DevOps is a software development methodology that emphasizes collaboration, communication, and integration between software developers and IT operations teams. The DevOps model relies on a set of cultural philosophies, principles, practices, and tools designed to increase an organization’s ability to deliver software faster and better. This speed allows businesses to better serve their customers and compete in the market.
“DevOps is not a goal, but a never-ending process of continual improvement.” – Jez Humble
What does DevOps stand for?
Although it’s a challenging task for every company, no matter the size or industry, a healthy, secure, and robust IT infrastructure requires synchronizing Development and Operations, also known as DevOps. DevOps brings together the traditionally separate functions of software development and IT operations, with the goal of breaking down the barriers between these teams and improving communication, collaboration, and automation throughout the software delivery pipeline.
By using DevOps practices such as continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment, organizations can streamline the software delivery process and reduce the time and effort required to bring new features and products to market.
What is the goal of the DevOps methodology?
The goal of the DevOps methodology is to improve collaboration between development and operations teams in order to deliver software more quickly, reliably, and efficiently while ensuring its stability and security in production.
DevOps aims to break down the barriers between development and operations teams by promoting a culture of communication, collaboration, and automation. By implementing DevOps practices such as continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment, organizations can streamline the software delivery process and reduce the time and effort required to bring new features and products to market.
The ultimate goal of the DevOps methodology is to improve the overall quality of the software delivery process while reducing the risks associated with software deployment. By fostering a culture of improved collaboration and continuous improvement, DevOps enables organizations to deliver high-quality software that meets the needs of their customers, while also improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their development and operations teams.
What is the role of the DevOps Engineer?
The role of a DevOps engineer is to bridge the gap between development and operations.
They design, implement, and maintain the infrastructure, tools, and processes necessary to enable continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment (CI/CD) of software.
DevOps engineers work closely with development and operations teams to streamline the software delivery process and ensure that software is stable, secure, and reliable in production.
An Overview of the DevOps Philosophy
Onboarding Development Methodologies Within Operations
The underlying concepts of DevOps have been around since 2007 and started as an effort to implement popular development frameworks in Operations. At the time, methodologies such as Agile, Lean software development, and Extreme Programming were becoming more successful in terms of popularity and adoption rates.
The practices were primarily aimed at improving development workflows by leveraging the focus on business while ensuring better quality, speed, and relevance on deliveries.
Operation specialists, in general, and infrastructure engineers, in particular, have specific workflows and expectations. Therefore, they could not apply developer methodologies out of the box and without adaptations.
But did it really need adaptations in the sense of revising and modifying the existing frameworks?
One of the first and main challenges met while integrating those development methodologies was collaborating with development teams.
At that time and even today, more than a decade later, developers and operation engineers mostly work in silos with complex relationships. This is mainly due to differing expectations. If developers focus primarily on change and evolution, operation engineers look for stability in production environments.
Rather than changing the framework, DevOps has been created as an attempt to include Operations into existing workflows by enhancing collaboration with developers and adding or improving a few principles, such as automation and measurement.
DevOps does not provide straightforward guidelines for improved collaboration. Each organization will apply different solutions. Two of the most popular approaches are to integrate DevOps engineers into the development team or provide developers with a self-service infrastructure that they can manage by themselves. Although uncommon, these approaches highlight the importance of collaboration in the foundations of DevOps principles, like the CAMS Pillars.
Foundations of the DevOps Approach
DevOps is a cultural approach and a mindset. DevOps is not a framework; it doesn’t have a manifesto like Agile or an official set of rules like Scrum. Still, to be implemented successfully, it requires at least a consensus around guidelines.
Like a North Star, at Pentalog, we particularly like the proposition provided in “The DevOps Handbook”, written by Gene Kim: “IT system is faster, safer and easier to change”.
As DevOps grew into what is now called the new “normal” when it comes to software development, experts have also made several attempts to provide generic guidelines. The most famous and largely accepted definition of the DevOps foundations is probably the CAMS Pillars.
CAMS is an acronym for:
Culture is essential for the success of a DevOps team. Its basis is collaboration, meaning that everyone involved in the project works together and uses a standard set of values, tools, and workflows. They share a common goal and have a plan to achieve it together.
Encouraging cross-collaboration between different teams and allowing them to stay up-to-date with each other’s projects, ideas, and challenges is the best way to ensure efficiency when it comes to management or troubleshooting.
Reducing repetitive manual work is critical in the DevOps methodology, which promotes automation throughout the digital lifecycle. Automation not only helps to create safer and faster releases but also supports the other DevOps principles. For instance, automation is done through scripting, which promotes visibility, thus culture and sharing among teams.
Based on Lean and Agile, DevOps practices promote continuous improvement and the ability to anticipate defects, allowing teams to constantly learn in order to optimize the product and improve work quality.
With the help of the latest technologies, teams are implementing continuous monitoring to ensure a safe and reliable system, detecting and ideally fixing errors before they even occur.
Measuring performance provides valuable data for your teams, allowing them to make the best decisions based on quantifiable information. Meanwhile, testing enables the anticipation of issues and the assessment of an upgrade before release.
