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DevOps : The next big game changer

If you’re a hard core techie, and stay updated with current trends in the IT world, chances are that you’ve already heard of the term DevOps. But just what is it all about, anyway, and why is it touted to be the next big game changer? DevOps is a movement that has been brought about in the software industry by people who think it’s high time there is a change. For too many years now, it has been tacitly understood that if you are working on a software project, it is bound to run late, exceed the budget, and underperform. A sorry state of affairs indeed, but yes, this is the way things have been! So we have had these all-too familiar situations outlined below: No one is confident whether the software will actually work when deployed Problems manifest the moment the site goes live It is very hard or impossible to change an application, once delivered Teams tend to ‘pass the buck’- developers blame testers, who blame release managers. And so on, and so forth. We’ve all been there, and done that. But there are some folks who actually decided to do something about this situation. And that’s how the concept of DevOps was born. The DevOps movement was started by some people who believed that by combining technology and changing the attitude of teams, software development and delivery can be revolutionized. “DevOps” is a portmanteau of ‘development’ and ‘operations’, with the buzzwords being communication, collaboration, integration, automation and cooperation. The DevOps approach clearly is a win-win situation, and is an understanding of how collaboration between developers and operations staff can create value at all stages of the product lifecycle. DevOps leans toward extending basic Agile and Lean principles, in a manner that includes the overall services, including systems and operations. In the DevOps world of the future, the paradigm has shifted and boundaries have blurred. Will this movement catch on? Let’s wait and watch.  
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DevOps : The next big game changer

546
DevOps : The next big game changer

If you’re a hard core techie, and stay updated with current trends in the IT world, chances are that you’ve already heard of the term DevOps. But just what is it all about, anyway, and why is it touted to be the next big game changer?

DevOps is a movement that has been brought about in the software industry by people who think it’s high time there is a change. For too many years now, it has been tacitly understood that if you are working on a software project, it is bound to run late, exceed the budget, and underperform. A sorry state of affairs indeed, but yes, this is the way things have been!

So we have had these all-too familiar situations outlined below:

  • No one is confident whether the software will actually work when deployed
  • Problems manifest the moment the site goes live
  • It is very hard or impossible to change an application, once delivered
  • Teams tend to ‘pass the buck’- developers blame testers, who blame release managers. And so on, and so forth.

We’ve all been there, and done that. But there are some folks who actually decided to do something about this situation. And that’s how the concept of DevOps was born.

The DevOps movement was started by some people who believed that by combining technology and changing the attitude of teams, software development and delivery can be revolutionized. “DevOps” is a portmanteau of ‘development’ and ‘operations’, with the buzzwords being communication, collaboration, integration, automation and cooperation.

The DevOps approach clearly is a win-win situation, and is an understanding of how collaboration between developers and operations staff can create value at all stages of the product lifecycle. DevOps leans toward extending basic Agile and Lean principles, in a manner that includes the overall services, including systems and operations.

In the DevOps world of the future, the paradigm has shifted and boundaries have blurred. Will this movement catch on? Let’s wait and watch.

 

Usha

Usha Sunil

Blog Author

Writing is Usha's hobby and passion. She has written widely on topics as diverse as training, finance, HR and marketing, and is now into technical writing and education. She keeps an interested eye on new trends in technology, and is currently on a mission to find out what makes the world go around.

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1 comments

Shraddha Sunil 17 Jun 2016

Great article!

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12 DevOps Skills That A DevOps Engineer Should Master

