Top 9 DevOps Principles

DevOps Principles

The demand for faster and constantly improving digital experience is skyrocketing and for that icing on the cake is – DevOps which is the new buzzword in the companies to develop and release all the software applications, quicker and better. Thus, the demand of DevOps with cloud projects in the market is increasing tremendously to streamline Software Development Life Cycle. Combination of DevOps and Clouds are at the hip as it enables application development in speed-to-delivery all the expectation of the business units, user demands are easily merged in the software, lower development costs including testing deployment and operations. Here is the sneak peek of DevOps and DevOps principles important for your success.

Nowadays, DevOps is the most discussed approach in software development and there are a lot of companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Sap, Facebook, and many more Fortune companies are using it. The best advantage of DevOps is that it improves product delivery and simplifies its maintenance to a great extent. 

From a quite a long time, development and operations were working in silos. Developers handle the coding part, and Operations team or system administrators handle deployment and integration in an isolated manner. While working on the same project, there was very limited communication between the duos. It was very prominent in the waterfall development model, but in Agile, a continuous workflow is essential. This new approach has changed the world of software development with short sprints and frequent releases which ignites new team roles. 

DevOps isn’t just a follower of detailed best practices guide, rather they support software and technology along with the tools that function in the most desired manner. However, as per the market trend, companies are also searching for cloud’s deployment and monitoring for which DevOps are the perfect candidate for all the needs. Considering everything, DevOps doesn’t just simplify the software application and work in company hardware, rather they are the best bits of tech that lubricate the entire software development process and ensure working as a well-oiled machine.

What is DevOps?

In layman language, DevOps is a portmanteau of two terms- Developers and Operations which were earlier isolated modules.  

What is DevOps

DevOps is a part of software development culture that unites all three elements- development, operations, and quality assurance in order to optimize software production. It is based on the belief that all three components are interconnected and that each needs to work at full capacity to reach an organization’s full potential. DevOps bridges the gap between these three elements, allowing for teams to work in unison to build more effective products on a faster timeline. The name DevOps itself came after realizing the similarity of goals for two people and combining them to deliver high- quality software and that too in record time.

How DevOps is Leading Teams to the Cloud?

DevOps continues to make high waves in the IT industry to turn slow software teams into supercharged powerhouse. As per the statistics, DevOps achieve 52% increase in the performance on their own, whereas Cloud engineer achieved 53% enhancement in performance. According to a survey, if companies are using both DevOps as well as Cloud can increase performance by 81%, which is in return a huge improvement. The use of DevOps in the cloud simplifies and speeding up a development process

Due to the huge application development backlog, enterprise leaders moved from the waterfall model to DevOps, but that was not enough. The potential of high cost of hardware and software slows the development process despite being agile, thus DevOps had to inculcate Cloud in their domain. It won’t be wrong to say that DevOps won’t have that much value without cloud as they will have it with cloud, so they go hand in hand together.

If you are also planning to make a move from a developer or operations to DevOps, the good news is that it does not require any technical innovation. All you need to do is adapt the right DevOps principles according to the organization’s needs.

DevOps Principles

DevOps is a methodology that encompasses principles encompassing collaboration, sharing, communication, automation, CI/CD (Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD)) and many more.

Following are the principles which are an absolute necessity for DevOps successful implementation in an organization. 

1. Incremental Releases

In the earlier times, operations had to wait for a long time to deploy code. A delay in the release of the code results in bottlenecks or also called “merge hell.” Due to this lag, they are unable to perform any actions and result in a lot of errors or some incompatibility issues which are quite inevitable.

As per the DevOps methodology, software developers are able to contribute their new code easily and as often as possible, without any hitch. A single project is distributed in chunks which are small and convenient for all the teams to submit code well on time. DevOps provide a large amount of inertia to keep the momentum going for the code to get it released to production even if it has updates, bug fixes or need some troubleshooting, the deployment cycle is very flexible. Incremental releases can be on a daily, weekly, or monthly basis and the ultimate goal is to put a stop on deploying bad code to the end- user which usually results in lots of issues which are simply avoided by it.

2. Automation

Another critical principle of DevOps is automation. Automation defines workflows while helping developers to concentrate primarily on writing code for upcoming new features. Anything and almost everything should be automated in the DevOps environment for fast delivery. Just for one instance, software developers need not to waste their crucial time on checking errors in the code, rather they use special software solutions to build and test their applications automatically. A single command would be enough to compile the whole source code to check for errors and examine if it will work similarly without any glitch. 

In case the application is written in scripting languages such as JavaScript or HTML that does not require any compiler, DevOps team can run some automated tests and ensure that the code is production-ready or not. If there is any bug or error, it will trigger an alert to inform software developers about compile time errors in the lines. 

