Though DevOps might seem something of a buzzword, rest assured it’s not another fad. Sounds like a reason to get to know it better, right? Read our new post about what DevOps is and how it helps build sustainable and secure software products.
DevOps is a software engineering practice bringing together software development and operations. It is usually looked at both from the technological and philosophical perspectives.
Technologically, DevOps is all about boosting application development quality and speed, and minimizing errors through the automation of crucial routine processes. As a way of thinking, DevOps focuses on unifying traditionally isolated engineering, operations, and testing teams through continuous learning, expertise sharing, and communication.
Automation of the application development processes, such as building, testing, deployment, maintenance, and monitoring, is one of the DevOps benefits that can save your project in some situations. Another advantage of this practice is building a bridge between support specialists who monitor the system for issues and certain engineers who can solve those issues.
Now, let’s go into more detail and see why DevOps is needed and exactly how it can make the life of the team easier at each stage of project development.
One of the most vivid advantages of DevOps is shifting to continuous integration, delivery, and deployment. What does that mean?
It means that every line of code your engineers commit to a repository will be automatically built and tested to make sure the code is always ready to be delivered to an end-user. The actual deployment takes place in the background, without a single interruption in the work of the application, right when it’s needed.
On the other hand, if the build hasn’t been completed successfully, all concerned engineers will be immediately notified via email, in a messenger app, or in any other way and will be able to quickly handle the problem.
What’s good about it:
We’ve talked a bit about testing in the previous point, but it deserves a little more of our attention because that is another answer to the urgent question “why do you need DevOps?”.
Constant and continuous testing and QA are a cornerstone of smooth, continuous deployment. To comply with the needs of continuous deployment, they have to be dynamic and take place early and often. Apparently, manual testing cannot live up to these characteristics as it’s too slow, and here automated testing comes into play.
Most types of tests, from UI tests focusing on usability issues to load testing identifying bottlenecks in the application’s performance during peak traffic, can be automated. The major benefit of automated tests is that they can be run whenever necessary and on a regular basis, thus minimizing the possibility that bugs will slip into newer code versions. Moreover, when the tests are properly architectured, they can be easily maintained and safely reused further in the project, with the necessary adjustments made to them, corresponding to the changes in the project’s functionality or UI.
What’s good about it:
Here is another reason why DevOps is important. Testing code early in various environments, such as development, staging, and production, helps avoid further deployment issues, let’s say poor scalability or server capacity, and makes sure the app will run as smoothly on 100 users’ devices as it does on one engineer’s computer.
The infrastructure-as-code approach allows packing all processes connected with deploying environments into a code. Thus, the needed infrastructure exists in the form of software that can be quickly deployed whenever necessary, rather than a physical machine that has to be manually configured upon every setup, running through the entire cycle of the operating system launch. Besides, the infrastructure code, just like the application code, is constantly tested, version-controlled, and monitored for safety issues, making sure the application is tested in a completely secure environment.
What’s good about it:
It may seem that the benefits of DevOps are uncountable, but don’t worry, this one is the last here. Application performance monitoring is another important thing in creating your project, whether it is a huge framework or a small chatbot. Application performance tools can answer a lot of crucial questions. How much memory and processor capacity the app consumes? How quickly does a system respond to user actions? How much time does the app need to be built and deployed? In case these metrics are properly recorded and processed, they can be used to make key business decisions.
What is good about it:
Though DevOps really makes lives easier, especially when it comes to big, constantly evolving projects, one should remember it’s not a magic pill that can be taken once and then put away until it’s needed again. Business benefits of DevOps can be noticed and estimated only in the long run.
This practice can’t be introduced by simply hiring a “DevOps engineer” or reducing manual testing. It requires wide and carefully selected methodology of changing the mindset of every team member toward understanding and adopting all DevOps values and putting them into practice.
Every detail — from how team members communicate with each other, how willingly they share project information, to how they approach tasks and challenges — contributes to adopting the DevOps culture within the company. It’s a good idea to take a strategy of small steps to make sure you don’t miss a thing. The DevOps Checklist is a nice thing to help on the road.
Implementing DevOps is a long and dusty trail, but it’s definitely worth hitting.
Get weekly updates on the newest design stories, case studies and tips right in your mailbox.