DevOps, 1 Sure Way to Become a Software-led Company
Today, businesses have a constant need to speed up their applications time-to-market. In the last 5 years, DevOps has enabled faster application delivery while increasing business value and responsiveness along the way. A key part of DevOps is automation to shorten the software development lifecycle. Equally fundamental are collaboration between IT and Business units and native cloud-based technology and infrastructure.
The word “DevOps” is the combination of Development and Operations. It is a philosophy and methodology that relies on a culture of collaboration between development and IT operations, process (automation) and platform (technology) to accomplish:
- Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery Pipeline (CI/CD pipeline)
- Software automation of repeatable tasks
- Optimization of processes through automation
- Reduce errors and increase security through automation
A closer look at each of its pillars explains why DevOps is a fundamental shift in how a business does business, views and manages automation, and rethinks value for its users.
DevOps relies on a culture of collaboration that fosters transparency, breaks down silos and aligns IT and Business. This approach requires that development and operations teams communicate often and approach their work with empathy for each other. Open communication and transparency lend themselves to a company becoming agile and flexible in practice and mindset, necessary for effective DevOps.
Developing modern applications at scale and speed require modern development practices. Agile software development and DevOps are synergistic counterparts. Both philosophies espouse continuous software delivery to attain user satisfaction. Understandably, teams that practice agile are also adopters of DevOps where continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD) are key.
At JDK, we believe that applying Systems Thinking is also an important step to optimize continuous delivery of applications, a key component of DevOps. With Systems Thinking, a continuous feedback loop from end users to business reveals how to improve the development process and the value it provides users. Understanding how, what, and why of processes impacts the performance of DevOps. With modern development practices, you create better software that is most suited for the high-velocity cadence of continuous integration / continuous delivery.
Typically, DevOps teams will build their software using service oriented architecture. By doing this, teams can build smaller pieces of functionality to speed up delivery and allow time to design an agile integration strategy to manage and bring together those services.
DevOps depends on native cloud technology and infrastructure to execute the CI/CD Pipeline. Waterfall or legacy infrastructure make it much harder to build new features and releases at scale and speed. Agile software development, or JDK’s True Systems, is a modern way to build applications.
The right DevOps tools and platform can get you started right away. Selecting tools that support your CI/CD pipeline are crucial for your DevOps to be successful. Highly flexible platforms should be able to support an infrastructure that responds in the same way devs treat code.
For example, using containers and microservices devs can move applications between development, testing, and production more easily. According to Computer Weekly, “Containers are easily packaged, lightweight and designed to run anywhere. A microservice is an application with a single function.” Containers can be used in a microservice, and can be isolated, upgraded, and tested, without impacting the application.
The right platform should be able scalable inside and outside of your containers to create reliable automation that functions when you need it most.
DevOps Automation Plan
While automation is fundamental to DevOps, being strategic and mindful about WHAT and HOW MUCH to automate is a critical first step in an effective DevOps effort. DevOps has revolutionized IT services, making a rapid time to market possible. But it’s not a panacea. Like most things, it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution.
Consider this as you start your DevOps efforts, or expand them:
Need and role of Automation?
Focus your initial efforts mapping out the processes that occur during development. Then create sub processes of those processes to create a thorough map of what your development looks like. This will usually include design, development, QA, provisioning, deployment, configuration management, and so on. Account for all of your applications and data stores as well.
What to Automate?
Once you’ve established what your meta development processes are, assess which processes are broken and need fixing. This is important to avoid automating processes that do not work.
In DevOps, some say automate everything. But a deep dive into your unique processes should inform the decision to automate what makes mosts sense.
Here are some things that can be automated:
- Identity and access management
- App deployment
- Management, distribution, and scheduling of containers
- Infrastructure configuration and management
- Data testing and validation
- Provisioning and application deployment
- Compliance and audit processes
- Build server and deployment process
- Development, testing, and production infrastructure
- App maintenance, upgrades, and transitions
- API testing (unit tests, functional tests, integration tests, end-to-end tests, regression tests, mock tests, etc.)
- End-to-end response
- Integrated file transfers
- Workload automation
- External data integration and analysis
Mapping Your Continuous Pipeline on Human Interactions
According to respected developer, Almudena Rodriguez Pardo, a CI/CD pipeline should include the customers and the distance and connection points to them. In her own words, “Security, testing, development, operations, integration — whatever your continuous pipeline is like, make sure that the complete pipeline of quality code is to make the customer happy in the quickest time possible.”
The tools you select should be able to support 4 primary components of your DevOps efforts: velocity, consistency, scale and feedback. The tools should support your unique complex environment, development process, legacy architecture, be secure, and so on.
DevOps is at the core of transforming to a software-led company. In this day and age, there’s no real excuse why not to automate, or implement DevOps to increase business value, become responsive and agile. If you want to get started on DevOps automation, contact JDK for a consultation.