What is the importance of DevOps, what does it mean for IT professionals, a description of methods, frameworks and tools.

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Much has happened since the term DevOps became entrenched in the IT world. Given that most of the ecosystem is open source, it’s important to review why it started and what it means for a career in IT.

What is DevOps


Although there is no single definition, I believe that DevOps is a technological structure that provides interaction between development teams and operational teams for faster code deployment in production environments with the possibility of repetition of actions and automation. We will spend the rest of the article on unpacking this statement.

The word "DevOps" is a combination of the words "development" (development) and "operations" (operations). DevOps helps increase the speed of delivery of applications and services. This allows organizations to effectively serve their customers and become more competitive in the market. Simply put, DevOps is the coherence between development and IT operations with more effective collaboration and collaboration.

DevOps envisions a culture in which collaboration between development teams, operators, and business teams is considered a critical aspect. It’s not just about the tools, because DevOps in the organization constantly benefits customers. Tools are one of its pillars, along with people and processes. DevOps enhances organizations' ability to deliver high-quality solutions in the shortest possible time. DevOps also automates all processes, from assembly to deployment, application or product.

The DevOps discussion focuses on the relationship between developers, people who write software for life, and the operators responsible for supporting this software.

Challenges for the development team


Developers, as a rule, enthusiastically and willingly introduce new approaches and technologies to solve problems of organizations. However, they also face certain problems:

  • The competitive market creates a lot of pressure for the timely delivery of the product.
  • They need to take care of managing production-ready code and introducing new features.
  • The release cycle can be long, so the development team has to make a few assumptions before deploying the applications. In such a scenario, more time is needed to solve the problems that arise during deployment in a production or test environment.

Challenges encountered by the operations team


Operations teams have historically focused on the stability and reliability of IT services. That is why operational teams seek stability through changes to resources, technologies, or approaches. Their tasks include:

  • Managing resource allocation as demand grows.
  • Handling design changes or settings necessary for use in a production environment.
  • Diagnose and resolve production-related issues after self-deploying applications.

How DevOps solves development and operations issues


Instead of rolling out a large number of application functions at the same time, companies are trying to figure out if they can deploy a small number of functions for their customers through a series of release iterations. This approach has several advantages, such as better software quality, faster customer feedback, etc. This in turn provides a high degree of customer satisfaction. To achieve these goals, companies are required to:

  • Reduce bounce rate for new releases
  • Increase deployment frequency
  • Achieve a faster average recovery time in the event of a new application release.
  • Reduce time to fix

DevOps fulfills all these tasks and helps ensure uninterrupted delivery. Organizations use DevOps to achieve levels of performance that were unthinkable a few years ago. They perform tens, hundreds and even thousands of deployments per day, while ensuring world-class reliability, stability and security. (Learn more about batch sizes and their impact on software delivery).

DevOps tries to solve various problems arising from the application of the methodologies of the past, including:

  • Isolation of the work of development teams and operators
  • Testing and deployment as separate phases, performed after design and assembly and requiring more time than assembly cycles.
  • Excessive time spent testing, deploying, and designing instead of focusing on creating core business services
  • Manual code deployment resulting in production errors
  • Differences in the work schedules of development and operations teams, resulting in additional delays

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The confrontation between DevOps, Agile and traditional IT


DevOps is often discussed in connection with other IT practices, in particular a flexible and waterfall IT infrastructure.

Agile is a set of principles, values, and methods for producing software. So, for example, if you have an idea that you want to convert into software, you can use the principles and values ​​of Agile. But this software can only work in a development or testing environment. You need a simple and safe way to quickly and with high repeatability transfer software to the production environment, and the path lies through the DevOps tools and methods. A flexible software development methodology focuses on development processes, while DevOps is responsible for development and deployment — the safest and most reliable way.

Comparing a traditional waterfall model with DevOps is a good way to understand the benefits that DevOps provides. The following example assumes that the application will be launched in four weeks, the development is 85% complete, the application will be launched, and the process of purchasing servers for sending the code has just been started.

Traditional processes Processes in DevOps
After placing an order for new servers, the development team works on testing. The Focus Group is working on the extensive documentation required by enterprises to deploy infrastructure. After placing an order for new servers, teams of developers and operators work together on processes and workflow to install new servers. This allows you to better understand your infrastructure requirements.
Information about disaster recovery, redundancy, location of data centers and storage requirements is distorted, as there is no input from a development team that has deep knowledge in the field of application. Detailed information on failover, redundancy, disaster recovery, location of data centers and storage requirements is known and correct thanks to the contribution of the development team.
The task force has no idea about the progress of the development team. She also develops a monitoring plan based on her own ideas.
The task force is fully aware of the progress made by the development team. She also works with a development team, and they jointly develop a monitoring plan that meets IT and business needs. They also use Application Performance Monitoring (APM) tools.
The load test performed before the application starts causes the application to crash, which delays its launch. A load test before running an application results in poor performance.The development team quickly eliminates bottlenecks and the application starts on time.


DevOps Life Cycle


DevOps implies acceptance of certain generally accepted practices.

Continuous planning


Continuous planning is based on the principles of frugality, in order to start small, identifying the resources and results needed to test the value of a business or vision, constantly adapt, measure progress, examine customer needs, change direction as necessary, taking into account maneuverability, and also to update business plan.

Collaborative development


The collaborative development process enables businesses, development teams, and testers distributed across different time zones to continuously deliver quality software. This includes multi-platform development, programming support in different languages, creating user stories, developing ideas and managing life cycle. Collaborative development includes a continuous integration process and practice, which contributes to frequent code integration and automatic assembly. With frequent implementation of the code in the application, integration problems are identified in the early stages of the life cycle (when they are easier to fix), and the overall integration efforts are reduced due to continuous feedback, as the project shows continuous and clear progress.

