People in an organization may know about the DevOps department but might be confused about what it truly is and its role. Explaining DevOps, even in plain English, is tricky. Through this blog, we will cover every possible query on DevOps.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is a combination of two words, ‘development’ (Dev) and ‘operations’ (Ops), that unite people, processes, and technology for swift application planning, development, delivery, and (last but not least) operations.
To explain further, DevOps lets siloed roles such as development, quality engineering, and IT operations coordinate and collaborate safely.
Organizations adopt DevOps culture, principles, practices, and tools to grow productivity and quality in the applications they develop and achieve extraordinary business goals quickly (which might seem impossible with traditional development processes). DevOps assists teams in providing value to consumers in the same manner as a customer by producing reliable and better products for years.
The History of DevOps
Before the conception of DevOps, most software was developed and updated using the classic waterfall methodology- considered a linear approach to large-scale development projects. Software development teams would spend months completing one single project, as developing a wide and new code base involved extensive changes.
Afterward, the quality assurance (QA), security, and operations team would initiate their process, adding several more months to the final project delivery. The situation was so critical that it took months and, in many cases, years between software releases- the final delivery needed to be delivered without any bugs.
In short, the development process needed a smart, advanced, and better solution.
To fasten the development process, development teams adopted agile software development methodologies. The agile method, more iterative than linear, came in handy as it focused on making smaller and more frequent updates to the application code base.
The prevailing principles of such methodologies are continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD). In CI/CD, new code is continuously merged into the code base every one or two weeks (or whenever code is ready), and then it is automatically tested for the final outcome.
As the agile development practices integrated more often, they exposed still-siloed IT operations giving an edge to acceptance, testing, management, and monitoring- as the next step in the software delivery lifecycle.
Slowly but steadily, DevOps outgrew agile and added new tools that extended CI/CD automation steps to the rest of the existing software development lifecycle. And it gave a powerful push to a close collaboration between development and operations.
So, When Did DevOps Became a 'Thing'?
In the wide acceptance of DevOps, one name, Patrick Debois, comes up more than once. And other significant characters such as John Allspaw (senior vice-president of technical operations), Paul Hammond (director of engineering), Gene Kim, and John Willis.
In 2007, Patrick Debois started working on a large-scale data center to which he was assigned as in charge of testing. As for the information available, it has been mentioned that he experienced numerous challenges and frustrations during the development process as it took extended time and repetition.
He suddenly realized the lack of unity between two crucial steps in the development process (this went on for a while).
Then later, in June of 2009, John Allspaw and Paul Hammond gave a lecture titled "10+ Deploys a Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation at Flickr", which inspired Patrick Debois to strengthen his ideology.
In October 2009, Patrick Debois called developers and industry experts to figure out what could be done. The event grabbed everyone's attention who was interested in inventing a better and more advanced solution.
The event sparked small businesses' interest in trying the DevOps methodology. People were getting an clarity on what is DevOps and it wasn't long before its potential was recognized.
Then finally, in March 2011, Cameron Haight of Gartner expressed his thoughts on the trajectory of DevOps in the coming few years. And businesses/enterprises did not hesitate to give DevOps a fair trial.
How does DevOps Work?
To totally tap into DevOps, one must understand what is DevOps and how does it work. To be blunt, know that DevOps is not just about "tools"; in DevOps, how people process work also matters greatly. How people implement the process decides whether DevOps would be utilized entirely to its capacity or not.
DevOps puts an end to the traditional silo structure between the engineering team developing an application (or services) and (any) department managing that service while running in production. Processes and Work are aligned to the entire DevOps Lifecycle (of the products or services)- for final delivery and operation.
Typically, the number of workflows can be divided into six parts;
In this stage, prime attention is shined upon new features and functionality that'll also prioritize in the next release. Teams investigate end-user feedback, available case studies, and stakeholders' input. The aim stands still to maximize the value of a product.
After ideation comes the 'programming' step. In this stage, developers put on their caps to test, code, and build new and efficient features. Different practices are pondered and worked upon, such as test-driven development (TDD), peer codes, and pair programming (and others).
Now comes the challenging yet exciting part. In this workflow, new code gets integrated into the existing code. After complete integration, the code is tested and packaged into an executable state for deployment.
