Being in the middle of the digital transformation wave, we are speculating how businesses are changing their ways and strategies of working. Despite having the knowledge of all the technological advancements, some of us are not able to harness their full potential. It is not easy to embark this journey of transformation without proper and organized collaboration between your teams, departments and infrastructure. However, there is one way to achieve the desired coordination and avoid the blame game that often happens during the software production between the Development and Operations teams – DevOps.
What is DevOps?
Does it ring any bells?
DevOps is a combination of initials of two words or more precisely two processes, namely: Development and Operations. It is a philosophy or a set of practices combining Software Development and IT Operations.
Let’s break the bubble, in a company you have mainly two departments – one is the Development department, and the other is the Operations department. These two departments work perfectly fine in their domains. However, when the question of them working together arises, some problems show up! DevOps practices are employed to overcome these problems.
DevOps aids businesses in succeeding by changing their ways of working and their philosophies. It believes in removing departmental silos in the companies. The Development and Operations departments collaborate at the primary level. However, Quality Assurance and Security departments or teams also integrate with the basic DevOps structure.
DevOps vs. Agile
Many people confuse DevOps and Agile, and many consider both of these to be the same. Although they have some similarities but their outcomes and consequences are quite different from each other.
Agile is a methodology involving the delivery of software in small and prompt releases. It does not emphasize automation. It connects the development team with the customers to make them aware of the work progress and updates.
On the other hand, if we consider DevOps, it is more concerned within the internal team’s communication and ensuring their collaboration – particularly between the development and the operations team. Its main focus lies on automation and usage of different tools for a feedback mechanism.
Some of you must have come across the Infinity Loop of DevOps, haven’t you? It actually integrates the two departments having a DevOps Engineer or an Integration center at the intersection point. The DevOps cycle goes like this:
Developer Department carries out the following
After the Developer Department, it goes to the Operations department, which is responsible for the following:
However, the process does not end here. It is continuously subjected to more testing and up-gradation, and the feedback loop continues.
Combining Development and IT operations in order to shorten the development cycle – DevOps ensures continuous delivery and feedback. These practices uplift any miscoordinations between departments or members.
Following are the main stages in DevOps:
- Continuous Development or Configuration Management
- Continuous Integration (CI)
- Continuous Testing Strategy
- Continuous Monitoring
- Building and Deployment
- Continuous Delivery (CD)
After development, the software is tested. There is a probability that some issues or bugs may arise in the software. The testing team find the problems and the developers make sure to fix them. Specific Configuration Management tools assist in Version Control. It means that the code gets back to the most stable and organized previous version of the software. It also keeps track of all the changes against particular developers.
Continuous Integration (CI):
When several changes are combined at once, the system may undergo congestion and might not be able to process the codes correctly. Continuous Integration is the stage that monitors each and every smallest and trivial change and makes sure that it is fixed immediately before moving to the next point. Certain tools such as Jenkins, Buddy, GitLabCI, and more are available for efficient CI.
Continuous Testing Strategy:
For each build, specific strategies are built which involve a series of comprehensive tests – all of them are done automatically. However, in the end, they provide a report according to which the issues are fixed. These tests are continuously updating as the project requirement grows. Some of the commonly used testing tools are Junit and Selenium.
The testers wait for a stable build and give feedback and issue report to the developers. This process of constant monitoring ensures that there is no delay in procuring the bug-free software. A User Acceptance Testing (UAT) is carried out, and feedback is given at every step. In case of any failure, it is corrected and fixed immediately.
Building, Deployment and Automation:
Build Automation leads to prompt and quick delivery of software, ensuring collaboration between all the teams. Some popular tools for Building are Ant, Maven, and Make.
On the other hand, deployment automation comes to use after the code has passed the unit testing stage. It includes deployment to the production site and restarting of the servers. The helpful deployment Automation tools are Jenkins, Microsoft Visual Studio, AWS CodeDeploy, Puppet and many more.
DevOps Practices and their Advantages
DevOps practices are although very small, but they often bring in tremendous consequences. They assist organizations in innovating and devising ways that promote faster automation and development. Here is an overview of standard DevOps practices:
Continuous Integration (CI)
CI is a development practice which allows the developers to merge their efforts in a central repository several times in a day. In the past, it would be hard to combine or integrate the changes by the developer’s side once their work was done. This resulted in bugs and wastage of time before the software was delivered to the customers.
Benefits of Continuous Integration:
- Faster Delivery of Updates
- Improves Productivity of a Developer
- Finds and Eliminates Bugs Quickly
Continuous Delivery (CD)
In Continuous Delivery or CD, the developers produce the software in small fragments but in a prepared and organized way that can be released anytime. It builds, tests, and releases the software at a faster pace. The analyses include UI testing, load testing, API reliability testing and others. The CD approach is vital as it helps to reduce cost, time and risk of any detrimental changes.
Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment are essentially the same processes. The only difference lies in the fact that in continuous delivery, the teams are supposed to organize and release the small software cycles manually. However, in Continuous Deployments, all the process is automated.
Benefits of Continuous Delivery
- Automate Software Releases
- Delivers Faster Updates
- Improves Developer Productivity
- Quickly Finds and Addresses the bugs
DevOps mainly focuses on helping teams to innovate for their customers by automating the manual tasks and managing complex problems.
The project – being built and integrated into different parts is prone to defects in Codes. These defects can be found in the early developmental stages and fixed promptly. It reduces the risks and reworks because the problems are fixed as and when they arise.
Reduces Dependency on Hardware
The software is being developed on a Continuous Integration basis; it is always present in the central repository, thereby reducing the dependency on the hardware. It makes DevOps a better practice.
Human Error Reduction
No matter how carefully the developers work, there is always a probability of encountering human errors. Automating specific tasks eliminates human error to a greater possible extent. Thus, it ensures a better and improved working experience.
Continual Creation and Upgradation of Software
DevOps has made creating a usable build much more comfortable than it ever was. The teams work continuously to build an up-to-date software system that is available to be released anytime.
Better Project Approach and Visibility
Since none of the developmental processes happens in confidentiality, therefore, the stakeholders or the employers have a crystal-clear picture of existing project details. Everything is purely transparent and just before the very eyes of everyone.
Build a Failure Detection System
Developers use frameworks such as JUnit or NUnit from the xUnit family to test the system for any possible failures. Due to Continuous Integration, different tests are automatically run on the Codebase whenever a change occurs in the software.
Enforce Coding Standards
Coding standards are essential for a developer working on a project. CI ensures proper adherence to coding standards by running different tests on it.
DevOps does the reviewing whenever it is required. Hence, the software is almost always ready. Therefore, a release can be furnished with minimum effort at any time.
At Two Runs – our software house and digital marketing agency – we maintain them properly organized DevOps practices. We are very much eager to help businesses and different companies in this regard so that they might get the amazing benefits that the DevOps practices offer.