What is DevOps? DevOps is a set of tools, cultural philosophies, and practices that automate and combine the process of software development and IT operation teams. As a result, it increases the organization’s potential to deliver applications and services at higher velocity.
Besides, it helps business institutions to evolve and improve production at a faster pace than the traditional one. Its primary focus is on team empowerment, inter and cross-team communication, technology automation, and collaboration. It is not a technical concept; it is a way of collaborating on software development and operations holistically.
In other words, DevOps is an approach in software development that focuses on collaboration and communication between software developers and IT professionals with business stakeholders. As a result, it helps the business to reduce costs, improve efficiency and enhance customer service by reducing downtime due to errors.
It is a set of principles that enable the business to automate service and push features out swiftly to customers and resolve errors and issues faster than the traditional way. It is software development processes that focus on the time-saving advantages of Continuous Integration, Deployment, and Quality Measures.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is the portmanteau of software development (Dev) and Information Technology Operations (Ops). Its primary objective is to shorten the systems development life cycle (SDLC) with continuous delivery with high software quality. DevOps and Agile software development are complementary to each other. It aims to establish a cultural environment; where building, testing, and updating the software happens more frequently, rapidly, and reliably. Speed helps organizations to serve better, compete and stay ahead in the market more effectively.
Definition of DevOps:
DevOps speed up the release of a high-quality software application by combining and automating the work of software development and IT operation teams.
It outlines the software development process and organizational culture shift that speeds up the delivery of best-quality application software by automating and integrating the work of development and IT operation teams.
In other words, DevOps processes and culture extend beyond development and operations, including inputs from all applications stakeholders, application platform and infrastructure engineering, security, compliance, governance, risk management, business model, end-users, and customers – into the software development lifecycle.
How DevOps Works?
It is nothing but automating the process of building, testing, deploying, and maintaining the software application to reduce the time to market for the latest features and functionality. Further, it increases the application reliability and helps the developers to build features quickly without breaking existing functionality. Therefore it delivers software faster without compromising quality.
In the DevOps model, the Operation and Development teams merged and worked together throughout the application lifecycle. They together develop, test, and deploy the system into operation and develop necessary skills and training for the users. The security teams and quality control teams work together with the operation teams for quality output. They use an automated process to enhance the speed. Besides, they use technology and tooling to develop reliable applications more quickly.
The Internet and software development transformed the industries, shopping experience, entertainment, and banking globally. As a result, the software is an integral part of every business, and marketers interact with their clients through software and deliver their online services, including applications. In addition, the software helps the business to improve efficiency by integrating the value chain, such as logistics, communication, and operations.
Benefits of DevOps:
- Rapid Delivery
- Best possible coloration between the teams
How to Adopt a DevOps Model:
The DevOps models remove all barriers between the traditional development and operational teams and make them sit and work together to optimize the productivity and reliability of the development and operations. It makes both teams communicate more frequently to improve efficiency and increase the quality of service they provide to their clients. In addition, they provide quality assurance and security to the service they provide to their clients.
They help the business to innovate faster by automating and streamlining the software development and management process with proper tooling. They perform more frequently with minor updates. Their updates are more incremental in nature than the traditional ones. More frequent minor updates make each and every deployment very less risky. Since the updates are more frequent, the team can easily address bugs faster and identify the deployment that caused the error.
The cadence and size of the update may vary depending on the organization. DevOps models use microservices to make their applications more flexible and innovative.
The Microservices architecture splits large, complex systems into simple, small and independent projects.
The entire application is split into many small independent component services. Each and every service is to function and operate independently of its peer services and the application as a whole. Micro-services architecture reduces the overhead of updating co ordinations of the application to move more quickly.
Though the combination of micro-services and frequent release of updates are more helpful, they lead to significantly more operational challenges and more deployments. On the other hand, the best DevOps practice leads to continuous Integration and delivery, solves the above-said problems, and delivers more rapidly, most reliably, and safely.
The life cycle of DevOps is designed to cover all aspects of software development and deployment, including testing, monitoring, quality control process, and management.
What is DevOps LifeCycle?
DevOps cycle phases are in order from left to right, with every phase building upon the last. DevOps LifeCycle is nothing but a methodology software development teams use to bring quality products more efficiently. It supports innovative thinking, speed, and adaptability to produce, verify, utilize and develop applications.
Key components of DevOps LifeCycle:
- Continuous Development Phase
- Continuous Integration Phase
- Ongoing Testing Phase
- Continuous Monitoring Phase
- Regular Feedback Phase
- Continuous Deployment Phase
- Continuous Operations Phase
Continuous Development Phase:
The continuous development phase involves planning and coding the application software. First, the vision and objective of the project are decided during the planning phase. Then, the developers and software engineers start developing the code for the application software.
Though there are no specific tools used for planning, there are numerous tools for maintaining and enhancing the code. For example, though the developers develop and code the application in any language, but specific Version Control Tools maintain it.
The development phase is very critical in defining the strategy for the software development life cycle. It mostly focuses on program designs for the application. The program needs are obtained and discussed with the partners at this phase.
For continual development, the software design backlog depends on the user inputs; therefore, it is further divided into shorter versions and goals. It is a continual process in which programmers code the program requirement or in the areas available for improvement.
Version Control Tools include Git TFS, SVN, Mercurial, CVS, JIRA, and Subversion and Confluence. In addition, some Business Models choose agile cooperation methods such as Lean, Kanban, and Scrum. Most of the tools discussed here are widely used for complicated tasks and excellent team interaction and coordination during the development phase. Tools like Maven, Gradle, and Ant are used for building the codes into the executable file that can be put forward to the subsequent phases.
The Version Control Tools help to distribute non-linear workflows by providing data assurance for developing the software. Further, they help to establish communication between the Development and Operation teams. In addition, they help the developers to have a stable version of the program code with them.
Continuous Integration (CI):
The Continuous Integration phase is the primary phase of the DevOps life cycle. It is the application development phase at which the software developers modify the source codes more frequently and as and when required. They are committed to detecting the issues early. This phase involves building code, compilation, code review, unit testing, integration testing, and packaging the application.
The coding support functionality is constantly integrated with the existing code or with the source code. Since the development phase is a continuous process of developing the application software, the update codes are needed to be integrated continuously in a free-flow manner. Some developers utilize the Jenkins tool during this phase.
When the developer modifies the repository, Jenkins fetches the updated code and makes a build of code into an executable file in the form of JAR or WAR. This build is put forward to the test servers or production servers for further steps.
Continuous Integration is an ongoing integration. The upgraded application programming, add-on functionality, and addition of codes are merged with the current code during this phase. In this phase, errors and bugs are detected and identified in every stage with the help of the testing phase. The source code is modified and updated accordingly.
Jenkins, CircleCI, Buddy, and GitLab CI are a few of the tools used to improve the quality of the application process more efficiently. Jenkin is the most popular open-source application for automating builds and testing. Whereas Buddy and CircleCi are business products used for Continuous Integration. The CI phase includes different methods involves related to the execution of the test process.
In the CI phase, the input provided by the clients or the end users is also incorporated for adding new features to the application. Most of the modification in the source code happens during the CI phase. The Continuous Integration phase is the hub for frequent modification and incorporates new features into the application. During this phase, the continuous Integration of new code packages with the existing source code. Because of the continuous Integration and development, the updated code is seamlessly integrated within the entire system.
Continuous Testing Phase:
During this phase, the developed code is tested for bugs and errors. In addition, quality analysis is employed to check the usability of the developed application. The Automation tools such as JUnit, Selenium, Jenkins, TestSigma, and TestNG are used for continuous testing; and analyze multiple code bases simultaneously to ensure there is no flaw in the application.
The Docker containers are used in continuous testing in the entire test environment. Once the coding is completed, it is tested for User Acceptance Testing (UAT). The Docker container is a standalone, executable, lightweight package that runs as an application, system tools, system libraries, system settings, and system runtime code.
Nowadays, automation of the entire testing phase is possible with complete automation tools. As a result, automation testing saves time, effort, labor, and money. In addition, automation improves the test assessment reports and reduces the expenses of the testing environment.
Executing the test manually is a cumbersome job. Instead, quality testers use Docker to test the application for faults and issues. If bugs or errors are found in this phase, the application is returned to the integration phase to fix the software again. AI-driven testing automation system like TestSigma employs artificial intelligence to reduce the technical intricacy of test automation.
