DevOps – Explained

DevOps is a terminology provided for a guild of concepts that is making headlines, especially within the technical fraternity. Like other common terms, such as agile, quality and others, in the technology space, ‘DevOps’ too requires comprehension of its nuances, with examples to fully imbibe it as a concept. To begin with, let us define it with its framework to better understand what it is all about. Here we go!

What is DevOps?

First coined by Patrick Debois in 2009, DevOps can be defined as a concept involving ‘Software Development’ and ‘Operations’. These two disciplines are combined in order to enhance collaboration, communication and cohesion which otherwise traditionally were separate. Devops emphasizes on expansion of the understanding of the value of partnership between development and operations teams along all stages of the software development life-cycle when creating and operating a service. Additionally, DevOps stresses on the importance of operations that has increasingly gained prominence in the service-oriented world that we currently live in.

To put it simply, in the words of JezHunble, DevOps is “a cross-disciplinary community of practice dedicated to the study of building, evolving and operating rapidly-changing resilient systems at scale.”

DevOps methodology rather than seeing development and operations as two distinct groups who are responsible for tasks undertaken within their silos, recognizes the interdependence between them and integrates their functions as one team/department. This greatly helps businesses and organizations deploy software more frequently, paving way for innovation while maintaining service stability. With this organizations are now able to deliver the best results and overall experience possible to the customer.

On a very practical note, DevOps can also be defined as a practice of operations and development teams coming together to participate in the entire service lifecycle of a software development project i.e. collaboration from design through the development process to production support.

Delving into DevOps – Why DevOps Matters?

Usage of software is now everywhere and has become an integral component of everyone’s lives, thus transforming the way we have been doing our daily tasks, from banking to booking air tickets to shopping. In this process, businesses and companies have upgraded the way they interact with their customers, especially when they deliver software as online services or applications via all kinds of devices that we can imagine, improving operational efficiencies in every possible part of the value chain – logistics, communication and operations. Delivery of software to stakeholders demand improved collaboration, planning and automation. This is where DevOps come into picture where it allows –

  • Faster delivery of software to market while enhancing development iteration frequency
  • Reduction in failure rate of new releases
  • Reduction in lead time between fixes in the product or services
  • Easy scaling without compromising on reliability promises
  • Improved mean time to recovery

What are the Benefits of DevOps?

  • Speed – It’s in the nature of DevOps methodology to provide high speed releases, faster feedback mechanism and quicker addresses to service deficiencies, resulting in improvement of perceived service quality and reliability. DevOps further provides mechanisms to identify and eliminate unwanted processes in the system and greatly reduces time between release cycles, while allowing easier and quicker flow of value through the delivery system. In the end it leaves positive impact on the costs by assisting in limiting their growth.

  • Rapid Delivery –DevOps provides way for development and operation teams to increase release frequency by reducing the pace of releases. This allows teams to improvise and innovate products faster resulting in quick response to customer’s needs, while building competitive edge in the market. Seamless integration and delivery are the practices that DevOps allows to automate software release process.

  • Better Service Quality – DevOps offer shorter release cycles making the environment conducive to listen to customer and get user feedback effectively. With this organizations can respond to real time changes and in-turn provide highest quality of service to its customers.

  • Reliability –DevOps and Agile methodologies help large projects to be broken down into smaller workable pieces of functionalities that are delivered to customers iteratively. This practice paves way for shorter delivery lead times for both initial and successive requirements and changes that come over them.

  • Easy Scaling–With DevOps methodology, operation and handling/managing infrastructure and development processes at scale is undemanding. Automation and consistency assist organization to handle multifarious or changing systems economically and at mitigated risk levels.

  • Enhanced Collaboration – DevOps places immense prominence on increased collaboration between development and operation teams which positively have impact on the project as there exists room for cross-training across the two groups. This enables team members to understand the complete process end-to-end and with clear visibility and places of refinements. Additionally, cross training helps in the reduction of wait times, while specialists get more time to concentrate on strategic pursuits within the project and beyond. With more emphasis on close collaboration, DevOps methodology makes delivery cycles more of a team-oriented event, and offers the team a more holistic wisdom of what they’re achieving together; hence higher sense of accomplishment and employee satisfaction can be achieved. DevOps supports close, personal partnership between project work centres, which can greatly help in improving attitudes of team members as they begin to comprehend synergies between departments.

  • Paves way for Continuous Learning –DevOps is more into inculcating lean principles and practices, while emphasizing continuous improvement in the process. In a fast-moving and volatile environment, continuous improvement is the primary source of sustained spirited advantage and greater economic value. More importantly, the benefit of a culture of continuous learning within an organization attracts top talents into the organization’s talent pool.

Who should learn and practice DevOps methodology?

DevOps career opportunities are on a rise. More and more organizations are adopting DevOps methodology and practices in an attempt to improve their software development and delivery cycle. DevOps is ideal for –

  • Software Developers
  • Operation Managers
  • Solution Architects
  • Project Managers
  • Support Team Members
  • Delivery Managers
  • Build Team Members etc.

What are the Prerequisites to Learn DevOps?

DevOps is ideal for anyone with Information/Computer science professional background who can easily comprehend the underlying principles and tools required to implement them. Anyone with this background can master DevOps with right training and mentoring. Candidates with the following essential knowledge can start learning DevOps right away –

  • Basic understanding of cloud environments such as AWS, Azure etc
  • Understanding of scripting languages – Shell, Powershell, Python, UNIX/Linux etc
  • Basic understanding of Configuration Management frameworks such as Chef, Puppet or Ansible
  • DevOps stresses on automation. Candidates should preferably have mindset to code and implement repeatable practices and steps in order to ensure speed with reliability.