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Recommendations for a successful DevOps adoption

DevOps has been very popular and has become the point of discussion at the time of kick start of every Project meeting. The main aim to adapt to DevOps culture is Quality and Faster time to market. Quality matters, and hence DevOps practices implementation matters too. It is about changing the existing culture and transforming the mindset to understand that quality is an essential part of the routine. Continuous Improvement with Continuous Practices such as Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery, Continuous Testing, Continuous Planning, Continuous Monitoring, and Continuous Innovation helps to create a unique culture based on existing best practices.

Based on the different phases of DevOps transformation cycle, we have some recommendations for a successful DevOps adoption.

Culture

  • Executive Leadership’s support: Node from Executive Leadership or Top Management is critical as this is a culture transformation initiative.
  • Vision for DevOps culture transformation: Vision for culture transformation helps business units or organizations to understand the priority of change. Vision helps different stakeholders to work in the same direction.
  • Communication and collaboration: Culture of collaboration, sharing knowledge, and documentation along with best practices helps to cultivate collaborative culture and sharing.
  • Tools agnostic approach: Most of the tools provide similar kinds of features and functionalities such as orchestration and integration with other tools for application lifecycle management.
  • Training: Conducting training across the business unit or organization helps to increase awareness regarding improvements and innovation in the technology landscape.
  • Quality Evangelist: Dedicated team to verify application quality and whether it meets specific compliance or processes, helps organizations to monitor progress and compliance of each project or application.

Continuous planning

  • Scrum or SAFe: Use frameworks that implement agile principles or use SAFe.
  • Tools: Agile tools helps to track all activities and provides visibility in the entire process and outcome.
  • Metrics: Defined agile metrics with goals to achieve, not only provides goals but also provides visibility and hence gives insights for improvement.

Version control system

  • Git: Use Distributed Version Control Systems (DVCSs — Git). Operations such as commits, viewing history, and reverting changes are faster in DVCS.
  • All in the repo: Keep your code, tests, configuration files, property files, database scripts, build scripts, deployment scripts, script for Infrastructure as a Code, pipeline or orchestration scripts in the repository.

Continuous Integration

  • Build tools: Automated build tools should be utilized for effective CI. Maven is one of the most popular tools for Java. Gradle Ant, MSBuild are some other popular tools.
  • Code analysis: Use open source static code analysis tools such as SonarQube for Java, Python, .Net, JavaScript and others. Follow code reviews, pair programming, and static code analysis consistently for productivity gains and better quality of code.
  • Unit tests: Keep unit test coverage high. Unit tests help to detect bugs early. It verifies the smallest unit of code, that is, a method or a function is given a set of inputs that generates a given set of outputs.
  • Automation tools: Use automation server or Continuous Integration tools based on scheduling or push mechanism to execute the build. CI helps to orchestrate workflow, improve repeatability, and increase stability. It helps to detect issues early in the life cycle.
  • Notifications: Configure email or slack notification on build completion status based on success or failure.

Cloud computing/containers

  • Consistent environments: Keep different environments having a similar configuration to eliminate inconsistency related issues in deployment activity.
  • Cloud resources: Leverage cloud-based Infrastructure for agility and cost-effectiveness. Cloud-based resources make it possible to have the same middleware and configurations for all environments that help to avoid all issues related to inconsistent or dis-similar environments.
  • Cloud service models: Leverage PaaS for applications that require no specialized environment for quick availability of deployment environment.
  • IaaC: Use Infrastructure as a Code feature using APIs or CLIs made available by virtualized environments or services made available by cloud providers.
  • Containers: Use Docker for effective utilization of resources and quick provisioning of environments.

Continuous Delivery/Deployment

  • Automated deployments: Deployment automation is easily repeatable, reliable, effective, and scalable over time. Use the same scripts/ deployment ways to deploy to every environment to gain confidence.
  • Approvals: Sometimes, there is manual approval required from specific Stakeholders to verify the features before deployment into a production environment.
  • Pipeline: The end-to-end automation pipeline should model the existing process and flow of test and release. Understand the process, document it, and try to replicate it using automation scripts or plugins.
  • Release management tools: Use release management tools or plugins available in automation tools to manage releases and rollback in different environments.

Continuous testing

  • Automated testing: In agile development, automation of functional test execution helps in faster time to market, increased reliability, productivity gains, and increased customer satisfaction. Higher the coverage of automated functional tests, higher the accuracy and higher productivity gains.
  • Performance testing: Integrate performance testing to verify availability, scalability, reliability, speed, responsiveness, and resource usage of your application and infrastructure.

Continuous monitoring and feedback

  • Infrastructure monitoring tools: Use infrastructure monitoring tools such as Nagios and Zenoss for getting insights into infrastructure issues and act on it immediately.
  • Application monitoring tools: Use application monitoring tools to monitor different aspect of deployed application such as memory usage, the performance of web server or application server.
  • Notifications: Configure email or slack notification on success or failure events in the pipeline to find issues immediately and act upon them.

There are no set of guidelines or methodologies available for DevOps practices implementation. Based on existing culture, implementation roadmap may differ from organization to organization as no two organizations can have the same culture.

Hope this was helpful.

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