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You may have seen dozens of DevOps engineer job offers on online job boards. Maybe you even thought about hiring a DevOps engineer. Or, you already have such a person, but you want to dive deeper into their workflows and understand what can be improved. Who are DevOps engineers? Why are DevOps processes necessary? How do they affect development efficiency? We discuss these and other issues in the article.
DevOps (Development Operations) is a set of practices for improving the efficiency of software development and operation processes. This is due to their continuous and active interaction of professionals with the help of automation tools. A DevOps approach helps eliminate organizational and temporal barriers between development teams and other participants in the software life cycle (testers, administrators, technical support). This allows them to build, test, and release reliable software products fast.
DevOps enables people from previously disparate departments (development, IT operations, quality assurance, security) to coordinate and collaborate. As a result, they create better products. By implementing a proper culture along with appropriate methodologies and tools, the DevOps teams can better respond to customer needs, build trust in the apps, and achieve business goals faster. DevOps practices can benefit your development processes in many ways.
System stability and reliability
You can control product updates and infrastructure changes to quickly and reliably develop software solutions and maintain end-user loyalty. DevOps engineers test the functionality and security of each change. They also monitor and log them to ensure optimal levels of performance.
Adapting to a competitive environment
The quality of your products goes to the next level. Your software has fewer issues, and you can update and fix it faster. This allows you to provide clients with reliable products and, thus, rank well among other companies.
Fast launch on the market
You can significantly increase the speed and frequency of releases. The faster you release new features and make product changes, the better you can respond to customer needs and create competitive advantages. In addition, the DevOps culture can help you automate the software release process.
Managing development and infrastructure support processes can help you keep them smooth at any scale. Automation and consistency of system support can help you manage complex or changing systems efficiently while reducing risks.
Reduced recovery time
Even if your software crashes, DevOps practices can help you protect your system and fix issues faster. This is especially important in today’s environment, when users react quickly to any changes, and even small problems can cause a huge wave of negative reactions.
DevOps is more than just improving processes and automating them. There are key purposes of DevOps that help DevOps engineers move together in the same direction and work towards a shared goal.
The DevOps culture is all about collaboration within a company. The culture in the organization determines how all processes will function as a whole. This helps engineers look at their tasks from the same point of view and allows them to understand each other better.
Many tasks can’t be completed without the participation of a specialist. However, fast, agile, and reliable automated processes eliminate redundant manual work. Automating them can be challenging, but the results are worth it.
Thrift is an important aspect. It involves identifying and eliminating waste of time and other resources in the development and operation of the software. This minimizes errors and improves software development.
In DevOps, it’s necessary to measure everything. The stability of the products and the ability to quickly respond to changes depend on this. DevOps engineers constantly monitor the most important metrics, and the rest of the data is monitored when needed.
Sharing knowledge promotes open communication in the company. An example of this principle is the use of Kanban and other visualization technologies. They help each participant of the development understand what stage each task is at.
How to build a DevOps model?
The DevOps model implies a variety of actors and elements. Let’s take a look at who and what you need to build a clear and effective model.
DevOps engineers usually understand all the processes of the software product cycle and project architecture. They can assess security risks and are familiar with automation approaches and tools. In addition, they understand pre- and post-release product support. Such multitasked DevOps engineers can’t be found in IT, development, R&D, or even PMO: they must have an impact in all these areas. However, in many cases, DevOps engineers choose certain specializations and deal with narrow tasks:
- TechOps: system administrators who solve technical problems (HelpDesk Engineers);
- LiveOps: system administrators responsible for production environments;
- CloudOps: system administrators specializing in cloud computing;
- PlatOps/SysOps: infrastructure system administrators;
- NetOps: network administrators;
- SecOps: system administrators specializing in information security.
The basic DevOps techniques help you rapidly automate and optimize software development processes:
- Continuous integration. This is the principle of frequently building and testing software to catch bugs at an early stage of development. This method can significantly reduce the time to release new updates.
- Continuous delivery. This is the automation of the entire software release process. With the automation of continuous delivery, the only manual task is to initiate the process. By getting rid of monotonous manual labor, The developers get rid of routine manual tasks and work more efficiently.
- Infrastructure as code. This is the practice of allocating and managing infrastructure with software development methods. This technique eliminates the boundaries between creating a system and an environment for it. It makes it much easier for developers to work with the environment.
- Configuration management. As part of this practice, engineers maintain the integrity of the system throughout the entire software lifecycle. Using the code in configuration management allows you to access the current version of the configuration item at any time.
- Monitoring and logging. Monitoring allows you to analyze how updates affect users, as well as find the source of problems or unplanned changes.
In short, the process can be described in the DevOps process flow diagram:
The DevOps workflow consists of several phases:
- Planning the next development iteration. It’s necessary to track what tasks are being performed now, where you can fall behind the deadlines, and what you need to work on in the future.
- Generating code. This stage includes development, analysis of the result, version control, and continuous integration of various builds.
- Testing. At this stage, it’s important to minimize the time and effort spent on testing, while not sacrificing the quality of the code or UX.
- Implementing updates. Updates must be timely and quick, so it’s important to provide the right conditions for their development and release.
- Monitoring software quality. When working on the software, it’s necessary to ensure that it’s stable and conducive to customer satisfaction.
- Collecting feedback. DevOps engineers ensure that the work on the product and the user’s interaction with it are comfortable and efficient. This helps correct shortcomings in time and eases the process of adding missing elements.
What are DevOps tools?
DevOps engineers have a toolset that helps set up processes and perform work tasks efficiently. Here are some of the basic elements in the DevOps stack:
- Git: a distributed source code management tool to track development progress. It allows you to save and return to versions of your source code. Besides, there are features such as branching, staging areas, and different workflow options.
- Lucidchart: a visual workspace that allows you to create efficient and easy-to-understand diagrams of processes, teams, and data. The tool can be used to model the flow of DevOps processes, train team members, and document as well as track development progress.
- Kubernetes: allows you to take containerization to the next level by grouping things into logical blocks, deploying in clusters, and automating distribution and scheduling.
- Raygun: this performance monitoring platform allows you to track errors and get crash reports. You can use it to diagnose problems and track errors down to a specific line of code.
DevOps can make the development of any software product faster and more streamlined. Engineers will help you stand out among competitors and win loyal customers. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to learn more about our DevOps services and start your efficient development process.