Business and Technical DevOps Benefits for Your Project
Modern tech companies ignoring a DevOps business model are doomed to failure. They'll soon be surpassed by competitors: startups that have paid attention to this issue; therefore their products are being released faster, and their servers aren't being idled by a malfunction or during maintenance periods.
But what is meant by DevOps? The word sounds unfamiliar, intriguing... and rather obscure. Don't worry! We're going to illuminate you on the topic.
We'll answer the questions that may interest you. For example... What is a DevOps environment? Why do we need these experts? What knowledge should they have? What are DevOps tools? And so on!
Interested? Then read our article to find out all the details.
What is a DevOps engineer?
DevOps stands for Development Operations. And if you think DevOps is the name of a profession, then you’re mistaken. Actually, it's about a technique or even a culture.
What is DevOps culture?
Before answering the above question, as well as explaining how DevOps can help your business grow, we’d like to discuss the history of DevOps methodology. Why did it appear in the first place?
It all started in 2008 when there were a lot of accumulated problems related to the ineffective interaction of development and operation teams.
Imagine the situation. Developers, making sure that the code works locally, run it in production. However, problems still arise, and the operation team begins to resent: «These are not our problems, it's about the wrong code! The developers must figure it out!». As you understand, it leads to disputes and, as a result, delayed product releases.
That’s when it was decided to implement DevOps principles.
Why do we need DevOps?
DevOps is a methodology designed to improve software development practices with the active interaction of developers, QA experts, and others: all specialists working in sync on a certain service or product. And, of course, someone should be responsible for ensuring such integration of mutual efforts. As you understand, this "someone" is a DevOps engineer who oversees the solution of problems, which might arise at any stage of the system upgrade or operation.
By applying the DevOps implementation approach, companies are able to quickly create and update their software products and services: those that are already actively working and being used by people in real-time. So any change and improvement should be made very carefully.
What is the role of a DevOps engineer?
Conventionally, there are several key roles in the DevOps culture:
Build Engineer responsible for building code.
Release Engineer working with delivering code in production.
Automation Engineer who automates maximum processes.
Security Engineer who manages the run of security tests and the study of vulnerabilities in the components used.
What companies should implement DevOps strategies?
Any organization whose activity is related to developing applications or managing a large number of servers would benefit by hiring DevOps engineers. These experts are working with such giants as Amazon, Adobe, Walmart, Facebook, Netflix, Etsy. Rather impressive, right?
Of course, small startups, whose task is to launch a minimally viable product and test a new idea, can do without DevOps assistance. Although, even then, it’s not always the case… but first things first.
What is the difference between Agile and DevOps?
Before describing the key aspects of DevOps models, let's take a look at the issue which often causes some sort of confusion.
We mean this one: what is Agile vs. DevOps, what is the difference between them? Can these methodologies replace each other?
What is Agile software development?
Agile is a software development technique, which involves only this particular process. After the software is released, the developers stop being responsible for it and move on to another task.
Agile business strategies can be implemented in different ways, among which are extreme programming, scrum, scrumban, kanban, etc.
What is DevOps methodology compared to Agile?
As with Agile, there are many ways to implement DevOps strategies. However, all existing options have a few things in common, namely: close interaction between software development and operation teams, as well as automation of software deployment processes.
Moreover, DevOps experts say that ensuring maximum software reliability is more important than the speed of its deployment.
By the way, though the two described methodologies (Agile and DevOps) use different methods and approaches, they're able to work together.
What do DevOps engineers do?
We've already touched upon the question, and now it’s time to systematize it a little bit.
Okay, let’s see!
The thing about a DevOps engineer is that he combines many professions including admin, developer, tester, and manager. He synchronizes all stages of creating a software product: from writing code to testing and releasing an application.
What is DevOps technology in practice?
DevOps engineers must:
help to release software and deliver it to the end-user as quickly as possible. The task is extremely important because today market leaders update their cloud services several thousand times a day, and new features are instantly available to users.
automate various processes. We mean testing, deployment, quality control, monitoring of operating system updates, backups, and more.
help to combine development and operation. We’ve already explained why the integration of the efforts of the development and operation teams is crucial.