Are you an engineer looking out to excel in DevOps skills? Is your team looking to adopt DevOps? You have come to the right place. In this article, we will discuss key DevOps engineering skills that make you an expert in this space. DevOps is all about breaking down the traditional silos and creating a culture of collaboration between business, operations and development teams. Along with the culture aspect, DevOps also emphasizes the key aspect of automating any repetitive and error-prone tasks using a spectrum of modern engineering tools. This article will help you gain insights on 12 specific skill set one needs to master in this space.One thing to keep in mind when you talk about a “DevOps engineer“ is that it is not a role but a skill set that needs to be mastered by every software developer and not just operation folks.DevOps Skills"DevOps, everyone is doing it, few have mastered it " - Mirco Hering, Author of “DevOps for the Modern Enterprise”. He explicitly quotes that nowadays all are adopting and working in DevOps way without understanding much about the key concepts and skills needed. Only a few are doing it right. What started as a great idea would end up in becoming a mere buzz word if we don’t understand the 12 Devops engineering skills.The 12 DevOps engineering skills are:1. Linux fundamentals and scriptingLinux is an open-source operating system created by Linus Torvalds in 1991. Since then there has been no looking back. Linux is now the most preferred operating system in the world. It’s more secure, compared to other operating systems like windows. Most of the companies have their environment setup in Linux based systems.Many DevOps tools in the configuration management space like Chef, Ansible, Puppet, etc have their architecture based on Linux master nodes. These tools help in provisioning and managing infrastructure automatically with the help of any scripting language like Ruby, Python, etc.Linux fundamentals and scripting know-how is a must to get you started with infrastructure automation which is a key concept in DevOps.2. Knowledge of various DevOps tools and technologiesDevOps is implemented with the help of tools but in most of the cases, DevOps is often misunderstood as tools. We have to always remember the great quote from Scott Hanselman “The most powerful tool we have as developers are automation.”The main aim of DevOps is to add value to the customer at an increased pace. Tools are chosen to incorporate this purpose and never to be used for the sake of using it. Technical knowledge of the tools is an added advantage for you to embrace DevOps.DevOps tools are categorized broadly into 10 categories:Collaboration toolsApplication Life management and Issue Tracking toolsCloud/Iaas/Paas/Serverless toolsSource control management toolsPackage ManagersContinuous Integration and continuous delivery toolsContinuous Testing toolsRelease orchestration toolsMonitoring toolsAnalytics tools.In each of these categories, we have more than 10 tools. A right tool must be chosen in each of these categories based on client requirements and the project environment. The main point to remember is that a tool should add value to the customer either by reducing delivery time or increasing the quality of the deliverables.3. Continuous Integration And Continuous DeliveryA better understanding of the continuous integration and continuous delivery approaches helps to deliver a high-quality product at a faster pace to the clients.Continuous integration is one of the best practices in DevOps Community where whenever a developer finishes a functionality or a user story(in terms of scrum) he/she integrates the new code with the existing code base continuously. This helps to save a lot of time spent during the integration phase of the project. Continuous integration helps to detect integration issues in the early stages itself thus making the life of the developer easier.Continuous delivery comes as an extension to continuous integration where the newly integrated code is made ready for deployment automatically without or minimum human intervention. Often in the case of the waterfall model, the development team has to release the new code to the testing team and then the testing team takes it forward. This usually takes a couple of days. These delays could be avoided by automating the transfer and testing process, making the code ready for deployment quickly.Continuous deployment is the next step in automating the delivery pipeline of an application. This is where the new code is automatically deployed in the production environment. Some of the software companies do not consider continuous deployment as a best practice as they foresee it as a place where a lot of defects can creep into.4. Infrastructure as Code (IAC)Infrastructure as Code is the latest best practice in the DevOps community. This helps to provision and manage infrastructure by abstracting to a high-level programming language. Thus all the features of the source code could be applied to the infrastructure of the application like version control, tracking, storing in repositories, etc. With the emergence of IAC, days of manually configured infrastructure and infrastructure shell scripts are gone. A person who knows to develop infrastructure as code creates less error-prone, consistent and reliable infrastructure.5. DevOps Key ConceptsDevOps is a culture where business, development, and operations teams collaborate breaking the traditional silos. The key value is to create a cross-functional team that knows what each team member does and where any team member can take up the work of the other, thus providing a better collaboration within team members and delivering a high-quality product to the customer. Since we don’t have silos anymore, unwanted time spent on transfer of the code between various teams like the testing team, the operation team is reduced, increasing the pace of delivery.Another key concept is automating everything. This is done to generate a high-quality product for the customers by reducing human defects.6. Soft SkillsDevOps emphasizes culture and people more than tools and practices. Hence people skills are a must-have when we are trying to adopt DevOps. The next important key value is trust among the team members. Trust is enabled by active and effective communication between team members creating positive vibes among team members. This, in turn, gets reflected on the quality of the deliverables and finishing off the work on time.7. Customer-first mindsetDevOps emphasizes on a customer-first mindset. All people who adopt DevOps should take decisions keeping this in mind. No activity should be performed that does not add value to the customer.8. Security skillsDevOps is all about speed, automation, and quality. As we increase the speed often we encounter vulnerabilities that get introduced into the code at a faster pace. DevOps practitioners should be able to write the code that is protected from various attacks. This has often led to DevSecOps thinking where security features are incorporated from the beginning rather than stitching it at the end.9. FlexibilityAccording to Heraclitus: “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change ”. A team that embraces DevOps must be equipped to adopt change. All team members should be able to accept a  requirement change or a role change. He/she must be comfortable to work in integration, testing, release, deployment, etc and also should have the technical knowhow. He/she must be aware of modern engineering tools and should be equipped to work on different tools based on requirements. Anant Agarwal, CEO of edX summarises the flexibility as follows:“It’s hard to learn something that seems to evolve as quickly as the lessons are taught. Self-learners are the perfect candidates for embracing and pursuing  DevOps adoption, as it requires a roll-up-your-sleeves, trial-and-error, do-it-yourself, continuous learning approach.”10. CollaborationCollaboration is one of the important key values in DevOps. A team that adopts DevOps is a cross-functional team where members from business, operations and development teams co-exist. Active collaboration is a key skill required by the team members. There should be transparency between the team members. Everyone should know what is happening in the team and who is responsible for a particular task.11. Decision-makingDecisiveness or decision-making is one of the key elements employers look for in their employees. The ever-changing nature of the code in the DevOps team should be handled by a person who is quick in taking decisions. Thus enabling quick delivery and deployment of new code. Faster deployments give faster returns to the customer and provide immediate feedback from the end-users. This often leads to customer satisfaction.12. Agile engineeringDevOps was introduced in 2008 by Patrick Debois and Andrew Clay Shafer after a discussion about agile infrastructure. Therefore DevOps is heavily rooted in agile principles and values. There are 4 agile values and 12 principles according to the Agile Manifesto.  Every DevOps practitioner needs to have an in-depth understanding of agile philosophies.Practical knowledge of agile practices like Test-driven development, behavior-driven development, etc helps to make a great DevOps practitioner.ConclusionDevOps is all about breaking down silos and where development teams, operation teams, and business teams collaborate to deliver a high-quality product quickly. All team members where DevOps is adopted should have all the 12 DevOps engineering skills. He/she focuses on customer satisfaction rather than local optimizations. To summarise, he/she should be a great team player, technically strong with good knowledge of  DevOps tools and who can adapt to changes.This subtle but important combination of all the attributes is important for a professional to  be a DevOps engineer. Because, at the end of the day, customer satisfaction is the key to running a successful business enterprise.
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Can Devops and Scaled Agile Models Coexist?

