What is DevOps?

Previously, software development and operations teams were constantly in conflict with each other for many reasons—technical or personal. However, since recent years, the paradigm shift from traditional practices to DevOps has certainly changed the face of software development and delivery. In fact, this change can also be considered as cultural. To be precise, the cultural aspect of DevOps is collaboration—bringing the teams together at one place; and as always, focused on a common goal - user experience. In the entire process, consistent and clear communication happens to be the crucial factor that helps the teams achieve their goal.

In a bid to translate business opportunities into success, organizations – large and small – are embracing the cultural change to swiftly deliver the best-of-breed software and applications to users. However, this success doesn’t come overnight. It emanates from the right blend of DevOps tools managed by skilled professionals.

According to Research and Markets, during the 2017-2023 timeframe, the global DevOps market is expected to reach a market size of $8,763.8 million at a CAGR of 18 percent. Needless to say, this massive growth prediction is indeed a proof that more and more enterprises are adopting DevOps to innovate their software development.

So the big question is - Can DevOps really make a difference for enterprises?

Let’s explore.

What are the Key Practices in DevOps?

Key Practices in DevOps

Continuous Planning Continuous Planning is always the first step in a DevOps environment which requires the involvement of the development and operations teams, business analysts and testers on a single platform. Together, they formulate a release plan for their software product. This step promotes collaboration and the overall efficiency of product lifecycles.

Continuous Integration Previously, software developers used to work in isolation and integrated their code later with the rest of the team’s main code. This process often takes days or even weeks; giving rise to numerous merge conflicts, diverse code strategies, bugs, and more. The advent of DevOps changed this scenario—paving a productive path towards Continuous Integration (CI) which requires the development team’s code to be continuously merged with a shared version control branch. This helps them validate their codes instantly and regularly.

Technically speaking, Continuous Integration (CI) automates the process of building and testing codes every time a team member incorporates changes to the version control. In a nutshell, CI effectively helps maintain the integrity of codes.

Continuous Delivery In a DevOps environment, Continuous Delivery (CD) is the next step that comes right after CI. With CD, organizations can make modifications to their software—based on user feedbacks, fluctuating business strategies and market trends. This requires all teams – test, support, and development – to collaborate with each other, and work closely towards automating the build, test, and release cycles. Benefits of a successful CD process include - optimized costs, minimized risks and quick time-to-market.

Continuous Testing Continuous testing plays a vital role in DevOps. It enables teams to execute automated tests that act as a prominent part of their software delivery pipeline. This step injects agility in the software release process by helping organizations get feedback on their business risks. In an innovative manner, Continuous Testing takes automation to a whole new level—addressing the complexity of today’s software development and delivery.

Continuous Deployment Continuous Deployment is oftentimes confused with Continuous Delivery. In fact, Continuous Deployment ensures that every code modification incorporated by the developers is implemented throughout the entire software pipeline. Moreover, the code (including its updated working version) is automatically put into production. As a result of this process, numerous production deployments are staged regularly.

Continuous Monitoring Continuous Monitoring is considered as a part of the DevOps environment that effectively supports all the above-mentioned software development practices. Implementing this step helps the development and operations teams to constantly check for errors in their codes with a collaborative approach.

What are the Business Benefits of DevOps?

Business Benefits of DevOps

Highly Communicative Environment As the central focus is on communication, a successful DevOps culture portrays a scenario where members of the teams communicate very often over emails, chats, social media apps, and more. This promotes collaboration and maintains integrity among the members; helping them solve problems easily and quickly.

Flexibility As we already know, the basic principle behind developing DevOps is to enable a flexible and agile environment driven by collaboration between teams. Hence, team members should be aware of this, and work towards their common goal. Additionally, staying updated with the latest trends and practices also becomes a prerequisite factor.

Exceptional Problem-Solving Capabilities The gist of a successful DevOps environment lies in the organization’s ability to solve complex problems effectively and efficiently. This is indeed a result of team members working together with integrity, and injecting the essence of agility in software and application development.

Continuous Deployment, Testing, and Monitoring Talking about today’s software development practices, there is a constant requirement for teams to continuously deliver high quality software, reduced go-to-market timelines, and effectively adapt to shorter release cycles. With the touch of innovation, DevOps helps them manage these operations swiftly—by staging productivity-oriented practices such as Continuous Deployment, Continuous Testing, and Continuous Monitoring.

Cost Optimization As most workflows in a DevOps environment are automated, organizations can spend less on their resources and achieve cost savings to a considerable extent. Moreover, this is undoubtedly supported by factors such as—team collaboration that lowers the time required for fixing errors; enhanced communication; and shorter development cycles.

Saves Time for Innovation Apart from cost optimization, the automated deployment feature of DevOps transforms a complex software development scenario into a highly predictable and easier one. Consequently, as there is no need to carry out repetitive routines, the process effectively saves time for team members; giving them sufficient time for innovation.

Key Challenges in DevOps Implementation

Injecting DevOps into the IT infrastructure of a hectic enterprise environment is no easy task. It requires dealing with a wide array of challenges. However, addressing the below mentioned key challenges can be the first step towards success—unlocking the true potential of DevOps.

Adapting to the Change in Culture This is perhaps the foremost challenge that impacts the future of DevOps in organizations. Gradually, yet definitely, the ‘Dev’ and ‘Ops’ teams should make sincere efforts to adapt to the change—post DevOps implementation.

