While DevOps can be defined in many ways, it is ultimately about the tools, practices, and people who work together in teams to deliver software safely, reliably, and quickly. By breaking down the silos between ‘development’ and ‘operations’, organizations can innovate faster, reduce time-to-market, and improve overall product quality. Compared to the traditional software development methods, this enables the evolution and improvement of products more rapidly.
DevOps is also a cultural shift, focusing on team empowerment, communication, collaboration and automation of technology. The success of these approaches depends on frequent communication between the two teams as well as the incorporation of ideas from all the stakeholders of an application – engineering, security, compliance and customers among others – into the development lifecycle.
DevOps is poised to be an industry standard now, with the global DevOps market likely to increase at an impressive CAGR of 23 percent between 2023 and 2030.
DevOps and cloud-native development work together
Cloud-native development and DevOps complement each other in many ways. While DevOps aligns people, processes and technologies, cloud technologies boost speed and efficiency and help bring innovation to market quickly.
For example, the cloud technology containerization allows the development of independent units of code that boosts collaboration between testers and developers. Microservices are independent components that can be used to build applications. Microservices increase agility and create a common set of terms and processes between the development and operations teams. Containerized applications are operated at scale on the container orchestration platform Kubernetes that allows automating and scheduling of deployment and scaling.
The DevOps lifecycle
Also referred to as the continuous delivery pipeline, the DevOps lifecycle includes a series of workflows executed within a larger development lifecycle to ensure the delivery of high-quality software at a rapid pace. The workflows typically include the six steps listed here.
- Planning: With a goal to maximize the business value of the product, teams draw from feedback and case studies to plan the features and functionality of the next release.
- Development: This is the programming step. Developers code and test desired features. Common practices at this stage include peer code reviews and pair programming.
- Integration: As the name suggests, new code is integrated into the existing code base. It is then tested and packaged as per usual practices.
- Deployment: In this step, the runtime build output is deployed to a runtime environment. Errors and defects are detected and corrected.
- Operations: This involves running the code in a production environment while monitoring all the features. Any interruptions in service are investigated and fixed.
- Learning: Feedback from end users and customers on features, performance, functionality and business value is gathered and taken back to planning for consideration in the next release.
In addition to the six, there are three other important workflows that are continuously at work.
- Continuous testing: DevOps has advanced to a level that allows certain elements of testing to be undertaken during each workflow. Testing at every stage is critical to mitigate risks.
- Security: Issues of security are observed and managed throughout the DevOps lifecycle.
- Compliance: Regulatory compliance needs to be factored early and continuously in the development lifecycle for success of a product.
Managed DevOps pipeline solutions
Leading cloud computing providers such as AWS, Google, IBM Cloud and Microsoft Azure offer managed DevOps pipeline solutions. For example, AWS provides a set of fully managed services that enables companies to build and deliver products using DevOps practices and AWS.
These services make it easier to manage infrastructure, deploy application code, automate software releases and monitor application and infrastructure performance. Manual tasks and processes such as development and test workflows, deployment and container management can all be automated. Companies can still use their preferred third-party or open source tools. Cloud computing providers are also secure and offer customers granular control over who and how anyone can access their resources.
The Bottomline on DevOps
DevOps is a cultural shift during which software developers and IT operations teams work together to ensure that software is built and delivered with speed while maintaining quality. DevOps completely removes any confusion around ownership of the software product being built, and promotes the collaborative efforts of the team. To be able to think about the work being done by other team members as an extension of an individual’s efforts is an achievement by itself. Organisations that are nurturing such an environment are already on their DevOps journey.