What is DevOps? When do you need it?

Given the rate of innovation in the tech world, time to market is a decisive factor for the profitability of a product. After launching the software in the market, quick and continuous support, be it in releasing bug fixes to the customer base or inculcating new features in the existing software is a critical detail for the product popularity and customer retention. Sequential execution of activities in a software development lifecycle introduces several unwanted delays. An approach that emphasizes on parallelization of activities markedly mitigates the delay. DevOps is one model that serves exactly this purpose.

Unlike Agile(which also aims at speeding up the operations), DevOps addresses the gap between development and operations.

The DevOps model

Designed to evolve and improve a company’s product at a pace faster than traditional development techniques, DevOps is a combination of practices and tools that help deliver a company’s applications and services at an accelerated speed to the customer.

DevOps, whose name stems from “Development” and “Operations” aims to solve many of the problems faced in the traditional techniques of development that prevent organizations from giving quick and continuous improvements on their products to their clientele. Some of them have been listed below. 

  1. Delayed deployments due to organizational silos between the development team and the IT team
  2. Slow down in deployments due to coding in one environment and launching in another leading to bugs resulting in the need for elaborate debugging
  3. Time-consuming manual testing that is prone to human errors
  4. Tedious and cumbersome manual management of infrastructure
  5. Lack of collaboration between development, test, and deployment teams and also with other teams that play a role in the product such as the security team.

The details

Of the many tools and practices in the DevOps toolchain, it is interesting to note some of the fundamentals that form the core of DevOps as listed below.

Monitoring and Logging

By monitoring the metrics and logging that data organizations can get a feel of how their products perform in the market. This also acts as first-hand feedback for further phases of improvement and bug fixes.

Continuous Integration – Continuous Deployment (CI/CD)

In traditional methods, completion of the development stage was mandatory to proceed to the integration phase. DevOps addresses this issue and runs development and integration continuously, allowing a feedback loop between the two activities.
Due to this, development bugs are identified earlier, drastically improving the quality of deliverables and the meantime for recovery.

Containerization software

To address the errors cropping up from launching the software in a platform other than what it was developed in, containerization software like Docker or Kubernetes is employed by the DevOps model. Containerization software make the code portable, allowing developers to launch their products across multiple platforms

Automated tests

CI/CD tools like Jenkins can also have automated tests integrated into them. So, as you integrate your new patch of code, the tool also runs the test cases on the new code automatically thereby reducing manual test efforts and maintaining system stability.

Advantages of DevOps

Short release cycles: Continuous delivery turbocharges innovation and drives the development teams to deliver value to their customers faster than traditional methods

Rapid delivery: With continuous integration and continuous delivery, your product and services reach the customer much faster

Reliability: The coherent automated tests with continuous integration leaves no part of the codes untested thus rendering the delivery fully tested and reliable

Scale: Scaling up can be done at ease with DevOps with automated tests that perform consistent efficient testing on changing and complex systems.

Who needs DevOps and when?

Organizations with sizable in-house development teams can reap maximum benefits out of DevOps. It is most suitable when the product has surpassed the glitches of the teething period and has reached a slightly mature phase. 

However, it is ideal to consult the DevOps experts in the initial phases of development to align the development with the DevOps principles.

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