DevOps more than just a buzzword now. Its is now an indispensable asset for business success. But, what exactly is DevOps? Is it the wide range of tools, underlying philosophy, processes involved or is it a mindset? This Guide to DevOps is an attempt to demystify the world of DevOps.
DevOps has turned into more than just development and operations working together. It relies on the practical implementation of the 12 guiding principles as mentioned in the Agile manifesto. These principles describe a ‘Culture’ where change is accepted, multidisciplinary is encouraged, and your customer is the focus.
DevOps is responsible for bridging the gap between Business and IT, so your core focus remains, Continuous Delivery of Value. The demand for DevOps tools increased substantially in recent times but here, entire game is about choosing wisely from the gamut of options available and bring the best out of DevOps Strategy.
The following discussion provides insights on DevOps market trends and forecasts, challenges which Development and Operations team faces. It will also speak about some useful DevOps tools that can help in mitigating challenges, fostering collaboration and making development easier in organizations.
DevOps is not just an option but an imperative for organizations today. It ensures business continuity and help organizations deliver disruptive solutions. It also reduces the workload for the IT operations so that they can focus on more value-generating initiatives and innovations. Many reports on recent forecasts suggest the following insights:
- Hyper-Automation opportunities: Automation is expected to gain emphasis in the DevOps market. The key target for software teams will be applying orchestrated pipelines across the SDLC.
- Regions to rise: Owing to the increasing demand for efficient computer frameworks, rise in demand for connected digital services, and increased spending on connected devices, the market in the Asia Pacific region is expected to grow at the fastest rate in the forecast period.
- Microservice Architecture: DevOps and microservices together can result into many benefits such as modularity, faster time to market, improved productivity to name a few. Microservices architecture assists companies to make deployments and add new features quickly.
- Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning: AI & ML are expected to foster the growth as these are perfect fits for DevOps culture which enables innovation.
- Small and medium-sized enterprises: SMEs may witness a faster growth rate during the period 2020-2027. This growth rate is backed by the subsequent increase in the number of SMEs globally focusing on fast application delivery enabling faster value generation.
According to Gartner, “DevOps will be one of the prominent aspects for fostering AI engineering adoption along with ModelOps and DataOps”.
Gartner also states, “Almost 40% of the total enterprise workloads would rest in cloud infrastructure and platforms by 2023”.
Industry insights also says that DevOps Market size exceeded USD 4 billion in 2019 and is poised to grow at over 20% CAGR between 2020 and 2026. (*The base year considered for this study is 2019 and the forecast period is 2020–2026.)
The demand for DevOps solutions and services among enterprises is expected to gain huge traction, due to the increasing need for high quality application delivery at the pace the business demands. This is further accelerated by the COVID-19 Pandemic.
With all the hustle around DevOps, it boils down to Right Automation, Fostering Culture Change, and Continuous Learning. All this while when we have been talking about people, processes, collaboration, automation, and how can we forget what pandemic has shown to us? The ability to sync, organize, and automate strongly echo ‘survival of the fittest’. And DevOps preaches all the above.
Moving forward, let’s check out some prevalent DevOps tools that can grab the attention of enterprise leaders in 2021.
Wise choices to be made
DevOps tools offer myriad benefits, such as driving agility, quality engineering, and innovation, while greatly minimizing interruptions in production. The DevOps loop starts from Planning and Requirements Gathering stage to Continuous Monitoring and Feedback. The rising complexities of teams’ structure and evolving nature of application calls for using different tools with different capabilities at every stage. These tools range from Planning, Build Management to Configuration Management tools, Quality, Infrastructure and many more. We have curated a list of the popular DevOps tools to try out in 2021.
- Version control: GitHub, Bitbucket, GitLab, Gerrit
- Container Management: Docker, Kubernetes, Mesos, Nomad
- Application Performance Monitoring: Prometheus, Dynatrace, AppDynamics, AWS CloudWatch
- Deployment & Server Monitoring: Splunk, Datadog, Nagios, Pingdom, Solarwinds, Sensu, Elastic Stack
- Configuration Management: Chef, Puppet, Ansible, Saltstack
- CI / Deployment Automation: Bamboo, Jenkins, IBM UrbanCode Build & Deploy, CloudBees CI CD
- Test Automation: FAST, test.ai, Tricentis Tosca, Ranorex, Selenium
- Artifact Management: Sonatype NEXUS, NPM, and JFrog Artifactory, Yarn, CloudRepo
- Codeless Test Automation: AccelQ, Appvance, Testim.io, TestCraft
Rather than just depending on the most popular tools available in the market, guiding principle of DevOps is a shift in the cultural mindset of an organization. Most important of all, DevOps should focus on fostering a collaborative environment by breaking all silos. Having said that, DevOps tools have prominent significance in improving the productivity through out your value stream.
Don’t go by books. There is a huge range of publications and frameworks out there to read so that anyone, anywhere–apparently–can just start doing it. The demerit could be that if you follow them too closely, processes can become too rigid, where you can end up losing the agility you’re striving for. The organizations need to look at what works best for their situation – otherwise, the danger is that common practice masks common sense.
You will notice that DevOps tools would continue to dominate the priorities of organizations in 2021 and beyond. In short, DevOps would become more of a necessity than a luxury for organizations irrespective of their size.
Now, organizations would perceive the value brought by DevOps tools alongside reflecting on the benefits. The selection of best of the breed DevOps tools can help ensure that all the components of your value stream are operating in a fluid motion. Go ahead and make your choice wisely before capitalizing on the benefits of DevOps!