Integrating Team Projects It’s an obvious fact that the collaboration between two teams (development and operations) will branch out the need to integrate their projects. This may involve effective planning and teamwork focused towards a common goal; maintaining the right balance in the entire software development lifecycle.

Ditching Legacy Systems This might probably be the hardest part of DevOps implementation. To embrace new opportunities and possibilities, the teams must be willing to stop thriving on legacy systems and adopt the latest technologies available in the marketplace.

Dealing with Tool Diversity With DevOps implementation, comes the hurdle of choosing and managing the wide array of tools used by both the teams. Apart from its diversity, the tools may also be task-specific, which makes this a painstaking challenge altogether.  

What are the Best Open Source DevOps Tools?

When it comes to DevOps, considering the level of flexibility and cost-effectiveness, enterprises across the globe are rapidly inclining towards open source solutions. This also depends on the constantly changing needs of enterprises that need to be addressed efficiently and effectively. For enterprises, to gain a competitive edge in a constantly challenging marketplace, below mentioned are the widely adopted open source DevOps Tools that might come handy.

  •  Elasticsearch for Log Analytics
  •  Docker for Container Management
  •  Puppet, Chef for Configuration Management
  •  GitHub for Source Control Management
  •  Icinga for Monitoring

What is AWS DevOps?

By combining the best-in-class DevOps practices, AWS offers a comprehensive set of flexible services that are designed to help enterprises rapidly develop and deliver their applications. Blended with innovation, these services streamline -

  •  Application Code Deployment
  •  Infrastructure Management and Provisioning
  •  Software Release Automation
  •  Performance Monitoring

Why Choose AWS DevOps?

AWS facilitates a pay-as-you-go approach, which elevates flexibility for enterprises. That’s not all about flexibility—AWS enables development and operations teams to access standardized production environments anytime, anywhere in a cost-effective manner. Moreover, it effectively aligns with the fluctuating needs of an enterprise development environment.

Managed Services are Here to Help

The primary objective of a managed service provider (MSP) is to monitor and manage the customer’s IT infrastructure round the clock. Also known as third-party monitoring and maintenance, MSP’s ensure system availability for numerous enterprises across the globe. Moreover, they detect problems in a timely manner and boost system uptime. Consequently, managed services improve employee productivity; guiding enterprises towards higher profitability. Today, as most enterprise assets reside on the cloud, MSPs have also changed their approach by offering cloud-based services.

What do Cloud Managed Service Providers Offer?

Today’s enterprises are often in a ‘state of turmoil’ when they try to manage their IT assets; which negatively impacts their core business. Thanks to managed cloud providers, as they are constantly focused on offering an exceptional level of expertise for enterprises when it comes to IT infrastructure management. Moreover, apart from managing an enterprise’s computing, storage, networks, and operating systems, MSP’s engineers also handle complex tools and applications that operate on top of their IT infrastructure. This involves working on the latest databases, e-commerce platforms, and DevOps automation tools. As an added advantage, enterprises are also offered the flexibility to choose the specific IT assets they would like to manage in-house while leaving the rest to their cloud MSPs. Projections from the MarketsandMarkets research firm state that the global cloud managed services market size is expected to grow from USD 27.15 billion in 2017 to a staggering USD 53.78 billion by 2022, at a CAGR of 14.6 percent.

Although the list expands further, following are the key offerings of cloud MSPs:

  •  System monitoring, alerting and reporting
  •  System performance testing and maintenance
  •  24×7 support powered by proactive communication
  •  Cloud Security and Compliance Management
  •  DNS Management
  •  Architecture services
  •  Cloud Database Management
  •  Training for developers
  •  Cloud Migration
  •  Cost Optimization
  •  Backup Management and Disaster Recovery
  •  Auto Scaling
  •  Log Archive Management

What are the Benefits of using Managed Cloud Services?

Now that we know the key offerings of MSPs, let’s take a look at the key benefits of those services:

  •  Ability to focus on core business
  •  Better and faster disaster recovery
  •  Unparalleled efficiency and agility
  •  Availability of leading-edge technologies
  •  Custom services
  •  Quick response times
  •  Reduced Costs triggered by flexible billing

What is AWS Managed Services?

AWS Managed Services is a cloud-based ecosystem of services that provisions, runs, and supports the enterprise IT infrastructure; helping them focus on their core business. By deploying the best-in-class practices and management procedures, AWS Managed Services minimizes the operational overhead and risks associated with the overall IT infrastructure. The sole focus of AWS Managed Services is to effectively streamline cloud operations, improve agility and reduce the costs.

The Key Features:

  •  Change Management
  •  Provisioning Management
  •  Incident Management
  •  Patch Management
  •  Access Management
  •  Continuity Management
  •  Security Management
  •  IT Service Management (ITSM) Integration
  •  Reporting

All Things Considered

The evolution of new technologies are bridging the gap between ‘ease of use’ and ‘innovation’, no matter how complex an enterprise IT infrastructure may be. However, when it comes to DevOps and Managed Services, the roots of enterprise success lie in the ability to choose the right vendor from the masses; making a groundbreaking business impact.

Originally published , updated March 15 2018

Topic: DevOps