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What are DevOps practices?

This article was created thanks to @vladyslavpartola!

DevOps combines software development and operations to deliver high-quality services at much faster speed. By leveraging multiple philosophies, software tools, and practices, it streamlines every process from planning and design to coding, testing, delivery, and maintenance.

DevOps is being introduced to emphasize on communication and cooperation, and reduce the time-to-market. The strategy is about team empowerment, cross-team alignment, facilitated automation, joint responsibility, and thought-out resource allocation.

In contrast to traditional software development, DevOps practices enable organizations to boost their efficacy. But how does this work exactly?

Read on to get some insight.

Why adopt DevOps practices?

An aligned DevOps team makes both software developers and operations work together on the future product. The smooth, harmonized organization of every project stage provides for continuous feedback, faster delivery, and notably improved quality of services.

With a conservative approach, the code is written and then thoroughly tested, which is quite resource-intense. With a more agile, modern strategy, new changes are being constantly incorporated into the code repository, which means the team can concentrate on their specific commits.

The traditional DevOps lifecycle includes several integral stages, which represent the core project processes. Throughout each project phase, the team mainly focuses on communication to maintain alignment, velocity, and quality.

These stages commonly include:

  • Plan
  • Discover
  • Build
  • Test
  • Release
  • Deploy
  • Operate
  • Monitor

DevOps principles

When discussing DevOps practices and their numerous benefits to business, there are four tenets to mention. The compliance with the four fundamentals of smooth DevOps implementation ensure efficiency and simplify the interaction between professionals.

The following are the core principles to adopt to improve software development:

1. The automation of the software development life cycle, or SDLC
DevOps engineers are guided by one main principle – to achieve the automation of most day-to-day processes. By automating project planning and discovery, coding, testing, and other integral stages, aligned teams eliminate time-consuming, repetitive tasks and focus on tasks, which cannot be automated by nature.

2. Efficient communication and cooperation
DevOps fundamentals are centered around people and interactions between them, not around precise metrics. All involved team members must consider each other’s current workload and share their insights and progress to ensure high quality of services.

3. Continuous improvement
This principle is about making improvements to the designed product to facilitate requirement compliance, consumer satisfaction, and even industry-specific expertise.

4. Emphasis on user needs and feedback
This fundamental is about making improvements necessarily considering user needs and the client’s feedback in order to create an on-demand, unique product.

DevOps techniques and methodologies

Continuous integration, continuous delivery, or CI/CD

CI/CD stands for the continuous integration and the continuous delivery or deployment of new code changes. CI/CD notably reduces time-to-market by automating code build, release and final deployment.

Code written and suggested by different software developers is incorporated into the so-called repository. After incorporation, the testers might enter the game to fix found issues before release.

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The processes, entailing coding, testing and product delivery, are referred to as the so-called DevOps pipeline. These stages might be performed traditionally, but automating those phases ensures efficiency and eliminates human error.

A typical DevOps pipeline usually includes detailed planning, tech discovery, building, testing, and deployment. At various project stages, the pipeline might include obtaining latest code updates, transferring improvements to the target environment, configuring variables, pushing components to external, associated services, providing alerts, and more.

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Cloud computing

Cloud computing is the on-demand availability of services, including servers, storage, databases, and software. This approach provides innovation, flexible resources, efficient infrastructure, and scalability.

Cloud solutions, if utilized with modern DevOps practices, provide access to an unlimited number of features. Those approaches facilitate thought-out, flexible workflows for everyone to participate in the same manner. Cloud computing together with DevOps practices are usually being considered as two separate technologies. But if mixed together, their advances are multiplied.

Continuous monitoring

IT companies are facing the challenge of securing their infrastructure and environments that grow every year. With products being deployed across different cloud environments, IT security and operations can collaborate more efficiently and deploy the best available technology to minimize potential breaches while maintaining appropriate compliance with requirements and legislation.

Continuous monitoring is a prevailing technique commonly implemented to detect potential risks to security. This process helps obtain relevant information from various separate ecosystems, detect discrepancies, implement robust preventive measures, and resolve critical concerns.

The pros and cons of implementing DevOps practices

Main benefits:

  • Greater automation

With the DevOps approach, IT teams can deliver product release after release as opposed to one major release by making incremental improvements.

  • Increased scalability

By adopting DevOps practices, technology providers can use standard scripts to match workload requirements and implement new infrastructure.

  • Shared insight

The collaborative DevOps environment, which enhances efficient communication and cooperation, provides for shared knowledge and experience shared across team members.

  • Thought-out allocation of resources

By streamlining project stages from planning and design to maintenance, technology vendors might automate otherwise resource-intense routine processes.

  • Reduced time-to-market

DevOps methods help design automated scripts that can be utilized consistently across several deployments.

  • Reduced costs

DevOps techniques reduce both managerial and operational costs by facilitating aligned interaction.

Main drawbacks:

  • Adoption challenges
  • Switching from expertise teams to flexible, cross-functional teams
  • Dependence on the tools
  • Conflicting tools
  • The switch to microservices
  • Not being truly aware of what DevOps practices really entails

Final thoughts

Every organization, no matter the size and industry-specific business peculiarities, is facing unique problems, but there are some typical challenges associated with software development, in particular product release. These include unrealistic estimates, wrong toolsets, high costs, missed deadlines, and more.

The overviewed development & operations practice helps companies navigate through software development. The combination of philosophies, cutting-edge technology, and modern, agile approaches notably improves every stage from planning and discovery to launch.

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