However, to make the wise choice, you must be aware about the phases of the DevOps lifecycle, the challenges teams face without it and how the issues are resolved.
DevOps Life Cycle
The DevOps life cycle consists of several phases. We’ve listed and explained them here:
Continuous Planning: Continuous planning involves planning the project by starting with one small work item at a time. Some steps involved in continuous planning are:
- Determining your available resources
- Identifying the outcomes’ your project requires
- Evaluating & adapting next gen technologies
- Ensuring your culture is enabling innovation
- Deciding on metrics to measure the progress
- Evaluating and updating your business plan
- Gaining knowledge and implementing feedback received from various stakeholders
- Making changes continually
Collaborative Development: Probably the most important phase, Collaborative development facilitates cooperation between the development, test and business teams so everyone is marching towards the common goal. By practicing Continuous Integration, you promote faster feedback, so that integration problems are detected and fixed in the early stages of the lifecycle, thus reducing the overall effort. Several tools can also be used to make work easier here.
Some tasks of the SDLC where collaborative development can be highly beneficial are:
- Creating user stories
- Discussing and explaining ideas
- Multiplatform development
- Polyglot programming support
- Project Management
Continuous Testing: The testing phase is where the software that is being developed is validated against the requirements and also to uncover bugs and defects. Continuous Testing creates a safety net so the dev teams can continue to make changes and your Automated Testing framework can validate against the requirements. With the help of continuous testing, you can reduce the total cost along with managing the speed and quality of the software. There are many tools available in the market for adopting seamless continuous testing.
Continuous Deployment: One of the most critical objectives of any successful software development project is to make regular and reliable releases. By adopting Continuous Deployment, you automate the end-end release management lifecycle all the way from Code check-in through till Production. You are also able to reduce the wait times and rework as with the continuous delivery pipeline there are more releases, less errors and total transparency.
Continuous Monitoring: Early feedback is crucial to reduce the cost of errors and to ensure your project is moving in the right direction. Continuous Monitoring is of extreme importance when you aim at creating a speedy yet efficient workflow. Continuous monitoring empowers you with enterprise-class reporting abilities at every step of your SDLC. By deploying tools for continuous monitoring, you can gain access to metrics that help you evaluate your software’s performance and hence gain insights to what kind of actions you need to take for improvement and better progress.
Continuous Feedback and Optimization: Continuous feedback and optimization enables you to analyze and evaluate the feedback you receive from clients and other stakeholders. Any form of feedback is always beneficial. Especially when it comes to software development, feedback helps teams to optimize the product by reaching down to the root cause of various issues that surface along the journey and effectively dealing with them.
Challenges for the Development Team
Development teams are at the core of value stream. It is important for them to be comfortable and motivated to do their work as effectively as possible. Usually, developers are very spirited and passionate about adopting multiple ways to find the best solutions to their problems and work efficiently for their organization. However, there are many challenges they face regularly, some of which are listed below:
- The marketplace is very competitive these days, so it builds up a lot of pressure on them to deliver on time.
- Developers have to address feedback and manage new code that’s ready to be pushed to production.
- Many times, developers end up falling prey to silos which leads to numerous issues like poor change management, lack of communication, low transparency, and conflict.
Challenges for the Operations Team
The aim of operations teams is to ensure that they are providing stable and reliable IT services. They are majorly concerned with altering the approaches or resources to achieve stability in order to provide excellent customer experiences and improve efficiency. Some of the challenges which the operations teams face is:
- Manage all redesigns required for executing the application in the production environment.
- Identify and solve concerns that arise after the deployment of the application.
- Manage risk while rolling out new upgrades, updates or bug-fixes.
Cultivating the culture of DevOps
DevOps is a robust combination of practices, tools and philosophies that can enhance an organization’s capabilities to provide speedy services and improving products faster than organizations using traditional methods and processes. Hence, it skilfully resolves all the problems faced by the development and operations teams, while also providing several added benefits.
Here’s how DevOps solves the challenges faced by the development and operations teams efficiently:
- It facilitates frequent deployment with the help of continuous delivery.
- It allows teams to fix bugs in the early stages.
- It reduces the risk and rate of failure for new releases as continuous feedback and monitoring helps teams to resolve issues along the way.
- DevOps practices facilitate agility, enhanced productivity, open communication, and a better working environment.
- It achieves stability through Shift Left principle by focusing on reducing failure.
- It creates a collaborative environment, thus breaking down organizational silos, increasing transparency and improving cooperation as all members are responsible for meeting timelines and deliverables.
DevOps collectively addresses the challenges faced by the development and operations teams by establishing cross-functional teams that cooperatively share the responsibility for the preparation and maintenance of the software and the system that runs the software.
Envisioning Future with DevOps
The future of DevOps is something that can be viewed as a paradigm shift. Gaining operational maturity is not something that organizations will achieve right after implementing new tools. At its core, it’s a continuous and collaborative effort in shifting culture so that people can break down communication silos to ship better software and implement more transparent processes. The execution of successful DevOps relies on teams communicating clearly with each other. The future of DevOps means even more tighter integration between the various moving parts of an organization and automation will continue to play an important role.
In short, DevOps scales down to constant improvements in maintaining software quality, scalability, and predictability, Continuous Delivery of Value, improving business operations in all different areas and aspects with unified communications services.
So, how did our guide to DevOps help in your endeavor to bridge the gap between Business and IT? Do you want to accelerate your time-to-market? Our DevOps capabilities can help you achieve this and much more. Talk to us on how to accelerate your DevOps maturity journey!