DevOPs, is a perfect blend of Software DEVelopment and Information Technology OPerationS. This term is used to refer to a set of practices that highlights the collaboration and conveyance of both software developers and Information Technology people, while automating the software delivery process and performing changes in infrastructure. The aim behind DevOPs is to provide the environment which can help in coding, testing and deploying the software, rapidly and more reliably. Agile and DevOPs are similar concepts. Agile represents some changes in imagining and practicing what is best for organizational change, whereas DevOps places more importance on implementing the organizational changes to perceive its goals. Due to the increasing popularity of the Agile Software Development, the need to introduce DevOPs has escalated. This has led to a cooperation in software delivery, as there are increased number of releases. If DevOps practices are adapting the Agile methodology, it will contribute to an increased organizational profit. Ultimately, it will be beneficial if Agile and DevOps go hand in hand, to maximize the outcome for the organization. However, everyone should be aware of the fact that the software is being created first and ranked by the developers. The success of the implementation of this software  depends entirely on the use of the software. Let’s have a look on some well-known models: SAFe® (Scaled Agile Framework) Scaled Agile Framework is the Agile Software Framework, designed by Scaled Agile, Inc. It consists of a knowledge base of combined patterns, which forms the Enterprise-Scale and Lean-Agile development. SAFe® aims at the collaboration of both software and systems development and delivery, for increased number of Agile teams. SAFe® is mainly about helping the customers to solve their most challenging scaling problems. SAFe®uses 3 primary bodies to maximize the advantage. These are: Agile development, Lean product development, and systems thinking. You can say that there are two aspects of SAFe® are: the DevOps team and the System team. The System team is more centered around the development side activities like Continuous Integration and test automation, while  the DevOps team focuses on the features which will be useful for deployment and the automation of the process. DAD (Disciplined Agile Delivery): The focus of DAD is more on the processes. DAD is the decision framework process that enables decisions on incremental and iterative solution delivery. DAD has been known as the “movement beyond the scrum”,which is described in the book written by Scott Ambler and Mark Lines. The DAD framework provides a mechanism to construct smoothly working of IT processes and helps in Scaling. LESS (Large Scale Scrum): In LESS, DevOps is not called in the detailed manner, but it is covered by Technical Excellence. Technical Excellence is the way of  making changes to the product in a simple, rapid and flexible way,also called Technical Agility. LESS has a ‘less’ focus on explicitly describing how to use the process and at what time.  So, it is upto you to assign the work at the right time to the right person. It is therefore highly recommendable that the organizations use the combination  of ‘Explicit Structure of SAFe® principles’ and the ‘ideas of LESS’ to create a framework. This will definitely create more profit in your Organizations.
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Why Stop Inventing New DevOps Combinations?

