devops

DevOps: definition

When we combine cultural philosophy with a set of practices and tools, we talk about DevOps. Here, the objective is to be able to automate communication, collaboration, as well as the technology used within a team.

Historically, when working with a traditional development model, the teams involved could not carry out their tasks in a coordinated manner. And it was in 2007 that the DevOps movement was born. However, operational IT teams and development teams have highlighted their dismay in collaborating with programmers. At this point, the term DevOps has only one meaning: ensuring that development teams and operations teams can work together in a fully automated process.

How DevOps works

First of all, it is worth remembering that a DevOps team is made up of developers and IT operations specialists. This aims to accelerate the deployment of applications. But also to improve its quality. Today, DevOps is a cultural trend that aims to better organize IT and development teams.

In a DevOps model, we are talking about a single team in which IT engineers and developers will merge. At this stage, everyone has a specific role: develop the applications, carry out various tests, deploy the developed products, and carry out any operations relating to the improvement of the product.

Within a DevOps team, we use various tools to automate and therefore accelerate the application development process. Using these tools will also improve product reliability. In summary, this tool chain is essential to establish a principle aimed at ensuring integration processes, continuous delivery, automation, as well as collaboration between the IT department and the development department.

Furthermore, DevOps can also be applied to security teams. We are talking here about DevSecOps which will aim to integrate security teams into the development process.

The different phases of a DevOps life cycle

DevOps is continuous in nature. However, the different phases of the DevOps lifecycle are linked to each other like an infinite loop. This loop also represents the need for constant collaboration and communication between teams throughout the DevOps lifecycle which includes 6 main phases: plan, build, continuous integration and delivery, monitoring and alerts, act and continuous feedback.

  • To plan : adoption of Agile practices with the aim of improving speed and quality, therefore adoption of an interactive approach to project management and software development;
  • Build : Has better support for merges, branches and rewriting repository history thanks to Git (free and open source version control system). This allowed DevOps teams to create innovative and essential tools throughout the development process;
  • Continuous Integration and Delivery: thanks to CI/CD, product delivery is predictable. Workflows are also automated and in this case, you can continually integrate tests, change codes, make a source code deposit, etc. ;
  • Monitoring and alerts : in each project, there are always tickets which impact the activity time of employees, as well as the speed and functionalities of the products to be developed. The monitoring and alerts phase will allow teams to stay informed of possible changes, possible breakdowns and high-risk actions. And this is how they can act accordingly and ensure continuity of services;
  • To act : this concerns the management of the delivery of IT services to customers. This end-to-end action will, however, include the different operations introduced in the 5 practices that support the services necessary for an organization. We are talking here about design, implementation, configuration, deployment and maintenance;
  • Continuous feedback : Each version must be evaluated by the DevOps teams to be able to generate reports with a view to improving future deliveries. Subsequently, with continuous feedback, each DevOps team could have the opportunity to improve their process. And this by trying to integrate or put into practice customer feedback with the aim of improving future versions of the applications.

Each phase of the DevOps lifecycle corresponds to a specific tool

When we talk about DevOps tools, we see that each of them corresponds to each phase of the DevOps life cycle. The use of these tools aims to facilitate DevOps practices, including automation, collaboration, monitoring and observability.

Here are some examples of tools used in the DevOps lifecycle:

  • JiraSoftware for the planning phase;
  • Bitbucket and JiraSoftware for the Build phase;
  • Bitbucket and JiraSoftware for continuous delivery and integration;
  • Opsgenie for the monitoring and alerts phase;
  • Opsgenie, JiraService Management and Statuspage for the act phase;
  • JiraService Management for the last phase which is none other than the act phase.

However, we would like to remind you that DevOps tools can follow two approaches: open for customization and all-in-one to benefit from a complete solution that does not integrate with any third-party tool.

The positive impacts of DevOps on the organization of a team

According to our survey, we found that more than 98% of respondents confirmed that DevOps has brought them huge benefits for their organization. Positive impact on every factor such as delivery speed, developer collaboration, product deployment, quality, reliability and security.

Higher delivery speed

Thanks to DevOps, delivery happens more frequently. A small comparison to illustrate the fact: the delivery speed of a DevOps team is 106 times faster than an ordinary team. Regarding frequency, it deploys a periodicity 208 times higher than that of a poorly performing team.

A clear improvement in collaboration

The first objective with the adoption of DevOps is to be able to establish a culture of collaboration between operational teams and developers. And precisely, with this approach we discover a real sharing of responsibility and a real combination of work. A collaboration that will lead to better team efficiency, as well as task transfers.

A competitive advantage in deployment

With an increase in the speed of deliveries, we also see an improvement in the velocity of product deployment. So logically, new features and bug fixes have the impact of giving a real competitive advantage for DevOps teams.

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More reliable and better quality products

Integration practices, as well as continuous delivery, provide a guarantee of the safety and operational status of the changes made. As a result, the products experience an improvement in terms of quality and reliability. And with monitoring, teams can easily track software performance in real time.

