Adopting a DevOps culture in business enterprises has generated a lot of discussion in the IT business environment. Many IT professionals will attest that a complete DevOps adoption is easier said than done, but given the need to create a collaborative atmosphere in software development and a yearning call to churn up quality software with lesser vulnerabilities, there is no better time for IT business enterprises to adopt DevOps principles than now.
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This beginner’s guide to DevOps will initiate you into the DevOps culture, uncovering the major DevOps practices, models and tools that will make a DevOps transformation easier to attain.
- What is DevOps?
- Guiding principles of DevOps
- The DevOps model lifecycle
- How to adopt a DevOps model
- Best DevOps tools
What is DevOps?
DevOps is a software development model that brings development and operations to the same table to facilitate efficient and secure software production and delivery. DevOps facilitates a collaboration between the development and operations teams to brainstorm and deliberate on how to develop and deliver software products with maximum efficiency.
The DevOps model ensures that the best teams, technologies and processes needed to accelerate, automate and create the best software work together throughout the software development lifecycle. Where there is a clear implementation of the DevOps ethos, separate IT teams such as development, quality assurance, IT operations and security come under the same umbrella to develop and deliver more reliable software that meets compliance and customer requirements. With the DevOps culture, everyone in the software development loop is expected to contribute to increasing the chances of releasing products that can achieve business goals.
The main goal of DevOps is to do away with bottlenecks and silos that result from moving software development processes from one team to another. Organizational silos cause a break in the flow of the software development process, giving room for different teams to apportion blame when things turn bad. All of these affect quality delivery, but DevOps encourages a collaborative culture where everyone on the software development team is expected to be a part of the project from the conceptualization stage to the software release.
Guiding principles of DevOps
For software development to make the most out of DevOps, there are principles that guide DevOps practices. They include:
Team collaboration and communication
Collaboration and communication among different IT teams underscore the goal of DevOps. Development teams, security, operations, and software quality engineers or testers must work as a unit for a perfect DevOps culture to be in place in any enterprise.
Automation of the software development
What makes DevOps a fast software production and delivery strategy is the inclusion of automation. IT automation helps to reduce repetitive processes and human intervention in software development.
Continuous integration and delivery
CI/CD is at the heartbeat of DevOps. Continuous integration ensures that DevOps teams continuously merge code changes into code repositories to improve software performance, while continuous delivery facilitates the process of automating the software release process up to production.
Meeting user experience, compliance and business demands
DevOps also balances business, compliance and user experience goals. That is why DevOps teams comprise quality assurance engineers and software testers who help to ensure that only the software products that meet these goals are released.
The DevOps model lifecycle
For DevOps practices to fit into your enterprise, it’s crucial to understand the DevOps model lifecycle. DevOps model lifecycle comprises different phases or stages of continuous software development that guide the entire DevOps team in maintaining an efficient loop in the software development cycle. There are seven main components of the DevOps model lifecycle.
This is the first phase of the life cycle, where all the teams come together to draw a roadmap on how they can meet the goal of the project. At this point, everything boils down to planning and designing what should be included or excluded.
At this stage, everyone in the team should be aware of what to contribute to make the project a success. Here, the developers are expected to start contributing their codes to the repository. Depending on the time frame allocated for the projects, code commits to the repository could either come in weekly or daily. As each block of code is merged to the repository, it’s also expected at this stage that the code undergoes some form of code review and unit and integration testing.
At this phase, the team tests the software for bugs and other forms of code defects. Here, automated testing tools such as JUnit and Selenium can be deployed to make continuous testing faster.
Continuous monitoring helps DevOps teams to ensure that critical software bugs that may hamper the overall performance of the software are resolved. During the monitoring phase, the software is scrutinized and information about possible performance defects is gathered. At this stage, issues such as latency, memory usage and server response issues are monitored, recorded and reported for possible improvement.
DevOps makes room for continuous improvement in the software. The continuous feedback stage serves as a progress report where feedback from the software is collected and analyzed to improve performance.
The developers are expected to start deploying their codes to the production servers at this stage. Configuration management tools such as Puppet, Chef or Ansible can be used to manage deployment.
This is the last phase of the DevOps model lifecycle. This stage involves the automation of software release and rolling out necessary updates to the software. Although this is the last phase in the cycle, it does not suggest the end of the software development. Instead, it only keeps the cycle going in a continuum.
How to adopt a DevOps model
It’s one thing to point out the components of the DevOps model and another to adopt it in practical terms. Below is how organizations can adopt a successful DevOps model to their business.
Start by embracing a DevOps mindset
It’s not simply enough to announce to your teams that you will be adopting DevOps without taking the time to expose every member of the team to the meaning of DevOps. Embracing a DevOps mindset involves explaining to everyone why it’s necessary to bring development and operation under the same department.
Once everyone agrees to adopt DevOps, then you already have a mindset that can make for effective DevOps practices.
Set out the metrics for measuring performance standards
Identifying all the necessary metrics for measuring progress when adopting DevOps is crucial. Mapping out these metrics from the outset will ensure that everyone understands the parameters being improved and how to measure them.
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Some of the metrics for measuring progress in DevOps include:
- Production failure rate: This measures how often the software fails during production.
- Mean time to recover: This measures how long it takes a software in production to recover from failure.
- Deployment speed: This measures how fast the team can deploy a new version of an application to a particular production environment.
- Deployment frequency: This metric helps to determine how often you should deploy new releases to the production environments.
- Mean time to production: This measures how long it takes for a new code commit to be deployed to production.
- Average lead time: The average lead time is the time it takes for a new requirement to be integrated, tested and deployed into production.
Understand your business needs
Every business differs from each other in terms of goals and how the goals will be met. Your DevOps team should understand these goals and why they should be pursued vigorously using the DevOps framework.
Adopt changes iteratively
When transitioning to a DevOps software development model, it’s ideal you take on projects bit by bit. Do not make the mistake of muddling a lot of things up because you have assembled a team that can take on multiple projects.
Emphasize the importance of quality assurance
One of the primary goals of DevOps is to meet quality assurance. A lot of emphasis should be placed on delivering software products that meet the users’ demands early on.
Best DevOps tools
DevOps cannot be successful without using the best DevOps tools to facilitate and automate some processes. The best DevOps tools you should consider when adopting a DevOps model to software development include GitLab, Ansible, Jenkins, Kubernetes, Puppet, Selenium, Chef and Docker. For more information, read Best DevOps Tools & Solutions 2022: Compare DevOps Software.