Sharing is the foundation of DevOps, allowing the existence of culture, automation, and measurement. This groundbreaking shift in mindset means that teams share their knowledge, tools, flows, information, and objectives, allowing them to create better digital products more quickly. Shared ownership is promoted, as it improves the capacity of the team to architect, produce, and fix the solution they are in charge of.
Key DevOps Principles and Practices
The DevOps approach is a set of key principles and practices that emphasizes collaboration, communication, and integration between software development and IT operations teams. Here are the main components of the DevOps approach:
- Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD): Adopting a CI/CD pipeline is one of the most important DevOps practices. It involves automating the process of building, testing, and deploying code changes to production environments. This ensures that new features and bug fixes are deployed quickly and reliably.
- Infrastructure as Code (IaC): IaC involves treating infrastructure as code and using tools like Terraform, Ansible, or CloudFormation to automate the provisioning and management of infrastructure resources. This helps to ensure consistency and reproducibility of infrastructure environments.
- Version Control: Version control is essential to DevOps practices. Using a version control system like Git enables developers to manage code changes, collaborate on code, and track changes over time.
- Automated Testing: Automated tests are crucial to ensuring that code changes are free of bugs and issues before they are deployed to production environments. Automated testing can include unit testing, integration testing, and end-to-end testing.
- Monitoring and Logging: Monitoring and logging enable DevOps teams to identify and resolve issues quickly. Monitoring tools can be used to track application and infrastructure performance, while logging tools can be used to capture events and errors for analysis.
- Collaboration and Communication: DevOps practices emphasize the importance of collaboration and communication between development and operations teams. Tools like Slack, Teams, and Jira can be used to facilitate communication and collaboration across teams.
- Security: DevOps teams must prioritize security at all stages of the development process. This includes conducting security testing, implementing access controls, and ensuring that sensitive data is protected.
The DevOps Lifecycle: How DevOps Works
DevOps works by integrating development and operations teams and processes to improve collaboration, communication, and automation throughout the software delivery pipeline. The following are the key steps involved in the DevOps process:
- Plan: This phase involves the planning and design of software products, identifying user requirements and defining project objectives.
- Develop: In this phase, development teams write code and test the software using automated testing tools.
- Test: During this phase, the software is tested for functionality, performance, security, and usability. Testing is typically done using automated testing tools.
- Deploy: In this phase, the software is deployed to production environments using automated deployment tools.
- Operate: Once the software is deployed, it is monitored and maintained using automated monitoring and maintenance tools.
- Monitor: In this phase, the software is continuously monitored for issues, and the data collected is used to improve future iterations of the software.
- Iterate: Based on the feedback and data collected from the monitoring phase, development teams iterate on the software, making improvements and adding new features as necessary.
DevOps enables organizations to deliver high-quality software more quickly and efficiently, while also promoting a culture of collaboration and innovation that can drive long-term success.
The main benefits of DevOps include:
- Faster time-to-market: DevOps enables organizations to deliver software more quickly by automating many of the processes involved in software development and delivery.
- Improved collaboration: DevOps promotes a culture of communication and collaboration between development and operations teams, leading to better alignment of goals and improved productivity.
- Greater efficiency: DevOps practices such as continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment allow organizations to streamline the software delivery process and reduce the time and effort required to bring new products and features to market.
- Improved quality: DevOps practices such as automated testing and monitoring help to ensure that software is stable, secure, and reliable in production, leading to improved customer satisfaction and reduced risk of downtime or other issues.
- Increased innovation: By reducing the time and effort required to bring new products and features to market, DevOps enables organizations to be more responsive to changing customer needs and market conditions, leading to increased innovation and competitive advantage.
- Improved scalability: DevOps practices such as infrastructure as code enable organizations to easily scale their software applications to meet changing demand, without the need for manual intervention.
DevOps Tools, Solutions and Platforms
Since its beginning, DevOps has inspired and has been inspired by innovations in both technology and practices. One of the main reasons why DevOps is the go-to solution for implementing a reliable software development strategy is the tools it powers.
The scope of DevOps spans across system integration and deployment and allows the automation of multiple processes throughout the entire software development lifecycle. DevOps Engineers have access to a wide range of technical solutions and can leverage the capabilities of multiple tools to deploy DevOps successfully.
Tools & Solutions
The choice of the right tooling to ensure efficient DevOps implementation may vary depending on the organization’s needs and goals. Here are some of the most commonly used tools in DevOps:
- Version Control Systems: Git, Subversion, and Mercurial are popular version control systems used in DevOps for managing code changes.
- Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) Tools: Jenkins, Travis CI, CircleCI, and GitLab CI/CD are commonly used CI/CD tools that automate the building, testing, and deployment of code changes.
- Infrastructure as Code (IaC) Tools: Terraform, Ansible, and CloudFormation are popular IaC tools used for provisioning and managing infrastructure resources.
- Containerization Tools: Docker and Kubernetes are widely used containerization tools that enable developers to package applications into containers and manage them at scale.
- Monitoring and Logging Tools: Prometheus, ELK Stack, and Datadog are popular monitoring and logging tools used to track software and infrastructure performance and identify issues.
