DevOps is a culture that is followed in the organization to continuously deliver the project to its end users by focusing on people over processes over automation. For the first time in the history of Software development, DevOps introduced the concept of cross-functional teams working together in a more refined way than agile.
In this article, we are going to discuss one such culture that organizations are rapidly adapting to their workforce. This topic tells us how large organization work inside their work environment. Not to forget, an organization that is good at building products and providing services is fast to adapt to changes and is flexible in functioning. We are talking about DevOps and its best practices. To know more about DevOps, we have a complete course dedicated to it. You can visit here for more details about the DevOps Complete Course. There are a few other courses you might be interested in.
In modern times, it is easy to build new technology, and later to make them adapt across organizations is hard. Similarly, for the past 3 decades, it has been a challenge for organizations to adapt to change quickly. Hence, for organizations to help them adapt to changes, groups of people or an institution create best practices that define the whole culture. In DevOps, we have several practices, such as Continuous Delivery, Deployment, Integration, and much more. Implementing these practices in the software delivery pipeline makes a huge difference in productivity. So these DevOps practices are used when they are the best orchestrated.
Before discussing modern DevOps practices, we should know its model. As we mentioned in the above section that DevOps demands cross-functional teams to work as one to deliver the software quickly and effectively. So DevOps model is all about adopting cultural philosophies between teams and learning to work on tools that help speed up the delivery of software releases. In this way, software evolves, and this gives a competitive edge to the organization over its competitors. While adopting the DevOps model, teams should follow some of the main practices that DevOps has and DevOps examples that are followed by larger organizations.
DevOps Best Practices
Any organization who are using DevOps should follow these below practices. This practice not only helps in making software effective but also makes teams with wider skill sets share their ideas and implement them on the go with continuous feedback loops. It is not easy to different convenience teams to work together for the common good because humans are traditional by nature and very slow to adopt change. Binding teams together requires glue, and this is where cultural philosophy comes in. Either by demanding change or by working for the common good, teams can tie together. Once this working together becomes a habit, then it is infectious. It spreads like a virus which at last delivers the best possible software possible to the end users.
For a moment, let’s think like we are end users of a smartphone, What do we exactly need? First things first, keeping our data safe and secure, having the latest version of software changes, and reliability of the product. Every day hackers find 100s of ways to hack into existing software, and on the other hand, cybersecurity teams find ways to fix those security issues. If software stays old, then it becomes more vulnerable for hackers to hack into your smartphone because the older the software gets, the more ways hackers will find to hack into the systems. This is the main reason frequent security updates are recommended, and as a user, you must keep your software up to date.
To release the software, continuous research and development must go on, and at the right time, the updated version of the software should be made available by the smartphone manufacturer. All these processes have to be fast to make sure users are safe from attacks. Thus, teams involved in the development of software must work together. Most of the companies that follow DevOps culture use these below practices.
1. Continuous Integration
In our daily lives, we might have heard about the term Git. If you are not here, that is what it means. Git is a distributed repository that helps developers to work on a project collaboratively and then update all the changes to the central master repository by merging all the changes. In DevOps, continuous integration starts with Git mostly. An organization has a repository of its own to collaborate among developers and set up workflows of it. With the workflows in place, the deployed code will be automated for building, testing, reporting, and releasing. All these are an automated process that is handled by the source control (repository of the code). Every release to the code will trigger an automatic build and initiates the unit tests of the code that is deployed. To make this process of software delivery successful, integration to the right tools should be there, and continuous integration of these tools is the first part of setting up the DevOps pipeline.
The advantages of CI are, It helps developer productivity, Finds and addresses bugs quicker, and delivers updates faster.
2. Continuous Delivery (CD)
Continuous delivery is an extension of Continuous Integration. In this DevOps practice, after the tools are integrated, automation tests are involved, and further deployment is as well. CD involves more automation. CD makes sure that the software is deploy-ready with its latest version - this means all the automated tests and pre-production stages have passed. The final approval is done by the developer to deploy the software to production.
The benefits of Continuous Delivery are, Automates the software release/deployment, Improves developer productivity, Finds defects in software faster, and Delivers software swiftly. If you are thinking about learning more about DevOps, you can learn Best DevOps Training Online.