Simply put, the DevOps engineer is responsible for any automation of tasks related to configuring and deploying applications, as well as monitoring software.
Now it remains to decide on what is better to focus on to implement DevOps best practices - depending on the size and stage of the company development.
Why is DevOps good for business?
This is not about the business value of DevOps; we'll discuss these benefits at length in due course. So far, we want to tell you how the size of the company correlates with the DevOps implementation approach.
#1. Startups and small businesses (up to 5 people)
Why DevOps is important in the case of small businesses? What should these experts do?
automate and simplify the deployment of new versions and bug fixes;
monitor the project in a basic way;
monitor the overall performance of the product and the main usage metrics;
manage server configurations and simplify the introduction of new machines;
do basic tests to cover complex places: say, user scripts, which require hundreds of data fields to be entered;
#2. Companies in the stage of active growth and medium business (5-20 people)
DevOps for businesses of medium size must do the following:
follow the above DevOps recommendations aimed at teams of up to five people.
organize CI/CD system (Continuous Integration / Continuous delivery);
set up in-depth monitoring of all aspects of the software and hardware operation (so that everything works stably, without failures);
automate server configuration management to be able to quickly integrate a new server into a cluster of existing machines;
cover every significant feature of the product with a complete set of tests;
automate and simplify software recovery after failures;
ensure the versioning of backups.
#3. Large-scale companies and large businesses (20+ people)
What is a DevOps model as applied to large companies? Let’s see…
DevOps engineers must…
follow the previous tips;
automatically deploy the entire infrastructure programmatically in order to be able to perform a complex operation in one click: such as the creation of 100 new cloud servers and their integration into an already formed cluster;
automate not only the creation of servers but also all parts of the infrastructure (data storage, networks, load balancers, server communication rules over the network, access rights);
provide absolute fail-operational capability (monitoring systems should immediately detect faults and respond to them independently);
monitor and respond to all security incidents;
conduct exercises and simulations of emergency operations;
perform even more tests.
Business benefits of DevOps
DevOps can improve a business in several ways:
improving customer service and increasing the clients’ satisfaction. One of the main tasks of DevOps is to develop better software and deliver it faster to end-users (which increases the loyalty of the latter);
IT and business integration. Another goal pursued by DevOps is to promote mutual understanding between departments within the company;
innovations and digital transformation. Companies tend to keep up with innovations (such as the Internet of Things), and DevOps can be a good helper in supporting digital services offered to the market. Thus, DevOps effectively frees up resources for innovation;
flexibility. A flexible approach to enterprise-wide development is more efficient because closer cooperation leads to the generation (as well as implementation) of better ideas.
Technical benefits of DevOps
So, what is good about DevOps from a technical point of view?
If we analyze the above advantages, we can say that technically, DevOps improves interaction within the development/operation team, helps to actively develop and scale the project, contributes to the structuring of the infrastructure, and automates as many processes as possible. In short, the effectiveness of software development increases significantly.
What is a DevOps developer's background?
Joe Sanchez, a DevOps expert from VMware (a virtualization software development company), explained what skills a DevOps engineer must have. Of course, he should be familiar with the DevOps methodology, but it's clearly not enough! Therefore, such an expert needs to have:
Windows and Linux administration experience;
experience with automation tools (like Chef, Puppet, Ansible);
the ability to write scripts and code in several demanded programming languages;
understanding of network technologies.
In addition, the DevOps engineer must have a good technical outlook and a desire to self-improve and learn new tools and technologies. It’s crucial because DevOps methodology is constantly evolving.
So, we hope now you understand what is meant by the DevOps methodology and why it is important to allocate resources to implement these practices. And if your budget provision hasn't been made to cover such expenses, start small, from the simplest level. Over time, you'll manage to create a system that effectively meets the needs of your users.
And, of course, let us know if you have any questions or need competent advice.