DevOps - What's in a name?The term DevOps is well known by now. It was initially introduced by Patrick Dubois a Belgian IT consultant who organized an agile oriented event in October 2009 and named it DevOpsDays, targeting not only developers but also systems administrators, managers, and toolsmiths from all over the world. After the conference, the conversations continued on Twitter with the hashtag #DevOps.If you want to know more about the origin of the DevOps, you can check the video given below which gives you a lot of background about the reason why Patrick Dubois initially started this DevOpsDays conference:DevOps and the rise of the combinations and derivatives With the increasing popularity of DevOps, more people start to give their definition of DevOps. The different definitions of DevOps that go around can differ, depending on what aspect(s) of DevOps you want to focus.In a previous article, I wrote about how to explain DevOps in 5 letters - CALMS or CALMR i.e CALMS framework for DevOpsSome other definitions tend to focus primarily on the automation aspect, omitting the Agile foundation. As a consequence, you get the first combination of DevOps, named BizDevOps or BusDevOps. There are different interpretations about what BizDevOps actually means. “BizDevOps, also known as DevOps 2.0, is an approach to software development that encourages developers, operations staff and business teams to work together so the organization can develop software more quickly, be more responsive to user demand and ultimately maximize revenue.”At the same time, it is the most disputable definition. This definition assumes that DevOps is mainly a technology-driven initiative that hardly involves business people. But as mentioned in my previous article, the foundation of DevOps is culture, which goes back to the agile principles. And we all know that agile without business is only symptomatic. So DevOps without business is as symptomatic as agile without business.According to the Dzone article, DevOps is focusing on a single application or system whereas BizDevOps is focusing on the entire enterprise with all its complex processes and the mixture of applications and systems that support these complex processes.According to this article, BizDevOps provides an answer to dealing with:OK, fair point, but these aspects could as well be tackled by defining proper value streams and Agile Release Trains to deal with all the links and dependencies between these systems and applications. I don't see the need to come up with a different term.I guess you understand by now that I am not a big fan of the BizDevOps term and the confusion it creates. But it can get worse. It was some likely clever tool vendors that came up with the term DevSecOps. And if it is not the tool vendors that invented it, at least they were so clever to jump on the wagon to support the need for more security awareness in DevOps.Nowadays, large tool vendors using of the term DevSecOps instead of DevOps.Here's my opinion on this: security should be an integral part of DevOps. It should be a part of the culture:Don't only think about what something functionally should do, but also what can go wrong (think Abuse or Misuse cases). It is also a part of the automation. All security related tests should be automated as much as possible. Think about scanning vulnerabilities in your own source code, vulnerabilities in external libraries that you use, scanning your container images for vulnerabilities, or even - up to some extent - automated penetration testing. It is also a part of Lean principles: when a security test in your build pipeline fails (e.g. scanning your source code discovers a critical vulnerability), you stop the line.So again, the is no reason why the term DevSecOps should exist at all.Now that we have business and security covered, we can go on and see who else could feel denied or at least ignored? Maybe DBA's? Or any other person involved in data management? Maybe, that is the reason why we also have DevDataOps nowadays.I could go on for a while like this. But you get the point by now: it is uselessMaybe the DAD is right!I recently got to read an interesting article on disciplined agile delivery, the information portal from Mark Lines and Scott Ambler of their Disciplined Agile Delivery, or short DAD. DAD is not - as they call it - an agile methodology, but a process selection framework. DAD is the kernel of a layered model, like an onion, that they call Disciplined Agile and that consists of the following layers:Let’s explore each aspect in Disciplined Agile Framework mentioned in the diagram.1. Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD)Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) aspect consists of initial modeling and planning, forming the team, securing funding, continuous architecture, continuous testing, continuous development, and governance all the way through the lifecycle. The Disciplined Agile Delivery (DAD) framework supports multiple delivery life cycles, basic/Agile lifecycle based on Scrum, a lean lifecycle based on Kanban, and a modern Agile lifecycle for continuous delivery. This aspect is responsible for addressing all the aspects of solution delivery.2. Disciplined DevOpsDisciplined DevOps streamlines the IT solution development and IT operations activities, and supports organization-IT activities, to benefit more effective outcomes to the organizations.3. Disciplined Agile IT (DAIT)DAIT aspect helps to understand how to apply Agile and Lean strategies to IT organizations. This aspect comprises of all IT-level activities such as enterprise architecture, data management, portfolio management, IT governance, and other capabilities.4.Disciplined Agile Enterprise (DAE)DAE can predict and respond quickly to the changes in the marketplace by facilitating a change through an organizational culture and structure. This aspect can be applied to organizations having the learning mindset in the mainstream business and underlying lean and agile processes to drive innovation.The second one, Disciplined DevOps principles deal exactly with what I mentioned before: the different derivatives and combinations of DevOps. They start by giving an answer to the question of why it is so difficult to come to a common definition of DevOps:Specialized IT practitionersMany IT professionals still tend to specialize, choose a focus, like DBA, enterprise architect, operations engineer, or whatever. Each discipline will focus on its own aspect of DevOps.Agilists are focused on continuous deliveryBecause of their focus on releasing daily or even several times a day, a lot of discussions deal with bringing new features faster and more frequently to production and not paying attention to all aspects of DevOpsOperations professionals are often frustratedSystems administrators are crunched between the push of the development teams to deliver faster and more frequently and the typical stringent service management processes they have to deal with, that are not yet adapted to the need for more frequent changesTool vendors have limited offeringsA fool with a tool is still a fool… DevOps tool vendors only focus on these DevOps-aspects that their tools coverService vendors have limited offeringsSimilarly to tool vendors, service vendors will only focus on these DevOps aspects that their  services can currently coverTool vendors treat DevOps as a marketing buzzwordSurfing the waves of the hypes, vendors might be persuaded to rebrand their existing toolset to something DevOps-ish, because it sounds better in a sales pitch. Sounds like window dressing…The DevOps = Cloud visionApparently, some people think that implementing DevOps in your organization can only succeed if you move to a cloud-based platform. Although cloud-native development practices are a facilitator for implementing DevOps, it not a requirement. And moving to a cloud platform definitely isn’t a requirement.All these reasons make that person come up with DevOps combinations that give an answer to only part of the problem.Disciplined DevOps mentions the following visions:1. BizDevOpsBizDevOps is a basic DevOps vision that explicitly brings the customers into the picture. BizDevOps is also called BusDevOps. DevOps is not just for teams, but it can be potentially applicable to any team supporting an incremental delivery lifecycle. The BizDevOps workflow consists of Business Operations, activities of delivering of products and services to the organizations. BusDevOps seeks to streamline the entire value stream, not just the IT portion of it. Its workflow is depicted in the diagram below.2.   DevSecOpsAnother common improvement over the basic DevOps vision is something called DevSecOps. The aim behind this vision is to ensure data security by getting the various security issues, adopting the latest security practices, and finding out and addressing the highest priority security gaps [DevSecOps]. This vision includes collaborative security engineers, exploit testing, real-time security monitoring, and building “rugged software” that has built-in security controls. The workflow of DevSecOps is shown in the figure.  3. DevDataOpsThe aim behind DevDataOps is to maintain a balance between the current needs of data management consists of providing timely and accurate information to the organization and DevOps to respond to the marketplace. Supporting data management activities include the definition, support, and evolution of data and information standards and guidelines; the creation, support, evolution, and operation of data sources of record within your organization; and the creation, support, evolution, and operation of  data warehouse (DW)/business intelligence (BI) solutions. The following figure depicting the workflow of DevDataOps.Or should we just stick to the term DevOps?Even though the message of Scott Ambler and Mark Lines is perfectly reasonable, not everybody might the term Disciplined DevOps. It fits their framework like a glove: everything boils down to Disciplined. If you don’t want to be framed into the Disciplined Agile/DevOps framework (pun intended), you may as well stick to the term DevOps and make sure that you cover all the aspects, which include business, security, data, release management and support.
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