Adam Morgan, Principal Consultant of the DevOps Team specialising in Switzerland gives us a much needed introduction to DevOps. His dedicated experts ensure that businesses employ the best matched professional to ensure success...
Since 2009, the term DevOps has grown in popularity throughout the IT industries. However, the buzzword is often thrown around with little to no explanation, leaving those throughout the sector confused to what it actually means. Can it be defined as a tool? A service? Or a way of life?
In practice, DevOps is an approach to understanding the service lifecycle of a product that aims to break down the metaphorical silos distancing the Development and Operations departments. By merging the two departments together, they can share responsibilities and manage the entire lifecycle, pushing out new releases and improvements much faster than if such tasks were left to two separate departments.
Prior to the introduction of DevOps, IT professionals embraced the non-linear Agile methodology. This approach allowed developers to make immediate changes to business practices and subsequently enhanced efficiency, whilst reducing risk. However, while developers were able to increase their productivity, the deployment side of operations continued to embrace an older methodology.
The introduction of DevOps connected the Development and Operations departments to help create a consistent methodology that promoted fluidity.
Figure 1: The several stages of the DevOps toolchain
The main advantage of integrating DevOps is that it allows software to be written in smaller chunks allowing testing, integration, deployment and monitoring to occur within hours. This contrasts a previous practise where developers would work for potentially months to test and develop in bulk before handing it over to a different team, who must then implement it.
The improved methodology focuses on automating many aspects, including testing, workflow and infrastructure to help deliver a more streamlined working environment that can respond faster to market needs and maintain a lower rate of failure for new releases.
The streamlined DevOps approach holds many benefits for digital development companies:
- Faster product innovation
- Allows teams to become more responsive to business needs.
- Improves collaboration between teams.
- Better product quality maintenance
- More frequent releases allowing a constant stream of improvements
The use of DevOps can also help increase product profitability by allowing frequent updates to ensure bugs are dealt with and customer feedback is implemented.
When DevOps practices are first introduced and implemented into a business, your affected teams may be nervous due to certain myths they may have heard. Some of the more common misconceptions include:
DevOps creates more security risks
Many throughout the security community believe that increasing the frequency of releases will leave security practises and risk management processes behind. However, with set DevOps procedures, security teams are able to work alongside the combined teams as they develop new product versions, instead of reviewing the entire process at the end of the product line.
When some imagine a DevOps orientated environment, they’re met with images of cowboy developers deploying their code whenever they wanted. Fortunately, the reality is much different and as automation continues to drive DevOps, security teams can expect greater result consistency and much better timestamps.
DevOps is just a skill
While there has been an increase in companies looking for DevOps managers and engineers, it’s important to remember that by definition, it is a methodology.
DevOps, at its core is a new way to run a company’s IT teams. Though advertising for professionals trained in this style of work can ensure your team remains strong-- DevOps focuses more on teams anyway.
DevOps is about meeting a quota
While the methodology does bring more efficiency, it doesn’t mean that a quota should be put in place to churn out 10 deploys a day. DevOps focuses on reducing the risk of each single release and the number of deployments a day will vary based on the work involved.
Placing quotas on DevOps teams could lead to unnecessary risks and oversight. If the methodology is implemented properly, software products will see consistent improvements regardless to how many daily deployments are made.
DevOps seems like it could be defined by any number of terms relating to tools, skillsets and services. However its core is all about providing a methodology to help streamline the servicing of a product lifecycle. By combining the Development and Operations departments, businesses are able to innovate faster to meet market changes, leading to better products and increased profitability.
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