DevOps can be succinctly defined as the application of multiple philosophies, practices and tools to deliver applications and services very fast. By using DevOps, organizations can improve and deliver services much faster than organizations that rely on traditional approaches of software development and management approaches. Organizations using DevOps are therefore able to improve their customer services and compete better.
When a DevOps approach is used the development and operation teams do not exist separately. Instead, the operations and development teams work together on all aspects of service lifecycle beginning with design then to development and supporting live production. Sometimes the operations and development terms are combined it one team and team members need to learn a broad range of skills. It is important to note in a DevOps approach, operations staff use techniques that have been successfully used by developers in the past. Some of these techniques are source control, testing, and agile development. DevOps is not just limited to use in internet startups; it is an approach with wide applicability.
DevOps as a term is basically a combination of Development and Operations. Dev is used as a collective term for people who are involved in product development. Although, the term may appear to refer to developers in practice, it refers to all people involved in development including product development, quality assurance and other relevant professionals.
Ops is a collective term for system engineers, system and database administrators, network and release engineers, security experts and other relevant experts.
Devops has several advantages which are discussed below:
- The first advantage is speed. With DevOps, innovations are faster and you are able to respond to market changes quickly which results in efficiency and better business results.
- The second advantage is quick delivery. By using the DevOps model, the frequency and pace of delivery increase so product innovation and delivery are fast. Customer response and competitiveness improve because of quick feature releases and bug fixes. Continuous integration and continuous delivery are very useful for build automation.
- The third advantage is the reliability of the DevOps model. DevOps ensures the updates to applications and changes to infrastructure are of desirable quality and are delivered quality while maintaining the expected end user experience. Continuous integration and continuous delivery are useful practices for testing the functionality and safety of changes. Monitoring and logging provide real time performance metrics.
- The fourth advantage is scalability of DevOps model. The elements of automation and consistency provide a low risk approach for managing complexity and change in system requirements.
- The fifth advantage of DevOps is the improved level of collaboration. Ownership and accountability are core values that are emphasized in the DevOps philosophy for building better teams. With close collaboration, responsibilities are shared and workflows are combined which eliminates inefficiencies that arise when there is handing over from development to operations.
- The final advantage of DevOps is the level of security provided. You are able to move fast without compromising control and compliance. DevOps provides automated policies for compliance management, control and configuration.
Moving to a DevOps model successfully needs both a cultural and a mindset change. The main objective of DevOps is to eliminate the hurdles that existed between the development and operations teams that were traditionally separate. DevOps brings together the two teams for the sake of developer productivity and operations reliability. Frequent communication, improved efficiency and better customer service become common goals for development and operations teams. To successfully use DevOps, you need to understand its practices, values, tools, methods, principles and values.
DevOps practices are well suited for enabling faster innovation. One core DevOps practice is the use of small but very often updates. This approach enables organizations to quickly deliver innovations to their clients. Traditional updates were delivered occasionally but the DevOps model favors an incremental approach of update delivery. Small updates have their advantages. First they reduce the deployment risk. Secondly bugs are quickly addressed because it is easy to identify the deployment that led to the error. The third advantage is organizations relying on small frequent updates are able to deploy quicker and frequently as compared to organizations that rely on traditional approaches.
Another DevOps practice is the use of micro service architecture. A micro service architecture enables organizations to deliver flexible applications and quick innovations. A micro service architecture emphasizes splitting a large and complex system into separate projects. An application is divided into multiple components with each component having its function. Dividing a large system has the advantages of reducing the effort required for successful updates and the organization moves quickly because each component has a team working on it.
To solve the challenges of safety and reliability brought by the micro service architecture and small frequent updates, continuous integration and continuous delivery are used. The practice of infrastructure automation helps in responding to changes in infrastructure needs. The practice of monitoring and logging provides information necessary to respond to problems that may arise. These are the practices available within the DevOps model to support organizations in quickly and reliably responding to their clients.
A broad tool set has been developed to support the DevOps model. Examples are Jenkins, for configuration management puppet is one of the tools, zookeeper is one of the tools developed for orchestration, for monitoring and containerizing applications, AWS and docker are some of the tools available.
In this article, we introduced and defined DevOps. We briefly explained how DevOps is beneficial to organizations. We noted DevOps is a combination of development and operations teams into one team. We identified experts who make up the development part and those who make up the operations team. We discussed the advantages of the DevOps model. We identified the building blocks of the DevOps model. Finally, we briefly discussed the two aspects of DevOps, practices and tools.