Continuous testing


Continuous testing reduces the cost of testing, helping development teams balance between speed and quality. It also eliminates test bottlenecks through service virtualization and simplifies the creation of virtualized test environments that can be easily shared, deployed, and updated as systems change. These features reduce the initialization and maintenance costs of test environments, as well as shorten the test cycle time, allowing integration testing to be performed in the early stages of the life cycle.

Continuous release and deployment


These techniques bring one of the main practices: continuous release and deployment. This provides a continuous conveyor that automates key processes. It reduces the number of manual operations, the waiting time for resources and the amount of rework, allowing you to deploy at the click of a button, which provides more releases, fewer errors and complete transparency.

Automation plays a key role in ensuring a stable and reliable software release. One of the most important tasks is to adopt manual processes, such as assembly, regression, deployment and creation of infrastructure, and automate them. This requires source code version control; test and deployment scenarios; Infrastructure and application configuration data as well as the libraries and packages on which the application depends. Another important factor is the ability to query the status of all environments.

Continuous monitoring


Continuous monitoring enables the generation of enterprise-level reports that help development teams understand the availability and performance of applications in a production environment before they are deployed to production. The early feedback provided by continuous monitoring is critical to reducing the cost of errors and managing projects in the right direction. This practice often includes observational tools that typically reveal metrics related to application performance.

Continuous feedback and optimization


Continuous feedback and optimization provide a visual representation of the flow of customers and accurate identification of problem areas. Feedback can be included at both pre-sale and post-production stages to maximize value and ensure the successful completion of even more transactions. All this provides immediate visualization of the root cause of customer problems that affect their behavior and impact on the business.

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Benefits of DevOps


DevOps can help create an environment where developers and operators work as a team to achieve common goals. An important milestone in this process is the introduction of continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD). These techniques will enable teams to bring software to market faster with fewer bugs.

Important benefits of DevOps are:

  • Predictability: DevOps offers a significantly lower bounce rate for new releases.
  • Support: DevOps provides easy recovery in case of failures in the new release or application shutdown.
  • Reproducibility: An assembly or code version control system allows you to restore earlier versions as needed.
  • Higher quality: Solving infrastructure issues improves application development.
  • Time to market: Optimized software delivery reduces time to market by 50%.
  • Risk reduction: Ensuring security in the software life cycle reduces the number of defects throughout the life cycle.
  • Cost-effectiveness: The desire for cost-effectiveness in software development is liked by senior management.
  • Sustainability: The software system is more stable, secure, and changes can be checked.
  • A larger code base is divided into manageable parts: DevOps is based on flexible development methods that allow you to break a large code base into smaller and more manageable parts.

DevOps Principles


The adoption of DevOps spawned several principles that have evolved (and continue to evolve). Most solution providers have developed their own modifications of various techniques. All of these principles are based on a holistic approach to DevOps, and organizations of any size can use them.

Design and test in a production-like environment


The bottom line is to allow development and QA teams to develop and test systems that behave like production systems so that they can see how the application behaves and works long before it is ready for deployment.

The application must be connected to production systems as early as possible during the life cycle to solve three major potential problems. Firstly, it allows you to test the application in an environment close to the real environment. Secondly, it allows you to test and verify the application delivery processes in advance. Third, it allows the operating team to check at an early stage in the life cycle how their environment will behave when applications are deployed, thereby allowing them to create a finely tuned, application-oriented environment.

Deployment with reproducible, reliable processes


This principle allows teams of developers and operators to support flexible software development processes throughout the life cycle. Automation is critical to creating iterative, reliable, and reproducible processes. Therefore, the organization must create a delivery pipeline that provides continuous automated deployment and testing. Frequent deployment also allows teams to test deployment processes, thereby reducing the risk of deployment failures during real releases.

Monitoring and quality assurance


Organizations are good at monitoring production applications because they have tools that capture real-time key performance indicators and key performance indicators (KPIs). This principle carries monitoring to the early stages of the life cycle, ensuring that automated testing tracks the functional and non-functional attributes of the application in the early stages of the process. Whenever an application is tested and deployed, quality indicators need to be studied and analyzed.Monitoring tools provide early warning of operational and quality problems that may arise during production. These indicators should be compiled in a format that is accessible and understandable to all interested parties.

Improving feedback loops


One of the goals of DevOps processes is to enable organizations to respond faster and make changes. When delivering software, this goal requires the organization to receive feedback at an early stage, and then quickly learn from every action taken. This principle requires organizations to create communication channels that allow interested parties to access and interact on a feedback basis. Development can be done by adjusting your project plans or priorities. Production can work by improving the work environment.

Dev


  • Planning: Kanboard, Wekan, and other alternatives to Trello; GitLab, Tuleap, Redmine and other JIRA alternatives; Mattermost, Roit.im, IRC and other Slack alternatives.
  • Code Writing: Git, Gerrit, Bugzilla; Jenkins and other open source tools for CI/CD
  • Build: Apache Maven, Gradle, Apache Ant, Packer
  • Tests: JUnit, Cucumber, Selenium, Apache JMeter


Ops


  • Release, deployment, operations: Kubernetes, Nomad, Jenkins, Zuul, Spinnaker, Ansible, Apache ZooKeeper, etcd, Netflix Archaius, Terraform
  • Monitoring: Grafana, Prometheus, Nagios, InfluxDB, Fluentd, and others covered in this guide

(* The tools for operations were numbered in the order of application by the operating teams, but their toolkit is overlapped by the stages of the life cycle with release and deployment tools. For ease of reading, the numbering has been removed.)

In conclusion


DevOps is an increasingly popular methodology whose goal is to bring developers and operators together. It is unique, different from traditional IT operations and complements Agile (but not as flexible).

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