Tests are executed at this stage to test for quality and security. If any errors are found, developers solve issues before end-users see them.
Once features are integrated into operations, monitoring of features and behavior is initiated. Operations ensure that features are running correctly and cause no obstacles in service. A significant work process of operations is to determine if there are any interruptions or alerts and if there are any- then it's fixed as soon as possible.
Feedback from end users and consumers on different aspects, such as features, functions, and performance, is gathered and analyzed at this stage. This can also include backlog items, criticism, or pain points from the operations activities. All this positive feedback empowers developers to be extra attentive and avoid any mistakes.
DevOps Core Principles
There are a few core principles of DevOps. They are divided in the manner below. For DevOps engineers knowing these principles is a must.
Extensive Thought Process
To analyze the performance of an entire system instead of focusing on specific teams' outcomes. This kind of thought process or systems thinking ensures that every team and employee feels the same way and is responsible for delivering good quality products. We tell you this is a genius way of processing workflow as it also discourages teams from passing any defective or not working downstream.
Implementing Culture: What is DevOps Culture?
In the DevOps work process, immense significance is attached to a positive work environment utilizing best practices. A thriving DevOps culture is tightly tied to improved team collaboration, experimentation, and continuous learning. This way, teams get excited and interested in their work and are rewarded for taking risks to improve the system/product, enabling team members to learn within their team.
Emphasizing automating as much as possible is a super-specialty of DevOps. In DevOps, it is believed that automating can reduce total time spent on project development and repetitive tasks, eventually increasing deployment speed. The DevOps team delivers constant feedback to eliminate any chance of interruptions at the final stage of delivery.
DevOps Best Practices
Continuous Integration (CI)
It means getting frequent feedback from stakeholders and fixing the issue into a product instantly and continually. This practice creates a culture in which continuous integration happens with full support.
Continuous Delivery (CD)
With continuous delivery, changes to a product, such as your code, are integrated automatically so that the product always stays in a deployable state. This practice certainly increases the product delivery state, as code is often deployed in short time frames.
The Four Phases of DevOps
DevOps has evolved over the past few years, and so have its complexities. These complexities are a result of below mentioned two factors:
- Organizations are shifting from monolithic architecture to microservices architecture.
- An increase in the number of project-tool integrations.
The evolution resulted in the birth of the following four DevOps phases;
Phase 1: Work with Own DevOps
Each team was allowed to select tools of their choice, which backfired as not everyone on the team knew how to use selected tools.
Phase 2: Best-in-class DevOps
Organizations devoted a standardized set of the same tools, with one tool for every stage of DevOps development. The real issue with this phase was moving software from one stage to another.
Phase 3: Do-it-yourself DevOps
As a remedy to the second phase, a new phase was brought forward- the Do-it-yourself (DIY) DevOps. In this phase, developers extensively performed customized work to integrate their DevOps point solutions. But as these solutions were developed differently, they could not conquer the real issue. And for many small organizations maintaining DIY DevOps resulted in massive costs, which did not fit well.
Phase 4: DevOps Platform
In this phase, now popular tools have taken over, such as GitLab. GitLab provides an upgrade and helps teams realize a project’s true limit. Every team is empowered with effective tools- from software teams to business ones.
Several DevOps tools are utilized for automation in different stages. We have mentioned a few below;
- Git: In DevOps, Git is used to keep a clean track record of code, which is useful for the team members to collaborate on projects and update the existing ones.
- Docker: The docker is used to turn an application into one single package of software.
- Jenkins: To build CI/CD pipelines- Jenkins is used where developers can build, quality test, and deliver the software.
- Kubernetes: Kubernetes is put to work in DevOps quite frequently and is referred to as a container organizer.
Explaining the DevOps Tools: DevOps Toolchain
Project Management Tools
Many organizations, such as Scrum, Lean, and Kanban, go for agile management for a project. Some of the popular open-source options are GitHub Issues and Jira. These tools are meant to assist team members in creating a backlog of every user's requirement that would eventually form coding projects, divide them into smaller tasks and track the tasks throughout the completion.
Collaborative Code Repositories
The version-controlled code environment lets more than one developer work on the same code. Code repositories are integrated with CI/CD to make integrating new code into old ones easier and faster.