Continuous Monitoring is a very crucial Operational Phase of the DevOps life cycle. The developers continuously monitor the performance of the application during this phase. The vital data about the application is recorded. This data is further processed to understand the functionality of the application.
The errors such as server not reachable, low memory, and other network issues are resolved in this phase. The root causes for the errors are evaluated during this phase. The operation team monitors the user activity for bugs or any other issues with the application. The tools such as Splunk, Sensu, NewRelic, ELK Stack, and Nagios were employed during this phase.
These tools monitor the application performance and the servers closely and check the health of the network system proactively. The continuous Monitoring phase improves the productivity and reliability of the systems, thereby reducing IT support costs. If any major issues are found, they will be brought to the notice of the development team for fixing. And the error can be fixed by the continuous development phase team.
Since these phases are looped continuously, it leads to a faster resolution to the problems and improves the desired product quality. The objective of the Continuous Monitoring phase is to enhance the efficiency of the application. During the monitoring, the developers can identify the gray areas and general patterns in the applications where more effort is needed.
Proactive checking during this phase improves the reliability and productivity of the system. Further major and crucial issues are directly reported to the development team in the early stage for rectification. Therefore it leads to faster resolution of issues.
Continuous Deployment (CD) focuses on hassle-free product deployment without hindering the application’s performance. It ensures the codes are deployed precisely throughout the servers during this phase. Therefore, this CD phase eliminates the need for scheduled releases and allows the developers to address the problems more quickly and with better accuracy.
In the Continuous Deployment phase, the code is deployed to production servers. And it is important to ensure the code is correctly deployed on all the servers. Configuration management and containerization tools play key roles in the CD phase.
Configuration management establishes and maintains consistency in an application’s functional requirements and performance. It is responsible for releasing deployments to the servers, and it is responsible for scheduling updates on all servers with keeping configuration consistent throughout the servers.
Containerization tools are nothing but virtualization tools. It brings abstraction to the application software. Since the new codes are to be deployed uniformly and continuously, configuration management tools such as SaltStack, Puppet, Chef, and Ansible play a crucial role. Docker and Vagrant are a few of the notable containerization tools used. Both of the tools produce consistency across development testing, staging, and production environments.
Further, they are helping to scaling up and down more swiftly. Containerization tools achieve continuous deployment through configuration management. Containerization brings virtualization to the level of the Operating System.
The production teams distribute the codes and plan the server upgrades keeping the settings remains constant across the production phase. Containerization ensures uniformity between development, testing, operational, and staging system distribution. Thereby it ensures the application can run on different computer systems easily.
Regular Feedback Phase:
The Feedback is nothing but the information collected from the client’s end. It details all the data about the performance of the software and related issues and also the Feedback of the end users. Regular Feedback is essential to analyze the final outcome of the software application. Moreover, it sets the platform to hear the stakeholders’ Feedback to improve the current version or release a new version based on the Feedback.
The overall process of application development can be improved by analyzing the results of the software operation. During the Regular Feedback phase, the end user’s behavior is evaluated periodically on each release to improve future deployments and releases.
After each update, the user experience is evaluated and reported to the team to improve future releases. According to user insight, user sediment, user guidance, and user feedback, the business knows what the users expect. Some business models use tools like Slack, Zoom, Team, Asana, Celoxis, and JIRA.
This Feedback Phase collects data from running and monitoring applications in live production with real users. It is a continuous process, and all parties involve collectively and improve the product.
Continuous Operations involve eliminating or reducing downtime or scheduled maintenance in the lifecycle. It is the parallel phase of the monitoring phase. It increases the uptime.
Most business models use container management systems like Kubernetes or Swarm to achieve the objective. As a result, Kubernetes is the most popular container orchestrating tool employed in microservices.
Kubernetes helps to eliminate downtime considerably. First, they take the container with the software managed by Kubernetes and do the necessary changes to it, while the other containers run by the current version of the software managed by Kubernetes.
When the team deploys the modification to the Kubernetes application, make those changes to all containers present in the server without manual involvement. The container management solution makes the process much easier. In addition, it increases the application’s uptime so that services are uninterrupted.
Continuous Operations focus on maintaining optimal performance, compliances, security, and flawless customer service.