DevOps services have grown in popularity over the last few years, driven by organizations big and small looking for more efficient ways to run their development and operations. However, understanding DevOps and implementing its principles isn’t quite as simple as combining these two normally separate departments - and it’s because of this that many businesses lose sight of how it works and what it can achieve for their business as a whole.
In this blog, we’ll explore the keys to DevOps services, what makes for the best deployments, and how your business stands to gain from successful DevOps teams. And just as importantly, we’ll dispel seven of the most common and long-standing myths around the DevOps process, and lift some of the barriers that may be standing between you and adoption.
What is DevOps?
DevOps represents a number of different concepts and tools, working in unison, so that the development and delivery of applications and services can be executed faster and more efficiently. By increasing the agility of the development process, compared to organizations sticking with traditional development and infrastructure management, businesses using DevOps can gain first-mover advantage, improve customer service and boost their competitive edge.
At Ciklum, we believe that a strong DevOps deployment should bring together user-friendly solutions that integrate seamlessly with existing tools and workflows; customization so that those solutions align with business goals; and the reliable technology and expertise of top providers such as AWS, Azure and GCP.
The core fundamentals of a DevOps service
There are lots of different ways to approach DevOps, depending on the skills base of the workforce and the nature of the business. But generally speaking, there are five founding principles behind a good DevOps process:
DevOps brings together many different people in a number of different roles throughout the process. Often, these are people who may exist in development and operations silos and rarely talk to each other through development processes; these silos must be broken down, and close collaborative relationships must be fostered.
Connected to the previous point, the business that is pursuing DevOps should take all reasonable steps to make that communication and collaboration as easy as possible. This could include the use of video collaboration tools, chat platforms, project tracking systems, and even wikis. This allows areas of the business not directly connected to the DevOps process, such as marketing and sales, to engage with it and reap the benefits of it more easily.
Monitoring and measurement
The only way to accurately quantify the progress of DevOps is through comprehensive monitoring and measurement. Metrics and logs can help chart how the performance of applications and infrastructure affect end-user experiences, as well as the consequences of any changes made along the way. Ideally, this monitoring is active 24/7, with alerts and real-time analysis enabling DevOps teams to react and take action immediately when required.
Because DevOps brings so many usually disparate functions and people together, coordinated project management is a must. This should include short feedback loops that keep the focus of everyone on the ultimate goal, which is satisfying the needs of the end-users.
The software development world never stands still, and neither should good DevOps teams and processes. There should be a constant focus on finding ways to improve delivery and find further efficiencies, whether it’s automating repetitive tasks to expedite development and free up staff time, or driving efficiencies through insights gained from performance metrics.
The benefits of DevOps
It’s easy to take a view of ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’, and assume that if normal software development and infrastructure works fine, then there’s no real need to change things. However, this means missing out on a range of benefits that organizations with successful DevOps deployments are already gaining from:
Better teamwork and streamlining
When everyone comes together as a DevOps team, a positive and proactive culture based on ownership and responsibility can be fostered. By working much more closely, development and operations teams can share responsibilities, converge some of their workflows, and generate efficiencies through faster handover times from one department to the other.
Scalability and reliability
With the help of automation, scaling DevOps up and down to meet evolving business demands becomes much easier. Similarly, it also helps support reliability and consistency in processes such as updates and infrastructure changes, so that innovations can thrive without causing any business disruption along the way.
The more collaborative, motivated nature of DevOps means that releases can be completed faster and more often. Whether it’s getting a new product into the marketplace, delivering updates and enhancements, or fixing commonly-reported bugs, this agility is vital for meeting customer expectations. By meeting their needs through continuous delivery, you can generate meaningful competitive advantage.
Debunking common myths
There are a lot of myths surrounding DevOps, despite the fact that it’s been a well-established concept within business IT for some time now. Some of these can make a business shy away from pursuing DevOps, even though they’re inaccurate. Understanding DevOps is crucial for dispelling these myths, so in this section we’ve highlighted seven of the biggest misconceptions around DevOps, and explain what the reality truly is:
DevOps is a tool
Sure, you use tools to make DevOps happen. You use tools to improve automation, monitoring, and integration in your systems, but those are tools, not the system itself. Instead, DevOps should be considered as a culture, which is made up of different tools, people and ways of working. Ultimately, DevOps is about breaking down the barriers between development and operations, and about letting information and collaboration flow freely between them.
DevOps requires a team
The whole purpose of DevOps is to break down silos and put systems in place that encourage different teams to work together. Of course the development team should talk to the operations team, but everyone on any team in a company is encouraged to increase their lines of communication through DevOps.
DevOps is only for continuous delivery
DevOps affects change in the company culture by increasing collaboration and communication between many departments, as well as creating new processes for continuous delivery. So while it can be a real asset in a software development process where continuous delivery is key, the cultural benefits that it brings can be just as beneficial in other scenarios, too.
DevOps only uses open-source software
While DevOps has certain technology requirements like automated testing and version control configurations, it can just as easily work on applications running mainframes and firmware. DevOps is a set of principles rather than a defined formula that demands certain types of technology - there are no hard-and-fast rules around whether you use open-source software or not.
DevOps is only useful for the cloud
Just like it can be run on many kinds of technology, DevOps can also be used for any kind of infrastructure.
Private applications running on-site can gain a lot from DevOps practices. The benefits become even greater because of the money already put into building private infrastructure, resulting in better sustainability and more profit through a faster and more reliable development process. The return on investment (ROI) in creating and using private infrastructure also goes up with DevOps help. Tools like Kubernetes, Docker, and Puppet make it possible to create an infrastructure where developers can deploy and run their applications just like in a cloud environment. The hardest part about getting started with devOps is the mindset change it requires, rather than the technology barrier.
DevOps eliminates IT teams
Development teams do take over more IT operations and engineering functions, like code deployments and service level maintenance. DevOps also requires IT operations to automate programs developers can use. However, DevOps doesn’t actually supersede or replace anything: if anything, the opposite is true, as it helps bring development, operations and IT together and amplify the value that each of them can deliver. A people-centric strategy like DevOps can actually be a force for good and empower IT teams to make bigger and more meaningful contributions.
DevOps is only for large organizations
One of the most common myths around DevOps services is that they’re the sole preserve of organizations that have the resources to employ engineers in large numbers. Similarly, it’s also often believed that it’s only practical in cases where entire teams can be dedicated to work on a single product. While it is definitely beneficial for larger businesses, smaller enterprises can gain from DevOps, too.
DevOps can help small businesses streamline development and delivery, through tools and solutions that are specifically designed for their use. This way, investment into expensive infrastructure and specialist DevOps teams can be avoided, and small businesses can drive competitive advantage and make the most of their agility.
In summary: the best way forward for DevOps services
Whatever the size of your business, DevOps services can breathe new life into your development, operations and IT departments, and help you develop a proactive, forward-thinking culture. With the right DevOps teams in place, you’ll be better-placed to get products to market faster, react to changes and events with agility, and gain a new competitive edge against your competition.
If you’re thinking about encouraging any kind of new team collaboration, Ciklum has a number of engagement models from which to choose. With us, you can extend your team around the world or work with certified QA consultants to cut your costs. We can also manage your team or project. Simply tell us what you’re looking for and we’ll help you build a team that fits those specifications.
To discuss your specifics and work out the best way forward, get in touch with our team today for an informal chat with no obligation.