Tools that automate development, testing, and deployment are utilized to maximum potential. Jenkins is a popular and adored open-source tool. ArgoCD is a well-known open-source tool you can try out for CI/CD.
Test Automation Tools
Testing is crucial for any project development. Libraries, software tools, contracts, stable performance, long-duration usability, penetration, and security tests are some of the needed automation tools. The best tools use artificial intelligence and multiple useful languages to reconfigure tests automatically. Some popular tools in this category are Katalon, Appium, and Robot framework.
Tools for Monitoring
Monitoring tools identify resurfacing tools and resolve them as quickly as possible. Some of the known tools for secure and efficient tools are- Datadog, Nagios, Prometheus, and Splunk.
Benefits of DevOps
DevOps have the following benefits;
- Swift deliverables because of continuous integration and delivery,
- It improves collaboration between teams,
- Much fewer silos and increased communication between IT groups,
- Quick improvement based on significant user feedback,
- Lesser downtime,
- Crucial improvement in software delivery pipeline via validations and deployment,
- Automation decreases manual work to a large capacity,
- Code ownership streamlines the development process, and
- Practices such as CI/CD ensure code delivery is safe.
Challenges Faced by DevOps
- Fragile and unsafe automation practices
- Expensive tools,
- Organizations massive changes- job roles and adds new skills, and
- Increased risk of deployment.
What is a DevOps engineer?
A DevOps engineer is someone who shares the maximum amount of responsibility. They are responsible for all steps during a software development lifecycle, including communicating salient information to the target audience. They are supposed to follow DevOps methodologies and be familiar with all of them to integrate significant development processes into workflows.
DevOps engineers are meant to assist other teams, introduce automation wherever possible (and needed), carry out quality tests, and analyze code. They are the ones who build, weigh up, deploy and update vital tools. The authority to manage product releases and help figure out consistent technical issues for software users also falls on the DevOps engineer's shoulders.
Skills DevOps Engineers Must Have
- Knowledge of different programming languages
- Strong communication skills
- They should be good leaders
- Should be able to manage big teams
What is DevSecOps?
DevSecOps is more of an infinite approach. It is a form of DevOps that continuously integrates and automates specific measures throughout the DevOps lifecycle- from start to finish. DevOps was intended to work as DevSecOps. But due to early rough challenges, DevOps adoption was integrated into cross-functional teams. DevSecOps was then treated as a specific (solo) effort to automate security.
How Does DevOps Support the Cloud-native Approach?
Shifting software development to a Cloud-native approach has significant advantages for companies/organizations. Cloud saves money and essential time, pushes quicker software shipping, aligns a company with its goals, and allows DevOps teams to work on innovative ideas rather than maintain infrastructure. This is why more and more businesses are migrating to the platform.
The icing on the cake, cloud-native application development promotes positive and friendly collaboration between developers and operations teams.
How to Get Started with DevOps?
The most uncomplicated way to practice DevOps is to identify a smaller (and less significant) app or a service. This way, you can go through the entire DevOps lifecycle, experience what DevOps is all about, and not damage any existing project.
But you would be required to give a 100%; practicing on the non-existential project does not necessarily mean not trying your best. Plus, it would be far easier to work with a bunch of people rather than with a legit organization.
Cerebrum Infotech provides reliable and secure end-to-end DevOps processes with every excellent tool implemented on your app or service. The cerebrum ecosystem nurtures your project with the best DevOps techniques and tools.
What does DevOps do?
DevOps is about the unification and automation of processes. DevOps engineers are professional in smoothly combining old and new code, application management, and maintenance. All these tasks come under the DevOps lifecycle.
What is DevOps in simple terms?
DevOps is more than a process. It’s a culture- a new and improved way of thinking and delivering projects/products. In simple terms, DevOps is the combination of Development and Operations. This process was discovered and invented to build better products and streamline communication between those who work on the product and those responsible for its error-free functioning.
What are the differences between agile and DevOps?
DevOps is a new and modern culture of collaboration between teams involved in the development and management of software. And agile is a development methodology designed to maintain productivity; in short, it is a philosophy of developing and delivering software.
Does DevOps require Python?
Python is one of the significant technologies utilized by the DevOps team. Python is flexible and easily accessible that enables teams to develop web apps and data visualizations, and, last but not least, grows workflow productivity with custom utilities.