The security benefits

When it comes to the phase of integrating security into the continuous integration, delivery and deployment chain, DevSecOps becomes an active part of the entire development process. Active audits are carried out, and security tests are carried out. Which makes security an inclusive element of the product.

What challenges must be faced for the adoption of DevOps?

Habits and routines are often the first difficulties to overcome within a team. And with the adoption of DevOps, those who adopt siled approaches may struggle in the structural change phase.

There is also the fact that some teams imagine that the use of new automation tools is enough in the adoption of DevOps. However, contrary to popular belief, the term DevOps itself designates the combination or association of human resources with a new culture, tools and practices.

There should therefore be an understanding of values ​​throughout the development process. It goes from ideation to the final use of a product. And to achieve this, close collaboration between all the teams involved is essential. In other words, DevOps is not a single person’s job. It is rather a collective work in which everyone gets involved: developers, IT engineers, operational teams, etc.

So, in order to accelerate the migration process to IaC (Infrastructure-as-Code), we will need to establish a solid foundation in terms of automation, continuous delivery practices and configuration management. If a DevOps team can overcome the difficulties caused by increased workload, it can easily accelerate the development of a product.

To do this, we must avoid any dependence on tools and focus more on the structure of the team itself, as well as its organization. In other words, you must ensure that the team structure is established. Then the rest will simply follow.

How to adopt DevOps?

Adopting DevOps means above all being able to evaluate and replace, or even eliminate, the teams, tools, as well as the practices and processes currently adopted in an organization. In other words, the adoption of DevOps leads to the development of this infrastructure. This is to empower the teams concerned and then improve their sense of creation, deployment, and management of their product. Please note, they must act independently of external teams.

Adopt the DevOps culture

As mentioned above, adopting DevOps means above all turning to a new culture. This is to facilitate collaboration between teams, but also to be able to work with new methods. In the meantime, all teams must collaborate and communicate continuously.

The main objective of DevOps culture is to align workers with a standardized customer orientation. The same goes for the processes and tools to use.

Continuity of learning

Within organizations in which we adopt DevOps, we see constant experimentation and continual risk-taking. These are two rather recommended factors for being able to adopt DevOps. It is therefore a practice which really consists of breaking out of habits and confronting challenges and difficulties on a daily basis. And this with a view to establishing a climate of learning and improvement for each member of the DevOps team.

Agile methods

When we talk about software development, developers often use specific approaches: Agile methodologies. These will allow employees to organize themselves better, to be more flexible, but also to adapt and respond to changes. In other words, DevOps and Agile are the two essential processes for optimizing reliability and team efficiency.

What are DevOps practices?

From continuous integration to monitoring, through delivery and automation, DevOps is made up of several practices. Here they are !

Continuous integration

The most plausible explanation for integration is that it is none other than the set of practices whose goal is to ensure that code change is automated in the development process of a product. Its usefulness lies in the possibility of merging code changes frequently. This is often done in a central repository where builds and testing are done.

For DevOps teams, continuous integration is an efficient and quick way to make corrections in the event of bugs. They must also, thanks to continuous integration, be able to optimize the quality of their product while reducing the validation and delivery time of new updates.

Delivery continues

This is a practice that comes together with continuous integration. But here, the deployments of code changes are done automatically and in a test/production context. DevOps teams will work following a continuous delivery chain. A pipeline in which builds, tests, and deployments will be harmonized in a single delivery workflow.

Monitoring the situation

In order to work more efficiently and quickly, DevOps teams must have access to the data necessary to carry out their tasks. In the event of a failure in the deployment chain, they must also be informed of the situation. This is in order to receive the required updates, and therefore to make improvements to the integrity and performance of the products.

As for the sources of feedback essential for clarifying the work of teams, we can, among other things, turn to logs, metrics, monitoring, traces or even alerts.

Automation

More important than other DevOps practices, the goal of automation is to allow teams to move forward as quickly as possible, whether in the development or deployment of software. Also thanks to automation, teams can easily push code changes to a central repository. This will automatically initiate a build, test and deployment process. Thus, the duration of these steps is reduced.

IaC or Infrastructure-as-Code

Speed ​​in setting up and managing all infrastructure is key to successful DevOps adoption. This is valid for organizations with a data center as well as those in the cloud.

IaC goes beyond infrastructure configuration. It allows it to be treated like real code. To do this, IaC uses version control, testing and code reviews.

Microservices and monitoring

Microservices constitute the set of architectural techniques and it is in this practice that the design of an application takes place. It is also thanks to architectural techniques that applications, considered as smaller services, will be deployed and operated independently.

Monitoring, for its part, is an approach aimed at supervising the entire development process. However, it involves the 5 phases constituting a development chain: planning, development, integration and testing, deployment, as well as operations. Monitoring also gives teams the ability to react quickly in the event of alerts or a decline in customer experience.