DevOps is commonly thought of as just another tech role within a software development team. We have seen it all, from “this is a fancy name for a SysAdmin” to “it’s just automation development”. However, DevOps isn’t a simple concept, and it isn’t a single job at all. It’s a methodology that builds on Agile principles, while merging different teams’ efforts to ensure a unified approach to software delivery.
Until recently, software companies were split in two main silos: Development and Operations. Development was focused on creating applications, Operations were focused on supporting these apps and the infrastructure surrounding them. These departments didn’t collaborate at all, and often clashed in their priorities. In simpler words, Development liked to push as many new features to life as possible, and Operations tried to keep the ship from sinking by pushing back. DevOps removes this obstacle by introducing various methodologies and tools that ensure alignment between code production and service delivery.
Continuous integration removes the rule that changes are merged only before a release. CI makes developers merge their work as often as possible, after taking them through validation and testing. This has to be done at least once daily, to ensure that changes won’t break the system once they’re committed into its main branch. Continuous integration puts an emphasis on automation testing and high test coverage, with some companies even implementing a Test-Driven Development approach to their operations.
- Continuous delivery ensures that your code is always in a deployable state. It introduces a cyclic approach to software development, where engineers build and test periodically, along with automating their release process. Thus code can be deployed anytime you decide, with the push of a button.
- Continuous deployment is often confused with continuous delivery because of the matching acronym - CD. In reality, continuous deployment is the “next generation” continuous delivery – it ensures your code is always in a deployable state, while also automating the next step. Every build that passes testing and validation is automatically deployed to production – no need for human intervention.
When your product is used by thousands of people every day, bugs and issues can cost your organization lots of money, if found too late. The DevOps model takes the best from its older brother – Agile, to allow for easier planning, scaling, and support. It’s hard to judge which setup is best for your team, but DevOps has definitely proved to bring a lot of improvements in team collaboration and product development workflows. Here are some of the pros:
Decreased time-to-market and decreased release failure
DevOps helps you find bugs at an early stage, as it relies on fast and regular iterations, paired with regular testing. Thus your engineering flow becomes quicker and more efficient, without compromising on quality – you can deliver new features and fix bugs for clients in a pinch.
No support and maintenance surprises
Involving Ops in the product development process has its perks. Ops can point out expected support and maintenance problems while you’re still building the product, so you can engineer your way around them.
Scalability and security – not a concern anymore
Frequent delivery, supported by adequate testing ensures faster and easier scaling without quality issues. When planning new features, Operations can valuable provide on future demands and concerns, including security and Development can implement solutions early into the engineering cycle.
Business continuity all the way
CI and CD allow for easy and quick system rollback to a previous state. This gives developers time to investigate and fix any unexpected issues, while clients can still use the application without experiencing downtime.
DevOps is a methodology and even a way of thinking that should be embraced and endorsed by your whole organization. It requires a lot of hard work, team collaboration, and of course – the right toolkit to support all cited processes. We compiled a white paper that goes into more detail about the tools you should use to facilitate your transition to DevOps. Click here to download the paper: