We want to have a fast paced product release cycle. But we don’t have a smooth, free from errors, easy to change, easy to roll out and easy to rollback product and service management processes. So whenever we come to the point of a new release, we experience chaos, we experience arguments about whose fault it is and at the end we experience delays on the release schedule. All the efforts till that point do not mean anything because we are not able to deploy the application successfully.
If you dig up this issue, you will always see that we have communication problems, we have collaboration problems, we have coordination problems and similar things at the root of this failure. The parts of the same organization fail to synchronize to meet the requirements of a successful project.
So it’s important to recognize that the root of the problem is about people and people-related factors tend to be the greatest challenges. At that point, a hot topic of our IT industry, DevOps comes into play. But what is DevOps and why do we need it? The answer is below, keep reading!
What is DevOps and its Challenge?
I think the best way to understand what DevOps is, to compare it with something similar. If you compare it with Agile, as it’s done in here, you will see that DevOps addresses the gap between developer, tester and ops people while agile does the same between customer and developer. Both of the methodologies bring a similar, yet different solutions to the problem.
The challenges of ops people are mainly structural rather than code-based. The structure and the environment has a greater impact on the processes. Containerization, Container Orchestration, Cloud Technologies and the technologies like Infrastructure as Code (IaC) help the organizations to tackle the problems. So, one part of the issue could be dealt with by those technologies and DevOps brings some useful tools to the table to overcome the issue. The purpose of these tools is to make the processes automated, away from human intervention, minimize the effects of environment changes and build flexible structures. This is the easy part of the problem. You can boost your effectiveness with contemporary tools.
But we should also address the other side of the problem. In order to handle it, DevOps requires the organizations to divide the problem of big releases into small pieces by reducing the amount of time for a release cycle. So, how the developers, testers, and ops people work, should conform to that change. But before that, the mindset of those IT professionals should change at the very beginning.
Why do we need DevOps?
a. Automation Perspective
In today’s fast-paced world, organizations must be quick enough to respond to the changes in the market. If they are not fast enough to respond to the change, they would not be in the market with the trending product, at the right time and location. So on the way to success, it is definitely a life-saving strategy to follow and catch the market needs rapidly.
Automation plays a major role in this tangible goal. It’s also a part of the solution to the problems we face today. Since human intervention means risks to a process, automation is the solution to minimize it. Automation also conforms to the iterative approach of Agile methodology. In every iteration of Agile, you take the same steps with similar approaches. Without the automation, the same procedures will waste the same amount of time for every iteration.
The ultimate goal of DevOps is to bring high quality within the most effective time spent. DevOps pipelines have brought some terms like Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery or Continuous Deployment. With Continuous Integration, DevOps aims to reduce the time spent on testing and the amount of code that is not tested. It’s measured with the percentage of code not tested and known as the code coverage. So the automation in Continuous Integration or CI wants the code to be assured in quality and wants it to be done quickly in every iteration.
Continuous Delivery or Continuous Deployment targets to reduce the amount of time to deploy the code. The infrastructure and its configuration should be automatically provisioned with some special tools like Terraform, Ansible, Chef etc. No manual tasks should be repeated for every single machine. Automation also provides a flexible deployment strategy, like rolling back to a previous version easily.
Long story short, automation can help you get rid of repetitive, manual processes and allows your teams to be more productive, less error-prone, more collaborative. Automation gives more time for the team that they can spend it on more meaningful thoughtful work.
b. Culture (Mindset) Perspective
Currently, in DevOps certainly we have some tools that make everything easier. But there is something else for sure that you cannot solve a cultural problem with just using some tools. You cannot change people with just tooling. You need people embracing the values of this new culture. So the mindset of your staff should be tuned as well (if it’s not already aligned with this culture). And it is not that easy. You should definitely give some time and education for the people to grasp the idea. The nice thing is that the IT people are the ones open and receptive to this new mindset. Because the IT business lives in the heart of change. Now, let’s take a look at the business environment before DevOps.
Before DevOps, the development teams were living in a universe while ops teams were struggling in another. Communication was a major issue. Development, testing and deployment branches were having different life cycles. They were not integrated well enough and synchronization among the teams was a big problem.
What DevOps brings to the companies as part of a culture, are communication, integration, and collaboration among IT professionals. DevOps requires these abilities, because the engineers of different branches should help each other on a single page in order to have a running pipeline. DevOps Engineers have an important role here to manage this whole setup, its coordination or necessary communication.
c. Cloud Perspective
i. What is the relationship between Cloud and DevOps?
The technology that DevOps implements is diverse and sometimes very much complex. So the technical setup that a DevOps Engineer uses may require lots of skills and time to accomplish. The same thing is addressed in here, with the next sentence. “Advanced applications need advanced technology stacks that require a great effort to develop and configure. Cloud computing has delivered developers seamless access to development platforms in minutes, instead of months needed earlier.”
So, the dynamic DevOps operations require a flexible infrastructure. When you need it, you should build it in seconds and when the job is done, you should be able to tear it down again easily. Hence, using cloud utilities is very much suited to the automation of tasks due to its scalable, flexible, cost-effective and resource-efficient environment.
ii. Shift to Cloud
Infrastructure trends show that the shift to cloud or technically migration to cloud continues and will continue. According to Gartner, “By 2024, more than 45% of IT spending on system infrastructure, infrastructure software, application software, and business process outsourcing will shift from traditional solutions to Cloud. This evolution makes cloud computing one of the most continually disruptive forces in IT markets since the early days of the digital age.”
Today’s rapidly changing business environment dictates the organizations to be flexible and the cloud has a key role to achieve this. Organizations depending on the cloud environment are much more resilient to change and they can adapt easier to the dynamics of 21st-century businesses.
As a Result
DevOps is needed because it fills the gaps within an organization, and provides to be at the leading edge in the market and the organizations should adopt it not just by some tooling but with all their hearts and minds to survive. That’s why we are nurturing the DevOps culture at the very center of our organization here at Nioya Tech.