product is working in the marketplace with your customers. There are multiple applications available that handle automated monitoring to listen and collect valuable information about how your application is performing with your end users. These applications can also alert you via your team’s chat client.

Incidents and problems should be reported in one seamless platform to keep development and operations teams on the same page about roadblocks in the fixing of the overall application.

Example Tools:

Continuous feedback

Look for new avenues to receive continuous feedback, even as you move on to another revised life cycle for your product or service. Keep listening and receiving information with social media outreach through management platforms, survey distribution, bug reports, and NPS data to incorporate feedback into your next planning and development stage.

Example Tools:

Making the Shift to DevOps

This entire process of adopting a DevOps culture requires significant changes with how your organizations’ teams collaborate with one another. It can be done, as many organizations have been adopting these methodologies, but it does require commitment and support from company and/or team leaders. To minimize the potential for roadblocks, it is wise to also consider leveraging a consulting services partner, who can offer their expertise by helping you transition to a DevOps approach.

For example, by working with a cloud consulting partner like Sysgain, organizations will get technical and business guidance in starting their DevOps practice so they can spend more focus on delivering better services for their customers.

To get started with a complimentary info session on DevOps, visit our website and contact Sysgain here.

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