The concept of microservices is simple in monolithic architecture, where virtual machines are used to deploy the software without any orchestration tools or containers. The pre-requisite of microservices is that the software should be deployed in a container using an orchestration tool like Kubernetes or OpenShift. Microservices are types of services that are divided into small chunks of different services. The traditional way is to deploy the whole application in the release cycle, but microservices are a set of small services that do a specific task. Also, deployment of them is discreet, and no need to deploy the whole application every time there is a release.
If there is any defect in any one of the functionalities of the application, only that part can be redeployed after fixing the microservice associated with it. The microservices architecture is a design approach to build a single application as a set of small services.
The advantage of microservice is, easy to fix bugs, and microservices are lightweight, which gives developers more flexibility.
4. Infrastructure as Code
Infrastructure as a code is one practice in DevOps that lets the operations team provide the required infrastructure for the application deployment. This is maintained as a code mostly JSON and YAML files in which the details entered in those files let the cloud service provider provide the necessary resources like Disk, RAM, or more virtual machines for the application. It also helps in scaling up and scaling down the servers depending on the load of the application. Because infrastructure is deployed using code, this means all the servers and resources that are deployed will be in a standardized pattern. This also includes configuration management - which is a repository of all the files which are responsible to allocate the resources.
With this, even policies can be maintained as well. Policy as a code. Interesting, right? With this, organizations not only automate the deployment of resources for the application, but it also helps to set compliance policies as well.
The advantages of Infrastructure as a Code are, It helps in dynamically allocate resources that are required by an application to run smoothly.
5. Monitoring and Logging
With all the integration and deployment, do you think a developer or an organization’s task is completed? Software development never ends that is what DevOps is all about. It is all about the improvement of oneself and a product. Continuous improvement is at the core of DevOps which leads to the monitoring of the application in real-time as well. If the application goes down or if any users are facing issues with the applications, the concerned team must be alerted if the severity increases. This proactive approach helps the Ops team to get ahead of issues before it affects the wider range of their users.
Monitoring doesn’t end with proactive alerting it also extends up to the bottom level of working of the application, especially to the logs that are written by processes when they are running. Proactive is what the Ops team usually does. However, DevOps culture wants Obnservability in place which covers the full stack of application monitoring from Alerting to tracing every request that comes to the application’s backend server.
The advantage of Observability is mainly to detect the issue faster and fix them before users even notice them. The mean time to detect and the Mean time to repair will be decreased with the help of the right observability tools such as Dynatrace, Splunk, and AppDynamics.
6. Communication and Collaboration
DevOps promotes transparency and effective communication between teams that are working on the project. The main focus of DevOps is to bring in different teams together and this contributes to the cultural aspect of DevOps. Increased automation of the software delivery will physically bring together the development and operations teams. This establishment of collaboration between teams will help in reducing the wait time to process the request of one another and allow brainstorming of new methods of working and making applications better and more efficient - this brings better business outcomes for the organization and reliable applications for end users.
DevOps is not only about teams working together. It is something more than tools or automation. It is a cultural shift and a mindset change in every member involved in a project. There are 5 main principles of DevOps which we will be discussing here.
Collaboration is the key to DevOps as we discussed in the practices that it is important for developers and operations teams to own the feature of the product from the ideation stage to the deployment stage. With this DevOps team can have complete control over a full stack of features in the product which makes the quality of output much higher.
DevOps is all about automation of most of the work so that errors that happen because of manual work will be reduced. This is an essential principle of DevOps. Organizations want to automate the software delivery process as automated as possible. Please don’t confuse this with automated development - This does not exist yet and robots cannot code. With automated processes, the team can respond quickly to customer needs and bring changes in the applications and deploy them faster.
3. Continuous Improvement
Continuous improvement is a part of continuous delivery. However, it is more of research and development of the application feature where teams should focus on how to improve them or add new features by minimizing the waste. Ultimately making the development and deployment process cost-effective and time efficient. Simply put, Continuous improvement is more about innovation in DevOps. Along with the software, people who are involved in the project should improve continuously.
