What is DevOps?
DevOps is a consolidation of practices and tools that increases how an organization delivers its applications and services. Unlike in traditional software development, organizations that leverage DevOps practices evolve and improve their products and services faster. DevOps helps companies become more competitive and cater to their customers’ requirements more efficiently and effectively.
How DevOps Works
In the DevOps model, development and operations teams do not work independently. Instead, the two units are unified, and their work spans the entire application lifecycle – from development to testing to deployment to operations.
In DevOps, teams automate processes usually performed manually. By leveraging technology stacks to operate and develop applications rapidly, without compromising reliability.
When quality assurance and security are more tightly integrated with the overall application lifecycle, the model is called DevSecOps.
What Benefits of DevOps You need to Know:
The DevOps model helps the development and operations teams to operate at a higher pace, therefore helping their organizations adapt to the changing market requirements, fix bugs, and rolling out innovations fast. For example, Microservices and CI/CD (Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery) teams automate the software release process, enabling the quick release of updates.
DevOps involves real-time monitoring and logging of application performance. Moreover, the DevOps model enables frequent updates, helps overcome users’ pain points quickly, and enables a positive user experience. CI/CD practices ensure testing of every change to ensure the application is reliable.
DevOps involves a high level of automation, which makes it helpful in operating and managing infrastructure and development processes at scale. To state an example, Infrastructure as Code helps manage development, testing, and production environments in a scalable and efficient manner.
In the DevOps cultural model, the development and operations teams collaborate more closely. As they are required to share their responsibilities and workflows, the processes are shorter and efficient.
DevOps is perfect for companies that are particular about security and compliance. By using Infrastructure as Code and Policy as Code, organizations could define and track compliance at scale. And while enabling speed, DevOps ensures security through its automated compliance policies, controls, and configuration management techniques.
Why DevOps Matters
The Internet has transformed how companies do business. It has become the most used platform for organizations to deliver their services through web applications and connected devices. Every stage of the customer’s lifecycle is based on online data. Given today’s business competition and rapidly changing customer expectations, DevOps can help companies transform how they build and deliver software. So let’s focus on how a company could jump on the DevOps bandwagon.
How to adopt DevOps
Adopting DevOps mandates removing the barriers between development and operations teams. In the DevOps model, they work together to optimize the productivity of developers and the reliability of operations. The unison results in increased efficiencies and improved quality of services to customers. In some instances, the model could integrate Quality Assurance and Information Security teams within itself.
DevOps Best Practices
Continuous integration is a software development practice where developers merge their code changes into a central repository, followed by automated builds and tests. Continuous integration primarily helps find and fix bugs quickly and minimize the time it takes to release updates.
Continuous delivery is a software development practice where code changes are automatically built, tested, and prepared for production. It is an expansion of the continuous integration practice. All the code changes are deployed to the testing and/or production environment. With continuous delivery, organizations will always have a deployment-ready build that has been tested.
The microservices architecture involves building an application as a set of smaller, individually broken-down services. Each service runs and communicates with other services, typically through an HTTP-based application programming interface (API).
Infrastructure as Code
In Infrastructure as code, infrastructure is provisioned and managed using code and software development techniques like version control and continuous integration. The cloud’s API-driven model allows developers to interact with infrastructure programmatically and use infrastructure precisely like how they treat code, thereby allowing for rapid infrastructure deployment using standardized patterns.
In DevOps, developers use code to control the operating system, host configuration, operational tasks, and more. In addition, the use of code helps in standardizing configuration changes, therefore freeing up resources from manually configuring operating systems, system applications, or server software.
Policy as Code
With infrastructure and its configuration treated like code, they can be easily tracked and validated. Thereby making it easy for organizations to check if security measures are in place (e.g., information security or compliance with PCI-DSS or HIPAA, SOC2, HITRUST, etc.) Non-compliant resources are automatically flagged or made compliant.
Real-time Monitoring and Logging
Organizations constantly monitor metrics and logs to check on application and infrastructure performance and the User Experience. DevOps models help in setting up alerts and analyzing this data in real-time.
We love both AWS and Azure DevOps services. Here are a few open-source DevOps tools we use and recommend.
- Kubernetes: Kubernetes is used to orchestrate containers. It automates deployment, maintenance, and scaling of containers in production.
- Docker: Docker is an open-source platform used to build and run an application as a lightweight container. Containers today play a crucial role in agile development. Docker Hub is useful for finding and sharing prepackaged functions as containers.
- Istio: Istio is a service mesh with widespread adoption. Linkerd and Kuma are a couple of more open-source service mesh alternatives.
- GitHub Actions: GitHub is easily the most popular source control and software collaboration platform. GitHub Actions are YAML files hosted in GitHub repositories. They leverage GitHub webhooks.
- Jenkins: DevOps essentially involves finding ways to automate and deploy new iterations more efficiently. Jenkins is an open-source automation server. It comes with many plugins to automate the building, deployment, and testing of software projects.
- Prometheus: Prometheus is a widely used open-source monitoring solution. It works by scraping HTTP endpoints and generates a system to interact with this data. It offers deep querying, visualization, storage, and other capabilities.
- Terraform: Terraform is a tool used for building, changing, and versioning infrastructure efficiently. Its emphasis on versioning enables development teams to create a service blueprint.
- ELK Stack: ELK Stack is the powerful combination of three open-source projects: Elasticsearch, Logstash, and Kibana. With these three components, developers can ingest and log data from any source to produce helpful visualizations.