What is DevOps and Why Does it Matter?

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Big names like Amazon, Target, Netflix, Etsy, Walmart, and Hertz are increasingly adopting DevOps for their application development. With attention now turned to software-driven business operations, process automation, and microservices-based architecture, it is projected that the DevOps software market will experience remarkable growth from $2.9 billion in 2017 to a worth of $6.6 billion by 2022. Before 2017, 66% of global organizations had adopted the DevOps methodology for their software development life cycle. This number grew to 74% by 2017 and has since increased significantly. Software engineers who intend to specialize in DevOps should consider undertaking more specialized DevOps Courses after engineering introduction and some experience. Other roles within software engineering include front-end engineer, backend engineer, full-stack engineer, and security engineer.

What is DevOps

DevOps can be defined from an engineering, cultural, and practice perspective.

DevOps is a culture or mindset that embraces shared understanding, shared responsibility, and collaboration between the software development and operations roles. The word ‘DevOps’ is essentially a combination of two words, development and operations. Thus it breaks down the silos that once existed between these two teams, allowing them to work together collaboratively to design, develop, and deploy software and software features and this comes with several advantages as we shall see below. For the benefits of DevOps to be realized, a cultural shift should be supported and initiated at the organizational level and then trickled down to the other teams in the organization.

From the perspective of software engineering, DevOps is one of the subsets of software engineering that is concerned with code releases or deployments through a CI/CD pipeline. DevOps engineers are software engineers that have taken time to learn DevOps and mastered the technologies and tools required to develop and manage application infrastructure and systems through which back-end software and distributed systems are built, deployed, and released to end-users.

Finally, DevOps is a set of best practices or a combination of approaches that enables DevOps teams to develop and deploy solutions in shorter, faster, and frequent iterations as well as maintain the applications easily to promote efficiency across IT functions. Such practices include continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD), real-time monitoring, as well as efficient collaboration, communication, and transparency across DevOps teams and other stakeholders.

It is important to note that DevOps encompasses the organization of the entire software development life cycle including the tools, technologies, automation, and best practices.

The DevOps life cycle

Ideally, the DevOps is implemented into the process of application development. It comprises the following phases which together form the DevOps lifecycle.

  1. Continuous integration. The practice of developing and integrating code changes from multiple contributors into a shared repository. The code integration process is automated which enables an automated check of the codes to detect problems before integration.
  2. Continuous delivery. All code changes after integration, are automatically deployed to the production environment after the build phase.
  3. Continuous testing. Executing continuous automated tests throughout the application development life cycle to evaluate the quality of the software and obtain feedback on its risk to the business through every step of its development.
  4. Continuous feedback. Enables continuous feedback allows for continuous evaluation of user experience and improvement of future releases.
  5. Continuous monitoring. The process of monitoring and identifying compliance and security issues within the DevOps pipeline.
  6. Continuous deployment. All changes that have been deployed to the production pipeline are released automatically to the end-user. This allows for continuous feedback from the end-users.
  7. Continuous operations. DevOps operations are grounded on the philosophy of continuity. With automation of the application or code release processes, consistency and high quality are achievable and the overall time-to-market of the solution shortened.

Why does DevOps matter?

DevOps is a software development approach in which allows for fast efficient development and release of high-quality solutions to the end-users. Adopting the DevOps culture and best practices comes with a host of benefits which in turn delivers an overall positive impact on business operations by enhancing efficiency. According to the State of DevOps Report for 2017, high-performing organizations that have adopted DevOps spend 21% less time on unanticipated work and rework and 44% more time on new solutions.

Some benefits associated with adopting DevOps include:

  • Shorter development cycles

A collaborative effort between the development and operations team in developing a solution takes a shorter time compared to when teams work independently. Collaboration paves way for faster innovation, faster development, and faster resolution of incidences.

  • Reduced incidences of implementation failure

Programming defects are the main cause for the implementation failure of applications. Shorter programming cycles enable frequent code changes such that detecting defects and recovering code is easier and faster.

  • Greater efficiency

DevOps is focused on reorganizing an organization’s people, operational structures, and culture into one collaborative and shared working environment. This encompasses collaboration of multiple teams and automation of processes which optimizes efficiency.

  • Focus on adaptability

The technology landscape is characterized by constant change. There are more emerging IT technologies and tools more than ever and customer expectations keep growing. An organization’s ability to adapt to constant change determines how well it will satisfy and retain its customers and remain ahead of the competition. DevOps, through improved collaboration and communication, makes adaptability possible and seamless.

  • Effective communication and cooperation

Communication and cooperation are fruits of collaboration. Collaboration is not merely a joint working approach between the development and operations team but culture and/or mindset shift. This culture opens up a productive working environment across IT functions and moves away from individualism. Trust and transparency are built as both teams own the solution being developed which spurs collaborative innovation in development.

Conclusion

Organizations are increasingly adopting cloud infrastructure for their operations including application development. DevOps is the technology that will help companies drive the development of innovative solutions by leveraging the cloud.

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