4. Customer-centric action
DevOps team uses something called feedback loops from the end users to continuously get feedback on every delivery of the software or version upgrades. You might hear of the Beta program, Developer Previews of a software product where an insider base of customers can install new updates and give feedback to the developers directly on what they like or what they don’t. Also, if any bugs are found in the product, in the Beta stage itself they can be fixed before making it generally available (GA).
5. Create with the end in mind
This principle is about keeping the customer in mind before starting the project. Defining the end goal of the project is important to address the real requirement of the customer. If the product addresses the real-world problem or, even better solves it, the aim of this principle is satisfied. DevOps teams shouldn’t build software based on their assumption because the thinking of the customer or end user will be more non-technical and developers are always techy guys. If the team builds software to satisfy their end-user base by keeping their feedback or requirement in mind, the software will be useful for them and business outcomes are better.
DevOps itself is an IT methodology that focuses on the best possible way to develop, build and ship software to its end users with frequent updates to them. The essential elements of DevOps culture are as follows,
1. DevOps teams adopt agile practices
To adopt the cross-functional working culture, teams use Agile methodology as a foundation of DevOps. Teams work in small iterations and sprints to develop an application and its microservices.
2. DevOps teams apply a growth mindset
Monitoring the application in real-time is necessary for continuous improvement. To monitor the applications and the infrastructure behind them, organizations use Telemetry. This means this includes the complete observability of the application across every stack.
3. DevOps teams focus on mean time to mitigate (MTTM) and mean time to remediate (MTTR)
Rather than focusing on the failure of the application, the DevOps team focuses on repairing the problem as fast as possible. Problems are inevitable so instead of focusing on the problems before release, monitoring the application in real-time makes more sense and gives visibility to more use cases so that helping teams fix them quickly makes sense so hence, DevOps methodology concentrates on reducing the time taken to fix the problem.
4. DevOps teams think in terms of competencies, not roles
Not only operations teams are responsible for looking after application and their downtime. Being in DevOps it is also the responsibility of developers to look at the application health in real time. This says if you built it, then you are responsible for it. Like, you are responsible for your sons and daughters.
Why DevOps matters?
If you got this question then you are definitely on the right track to learning DevOps. For any new methods, one should question their benefits and how it fits your current culture. How is it better than the one you are following? Firstly, DevOps is more about automation which reduces the manual work and brings in competencies in the team rather than sitting and wasting time on manual tasks. The biggest advantage of DevOps is its insights. This helps to Optimize the business outcomes. This not only helps the development team or operations team, but it also plays a prominent role in giving insights to management people on how applications work. Last but not least, it focuses on the most important part of all - People. Before anything people come first. This brings a lot of change in the workforce and the happiness of the employees that contribute their time every day to build great products. If you are trying for certification courses in DevOps, here is DevOps Foundation Certification for you.
As we discussed in this article about DevOps and where it has come from and what made DevOps one of the most disruptive cultures in the history of software development. With its core principle of people over processes over automation, it gives value to the people-first approach and it also involves all the stakeholders of the projects so that requirements on both ends are met (Organization and end users). Practicing DevOps culture brings increased productivity, better business outcomes, and proactiveness to tackle mission-critical issues. Finally, I can conclude by saying this, DevOps is not just a culture, it is also a mindset and the way of life in the corporate world. It unites the most difficult teams together and makes every person accountable for the project or feature.
DevOps Best Practices FAQs
1. What are the five values of DevOps practice?
Values in DevOps are based on people and culture and hence they are defined as CALMS. Culture, Automation, Lean, Measurement, and Sharing. Each of them has its value that brings to the DevOps team.
2. What is the DevOps lifecycle?
DevOps lifecycle means how the software is delivered successfully from the ideation stage to its deployment of it. The stages include planning, coding, building, testing, releasing, deploying, operating, and monitoring. All these stages are parallelly executed with continuous feedback loops integrated into every stage.
3. What are the key objectives of DevOps?
Some of the basic objectives are, Release on demand, Eliminate unplanned work and technical debt, Fail smart, Look outside-in and Measure feature value.