AWS focused DevOps deployment flow – pros and cons!

by Sean Dixon

The world of DevOps is changing the way we look at IT. Gone are the days of silos and islands of technology, and in their place are cross-functional teams and end-to-end responsibility.

While the change is welcomed, it also poses a number of challenges for the individual contributors to a DevOps team. One of the biggest is how to deploy code efficiently and effectively, taking into consideration the needs of the business as well as the technologies involved.

Best Practices For Deployment

To get the best from your DevOps team, you need to ensure they are working within a clean environment. One way of doing this is by using a continuous integration server, which can help automatically deploy code changes as soon as they are checked in. This way, there are no manual steps involved and no opportunity for human error.

If a change breaks something, it will be easier to pinpoint the problem and correct it. Automatically deploying code also means code gets tested more often, which in turn means you will get fewer issues to sort out later on.

The Downsides Of Automatic Deployment

It’s great to have a team of developers working behind the scenes to make your life easier, but there are times when an automatic deployment strategy can be a bad idea. Sometimes, you might want to give someone else the responsibility of preparing the environment for a new functionality or project.

If you’re taking this route, make sure you do your research into the company who will be handling the deployment. Will they have the skills necessary to do the job? How fast can they move? Will they be upfront about any problems they find?

Why Manual Deployment Is Still Relevant

As exciting as automating code deployment is, it isn’t the only way of delivering value to your organization. You can also give someone the responsibility of manually deploying code changes before the CI/CD server kicks in.

While automated deployment is preferred, manual testing and deployment can still be used to confirm that a change will work as expected before it goes live. In some instances, this can be a better option than waiting for the code to be deployed automatically. For example, if there is a bug in the code that the developer didn’t pick up on.

The benefits of manual testing and deployment are that you can find out any problems ahead of time and correct them. This way, you won’t have to worry about unexpected issues popping up once the code is live.

Making The Process More Human-friendly

If you’re already using a continuous integration server and want to make the process of deployment even more streamlined and enjoyable, why not consider using a tool that makes it easier for developers to test their changes?

In some instances, a developer might want to give their code a quick test before they go live. For this purpose, some tools offer support for quick and dirty developer testing, allowing for some basic testing without having to set up the full build environment.

If you’re using Linux containers, these can be easily configured to be used this way, without the need for a second machine. If not, it’s still possible to use a Dockerfile to quickly spin up a development environment, then code in that environment and finally, destroy the containers once your work is done.

Efficiency Of Deployment

The efficiency of code deployment is important, especially if you are deploying a lot. If you are using a continuous integration server, automated deployment can be a timesaver. It can also help you determine how much time a particular task takes, so you can plan your work accordingly.

For instance, if a deployment takes significantly longer than you expected, you can always investigate why. Is it because the environment is more complex than you anticipated? Does the machine you’re using have enough processing power? Is it the size of the project you’re working on?

Maintainability Of Code

Making your code more maintainable is one of the primary drivers behind adopting a DevOps mindset. If you want to keep your team motivated and productive, you need to ensure they are working within a clean environment. One way of doing this is by using source code control, which allows for collaborative editing and ensures all team members are up to date with the latest developments. This way, you can be sure that any updates to the code base will be reflected in everyone’s local copies.

If a developer checks in code that breaks something, it will be easier to trace the problem to its root cause. If you’re using automated deployment, you can also have the code automatically fixed before you even know about it.

Continuous Learning

Continuous learning is one of the primary drivers behind adopting a DevOps mindset. As the software development community matures, there are more and more ways for developers to get their hands on new technology and learn how to use it effectively. Continuous training means you’re continually bringing in new information and skills for your team to learn.

To get the best out of your team, you need to ensure they are constantly learning. One of the most effective ways of doing this is by using a curriculum that is based on progressive learning. This means you can introduce new things to the team gradually, and have them learn how to use those tools and techniques effectively.

For example, you could start with a basic Linux course, then move on to an advanced Docker course. Along the way, you can introduce things such as Kubernetes, Jenkins, and Puppet to further the team’s knowledge.

By regularly bringing in new material, you can show your team the benefits of continuing to learn. This will in turn, help you retain their interest in the work and ensure they continue to produce good code.

Less Stress

Reducing the amount of stress your team is under is one of the primary drivers behind adopting a DevOps mindset. The key to reducing stress is by using a combination of the above strategies. By regularly doing things in a certain way, you can show your team the benefits of continuous integration and deployment. Therefore, they will begin to see a decrease in their workload and be better able to focus on what is important to them.

The key to a successful DevOps team is trust. If you trust your team to produce code that works for your business, they will be more than willing to continue delivering value to your organization.

More Engagement With Customers

The world of DevOps is all about collaboration. Having a team of developers working together to provide value to your business is one way of having a more engaged relationship with your customers. By regularly checking in on projects and providing support, you can show your team that you are genuinely interested in what they are doing and whether or not it is meeting your expectations.

To get the best out of your team, you need to be sure they are constantly learning. You can do this by regularly bringing in new information and skills for them to learn. Along with this, you can introduce new technologies and tools to help them do their jobs more efficiently. This will, in turn, help you reduce your workload and allow you to focus on more important things in your business.

With a team of experienced and highly-trained developers working for you, you can be sure your business will be using the latest technologies to stay competitive. To learn more about how our DevOps experts can help your business succeed, contact us today.

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