What is DevOps?

Pic from: https://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/services/devops/

(This is the first out of 4 articles in my DevOps series)

At its core, DevOps refers to an agile, collaborative relationship between development and IT operations teams.

A compound of development (Dev) and operations (Ops), DevOps is the union of people, process, and technology to continually provide value to customers. What does DevOps mean for teams? DevOps enables formerly siloed roles — development, IT operations, quality engineering, and security — to coordinate and collaborate to produce better, more reliable products.

DevOps is the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity: evolving and improving products at a faster pace than organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes. This speed enables organizations to better serve their customers and compete more effectively in the market. DevOps has become not only trendy, but an important rethink of the IT/Dev culture at many organizations. And with good reason because the benefits to adopting DevOps are well-documented. Adopting DevOps can seem unnatural to organizations that don’t have a culture of automation and that aren’t set up, either for security and compliance reasons or because of company culture, to deploy software thousands of times per day. Adopting DevOps, therefore, becomes an iterative process; it’s necessary to adjust the practice to fit the needs of the company.

DevOps has emerged as a practice that focuses on minimal disruption and maximum reliability; faster time to market is also an artifact of automated release processes that DevOps enables. The tech landscape is an ever-changing environment. Some languages evolve and new ones are created. Frameworks come and go. Infrastructure tooling changes to meet the ever-growing demands for hosting applications more efficiently and delivering services more quickly. Tools continue to abstract low-level computing to reduce engineering overhead. The only constant is change. Your ability to adapt to that change will determine your success as an individual contributor, manager, or executive. Regardless of the role you currently fill at your company or hope to eventually play, it is vital to adapt quickly and remove as much friction from growth as possible. DevOps enables you to adapt and grow by improving communication and collaboration.

So, DevOps is really a mindset, not a defined process or role. If you start asking around, you’ll find a number of teams with DevOps engineers or a dedicated DevOps team.

What Problems Led to the Creation of DevOps?

Developers and system administrators don’t always see eye to eye on a lot of things, but they do agree that their customers on the business side of the house frequently pull them in different directions. On the one hand, business users demand change — new features, new services, new revenue streams — as fast as possible. At the same time, they also want a system that is stable and free from outages and interruptions. That creates a problem where companies feel like they have to choose between delivering changes quickly and dealing with an unstable production environment or maintaining a stable but stale environment.

Not surprisingly, neither choice is acceptable to enterprise executives. And, more important, neither allows a business to provide the best solutions it can to its customers.

Developers are willing to push out software faster and faster — after all, that’s what they are typically hired to accomplish. Operations, on the other hand, knows that rapid-fire changes without proper safeguards could destabilize the system, which goes directly against their charter.

DevOps was created to resolve this dilemma by integrating everyone associated with software development and deployment — business users, developers, test engineers, security engineers, system administrators, and sometimes others — into a single, highly automated workflow with a shared focus: rapid delivery of high-quality software that meets all user requirements while maintaining the integrity and stability of the entire system.

Benefits Of Adopting DevOps

Speed: Move at high velocity so you can innovate for customers faster, adapt to changing markets better, and grow more efficient at driving business results. The DevOps model enables your developers and operations teams to achieve these results. For example, microservices and continuous delivery let teams take ownership of services and then release updates to them quicker.

Improved Customer Experience: DevOps deepens customer engagement by the creation of useful applications in a more responsive way. With the collaborative effort, all applications are developed quickly with utmost care of their needs and wants. DevOps integrated cultural foundation provides the end-users efficiently and regularly improves to maximize customer satisfaction.

Scale: Operate and manage your infrastructure and development processes at scale. Automation and consistency help you manage complex or changing systems efficiently and with reduced risk. For example, infrastructure as code helps you manage your development, testing, and production environments in a repeatable and more efficient manner.

Reduction Of Implementation Failure: DevOps promotes regular code versions due to a shorter development cycle. This in turn results in easy and quick identification of code defects. With agile programming concepts, teams may use their time to decrease the number of implementation failures. Recovery of any loss due to errors is easier when development teams and activities work together to share ideas and grow together.

Improved Collaboration: Build more effective teams under a DevOps cultural model, which emphasizes values such as ownership and accountability. Developers and operations teams collaborate closely, share many responsibilities, and combine their workflows. This reduces inefficiencies and saves time (e.g. reduced handover periods between developers and operations, writing code that takes into account the environment in which it is run).

Increased Productivity and Release Time: With shorter development cycles and streamlined processes, teams are more productive and software is deployed more quickly.

It Gets More Efficient with Time: DevOps simplifies the development lifecycle, which in previous iterations had been increasingly complex. This ensures greater efficiency throughout a DevOps organization, as does the fact that gathering requirements also gets easier. In DevOps, requirements gathering is a streamlined process, a culture of accountability, collaboration and transparency makes requirements gathering a smooth going team effort where no stone is left unturned.

Security: Move quickly while retaining control and preserving compliance. You can adopt a DevOps model without sacrificing security by using automated compliance policies, fine-grained controls, and configuration management techniques. For example, using infrastructure as code and policy as code, you can define and then track compliance at scale.

So, why DevOps matters?

Moving products and services quickly into the market often means risking quality. However, having a well-organized DevOps in place means processes can be accelerated with proper checks and balances along the way.

DevOps is important because it’s a software development and operations approach that enables faster development of new products and easier maintenance of existing deployments.

Next articles:

  1. How to adopt DevOps model
  2. DevOps Practices
  3. DevOps trend to watch in 2022

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Head of Customer Success, Microsoft

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Maor David-Pur

Maor David-Pur

Head of Customer Success, Microsoft

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