“Speed is useful only if you are running in the right direction.”
— Joel A Barker, Business Futurist
The above quote holds for DevOps. DevOps can bring speed to your processes, but it's only helpful when you are on the right path. So, let's see what exactly DevOps is and how your organization can implement DevOps correctly to reap maximum benefits.
What is DevOps?
Why do we need DevOps? Isn't traditional software development enough? The answer is no.
Let's understand both concepts in detail. Usually, two teams - development and operations, handle software development. Development teams build the app's features, whereas the operation team manages the software once it's launched.
In traditional software development, both teams work in silos and pass on the baton once their part of the work is done. The loophole in this approach is the need for complete ownership, which often results in errors, user dissatisfaction, lack of control, delays, etc.
To combat this, DevOps was born. Patrick Debois coined the word DevOps in 2009, combining "development" and "operations."
DevOps combines the power of collaboration between development and operations teams so they are on the same page and work collectively to drive the software's success. Automation tools, particularly those used by DevOps applications, are essential to exploit a dynamic infrastructure that is more programmable from the life cycle perspective.
Now that we understand how DevOps works let's see how an organization can plan a solid DevOps implementation strategy.
DevOps Implementation Plan: A 4 Step Strategy:
Step 1: Starting Right with DevOps
DevOps is not just pushing code and delivery software. Instead, it’s an IT culture where communication and collaboration are the core strategy.
In his book Starting and Scaling DevOps in Enterprise, Gary Gruver suggests that organizations should create a communication plan for the entire team to highlight the significant issues in the current process. He proposes DevOps as a solution. However, to harness the benefits of DevOps, there are certain imperatives that organizations need to adopt, and the most crucial leg here is to start right and intelligent. Here’s how:
- Choose the Project Driver: The first step is identifying the lead person who will be the ship’s captain. It can be anyone from the Director, CTO, Senior Operations Manager, or Senior Engineer. This person will drive the DevOps project with complete ownership and collaboration.
- Set a standard scope and goals: The Program lead needs to build the DevOps strategy, factoring the business requirements and inputs from relevant stakeholders. His crucial role is to align teams to a shared goal. For DevOps’ success, each organization member must approve the project scope and objectives expected from DevOps adoption and stay committed to making it a success. Essentially, the DevOps strategy should focus on two vital purposes:
b) Enabling the entire team to do their work optimally
- Take small steps and build momentum: DevOps is not an overnight process. It will take several experiments to reach the level of efficiency you expect. The best way to get started with DevOps involves picking one method that needs improvement and improving it to see what benefits it's giving.
Step 2: Establishing Unified Teams
People, not machines or software, are critical to the DevOps process. Therefore, everyone from the director and manager to employees should agree to successful DevOps adoption.
- Focus on collaboration: Organizations must help teams visualize end-to-end workflows to ensure everyone knows who is working on what and how much they contribute.
- Continuous learning: DevOps is about experimenting with new processes, taking risks, and learning from them. There will be repetition and failures, but it's an integral part of the process. Without repetition, there would be no mastery, says Gene Kim, the author of DevOps Handbook.
- Bring in resiliency: Systems will break down, things won't work as expected, and building resilience is critical. It will help teams quickly find the root of issues and bounce back.
Step 3: Find Your Bottlenecks
Finding bottlenecks is critical to the DevOps process. Why? Because systems cannot work smoothly if there are bottlenecks at each stage. Some of the most common bottlenecks that can undermine the success of your DevOps strategy include:
- No sync between environments: Every team within the DevOps process must have unified development. However, many organizations development and operations teams work in entirely different environments, which wreaks havoc when errors happen. The only way to address it is constant communication, collaboration, and tight project management so that each stakeholder can see developments and challenges ultimately.
- Outdated testing practices: The Quality Assurance (QA) team should be active in DevOps. However, many organizations keep their QA team separate from Operations, where the downward spiral occurs. Developers give the code, and QA teams test it, find errors, and send it back. This vicious cycle continues until there's no time left. The better way to handle it is by automating the testing process. Automated testing aids in removing the bugs from code as it moves down the cycle. So, there are little to no errors by the time it reaches the launch stage.
Step 4: Monitoring Performance
Finally, it's all about performance monitoring. Application performance monitoring enables the DevOps team to see how their applications function and where there might be issues. It can also help them identify defects, prioritize them, and isolate the cause of each one.
In short, DevOps has four layers: Continuous Delivery, Continuous Integration, Continuous Monitoring, and Continuous Testing. It is this cycle when seamlessly executed with a robust strategy, collaboration, ownership, and transparent cum consistent communication, that organizations can effectively yield the benefits of this powerful application.
DevOps implementation Challenges:
DevOps is not a magic wand that automates everything. You can expect many challenges along the way, such as
- Simply implementing automation tools won't be enough. You will still need human intervention for configurations, patches, and updates.
- Legacy architecture or systems can pose hurdles in achieving DevOps success.
- Many team members would resist change in process and need time to get accustomed gradually.
Let's look at the key benefits of DevOps for Organizations:
- Bring efficiencies by automating routine processes like software testing to improve productivity and reduce costs.
- Reduces post-deployment errors as teams take care of bugs through continuous testing.
- Fosters communication between cross-functional teams, including QA automation, engineers, developers, and system administrators, so they are in sync.
- Reduces system downtimes.
- DevOps focuses on the speed with which organizations deliver IT services by adopting agile and flexible practices as part of a systems-oriented approach.
Why Should Organizations Consider DevOps?
DevOps is increasingly being adopted by most organizations across the globe, as it acts as a catalyst for achieving scale. Implementing DevOps practices helps an organization deliver faster, better, higher-quality, and more reliable software. However, successful DevOps relies on a culture of cooperation and collaboration among all functions anchored on a robust DevOps Implementation Strategy.
Start Your DevOps Journey
DevOps implementation can be easy if done well. However, despite its long existence, it's still new for most organizations. This is when you need a trusted hand to help you adopt the DevOps approach successfully. Partner with Clarion Technologies to implement DevOps in your organization through our global talent and easy accessibility of resources. We assure you it will be a seamless experience.