- Collaboration and Communication Tools: Slack, Teams, and Jira are commonly used collaboration and communication tools that enable teams to share knowledge and work together effectively.
- Testing and Quality Assurance Tools: Selenium, JUnit, and Cucumber are popular testing and quality assurance tools used to ensure that software is reliable and free of bugs.
The most popular Cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, and Google Cloud Platform) are clearly pushing for DevOps. Their philosophy is not only to provide more automation to ease the infrastructure implementation and scalability, but also to open it to developers. Many features can be cited:
- Infrastructure as Code
- Function as a Service / Serverless
- Containers orchestration hosting
- SaaS interface
- Pay as you go
Below is a list of popular services and tools provided by Cloud platforms that can be used for DevOps:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS): AWS offers a wide range of services that can be used for DevOps, including EC2 for compute resources, S3 for object storage, and CloudFormation for infrastructure-as-code. AWS also offers services like CodePipeline, CodeDeploy, and CodeBuild for continuous integration and delivery.
- Microsoft Azure: Microsoft Azure provides a range of services for DevOps, including compute, storage, and database services. Azure also offers services like Azure DevOps, which includes tools for continuous integration, delivery, and deployment.
- Google Cloud Platform (GCP): GCP provides a range of services that can be used for DevOps, including Compute Engine for compute resources, Cloud Storage for object storage, and Cloud Functions for serverless computing. GCP also offers services like Cloud Build, Cloud Source Repositories, and Stackdriver for monitoring and logging.
More evidence is the use of the word “DevOps” in the certification programs of those three major platforms. For example, in AWS: “DevOps Engineer” or “DevOps Solution Architect”. It’s actually become so popular that the term DevOps is also used to designate a role. Use of the word as a role is likely now more popular than its original meaning as a set of practices, which often creates a lot of confusion in the IT industry.
DevOps vs Agile
“Agile and DevOps are for harnessing integration, interaction, and innovation.” – Pearl Zhu
DevOps and Agile are two complementary methodologies that share many of the same values and principles, but focus on different aspects of software development.
Agile is a software development methodology that emphasizes collaboration, flexibility, and continuous improvement. It is focused on delivering working software in small, incremental iterations, with a focus on customer satisfaction and responsiveness to changing requirements.
DevOps, on the other hand, is a methodology focused on the integration of development and operations teams, with the goal of delivering software quickly, reliably, and continuously. It emphasizes automation, monitoring, and collaboration between teams, with the goal of reducing time-to-market and improving software quality.
While Agile focuses on the development process, DevOps focuses on the entire software delivery pipeline, from development to testing to deployment and beyond. Both methodologies promote a culture of collaboration and continuous improvement, and share many of the same values, such as customer satisfaction, flexibility, and responsiveness to change.
In practice, many organizations adopt both Agile and DevOps methodologies, with Agile providing the framework for software development and DevOps providing the infrastructure and processes necessary to enable continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment of software. By combining the strengths of both methodologies, organizations can achieve faster time-to-market, higher quality software, and greater customer satisfaction.
DevSecOps: Bringing Security into DevOps
DevSecOps is a methodology that integrates security practices into the DevOps process to improve the security and compliance of software systems. It emphasizes collaboration between development, operations, and security teams, with the goal of identifying and addressing security risks early in the software delivery process.
DevSecOps seeks to shift security left in the software development lifecycle, which means incorporating security practices earlier in the development process. This approach enables security issues to be identified and resolved earlier, reducing the risk of vulnerabilities and improving the overall security of the software.
In addition to integrating security practices into the DevOps process, DevSecOps also involves the use of automated security testing and analysis tools, as well as the adoption of security best practices, such as continuous monitoring and threat modeling.
Success of DevOps
DevOps has clearly seen spectacular growth over the past several years. And, infrastructure-related automation technologies such as Docker or Continuous Integration tools have become the standard.
DevOps practices and the culture itself have seen an increase in interest and adoption rates. Major IT companies – Google, Amazon, Netflix, Facebook, and Etsy – made the switch a while ago.
Today, there is a real trend and an appetite among companies of all sizes to leverage DevOps, and the business is growing.
Google trends clearly show a huge increase since 2013:
Since 2014, the DevOps market size has almost tripled and is expected to continue growing in the coming years:
According to Puppet Labs’ State of DevOps report published in 2016, which collected data from more than 25,000 technology professionals, companies using effective DevOps practices outperform other companies in the following areas:
- 30 times more frequent code changes and deployments
- 200 times faster code changes and deployments lead time
- 60 times higher success rate production deployments
- 168 times faster service restoration
- 2 times more likely to exceed productivity, market shares, and profitability goals
- 50% higher rate of market capitalization growth
At Pentalog, we have implemented DevOps into all of our development projects. We support and coach clients worldwide into adopting DevOps and creating a culture based on its best practices.
Our DevOps specialists can support your DevOps transformation through a wide variety of services — architecture, engineering, consultation, and more — all in an Agile-enabled environment.
Pentalog is also AWS Consulting Partner and can help you leverage the AWS ecosystem and tools.
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