Automations also plays a major role in infrastructure management procedures. In the DevOps environment, software developers are able to use Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC). According to IaC, developers indulge in defining configuration and Ops teams become more involved in the development process using the infrastructure automation tools also known as a major component of a DevOps toolchain. Infrastructure-automation software helps the team in provisioning and commissioning of the available resources. It includes API’s, CLI’s and utilizing scripts and automating the whole process rather than doing everything manually. Also, they can utilize virtual machines, containers, storage, bare metal cloud servers and other infrastructure. By using these resources, teams can easily focus on building and deploying software with new features or to fix bugs from the old versions.

3. DevOps Pipeline

DevOps works in the repeatable system which is an infinity loop to ensure continuity in development with the help of pipelines. A pipeline is a system of four stages through which code will have to pass before deploying in the system to production. Following are the four phases of the DevOps Pipeline: –

  • Develop- In this phase, each feature is divided in small modules and assigned to developers to increase efficiency and productivity. After completing the code, “functions” are made which take an input and return an ideal output. 
  • Build- After that, the team compiles the whole code in the form of build and checks for the errors, if any.
  • Test- Then, Ops team runs several tests to ensure new code written by the team works properly in the production environment.
  • Deploy- This is the most important phase. During deployment, it must be ensured that the testing for interfaces between modules is covered with the help of test cases written by QA engineers known as System Integration Test for stability and functionality test.
  • Production-In the production, the product is staged for users by rolling out in segments right from 1%, 5%, 20% , 50% and 100% especially for medium-scale and large-scale deployments to find any potential bugs and feedback.
DevOps Pipeline

DevOps team employ critical strategies to ensure proper flow in the pipeline of code with the help of the Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD), also known as CI/CD.

In the Continuous Integration, it enables many developers to submit and merge the code regularly whereas Continuous Delivery is about releasing codes in the production as and when required. The thumb rule is “continuous everything” which simply means creating a never-ending development and deployment to ensure continuity in the pipelines.

4. Continuous Integration

In the DevOps pipeline, Continuous Integration (CI) plays an important role to encourage developers to submit their code in the central repository several times a day. Instead of fitting huge code in just one day, DevOps prefer integration of small chunks of code regularly which reduces the chance of blockages or services interruptions significantly. Some industry- leading organizations push new code hundreds of times in a single day. 

Another important aspect is automated testing of CI. Before committing whole code to the master branch, small builds of the project are created to determine compatibility of new code with the existing code. If the build runs successfully, developers add their code to the shared repository and according to the version control system, teams can easily track and manage all the requests from time to time. The best tools of Continuous Integration (CI) available in the market are Jenkins, CircleCI, Travis CI and GitLab as they offer speed and consistency.

5. Continuous Delivery

Continuous Delivery (CD) principle in DevOps environment enables teams to release code updates as often as possible. 

Continuous Delivery (CD) is all about releasing code updates frequently and fast. CD relies on developers to manually deploy code to production as opposed to Continuous Deployment, which takes an automated approach to code release. For CD to yield positive results, it’s paramount to create a repeatable system that will push the code through the DevOps pipeline. The code contributions are higher when developers know that after writing a code, passing all tests, and reviewing can push it from deployment to production with just a click of a button. Wrapping up, it eliminates the risk of performance issues or downtime due to code changes and makes it more substantial.

Another benefit of Continuous Delivery is that organizations can easily release high-quality features efficiently and decline huge costs involved in the deployment process of huge pieces.

How does the team work in continuous delivery?

After months of hard work, a team develops a product, and the end user starts using it. The Quality Assurance team starts preparing a code test with the help of automation testing tools such as Ranorex, Selenium or UFT. In case the QA team finds bugs, code travels back to developers. In the meanwhile, the version control system starts working to ensure there is no integration problem well in advance. This version control helps developers in changing code in the files regardless of its location and after all the fixes, code is located into one shared repository. Many popular continuous integration tools such as GitLab, Jenkins, CI helps in saving whole code in the form of mainline, code branch and others further use and DevOps teams can smoothly deploy it in increments with the help of tools, such as Chef, Puppet, Azure Resource Manager and many more. 

6. Continuous Monitoring

Continuous Monitoring ensures the application runs without any issue and builds on the CI/CD concept. DevOps keep an eye through monitoring technologies and techniques to ensure application is behaving adequately. Right from logs, apps, systems to infrastructure, DevOps team monitor and in case of any issue they revert it back to previous stage and team gets enough time to resolve the issue without hassles to customer.

Also, it helps in understanding issues that are hindering productivity in the pipeline and after every release, DevOps can eliminate all bottlenecks and certain smooth transitions in every cycle.

Let us understand it better with the help of an example of a web portal running on AWS. In case the traffic on the website increases, a load balancer will successfully add a new EC2 server to handle the load effectively. In this scenario, an alert must be configured to add a new server. Configuration of such alarms is only possible with the help of DevOps as they have complete knowledge of various OSs of the application. Akamai mPulse, AppDynamics, ChaosSearch, Splunk, Sumo Logic are few best tools used for Continuous Monitoring.

7. Feedback Sharing

As they say, ‘sharing is caring,’ this principle of DevOps relies completely on feedback. Developers constantly need valuable information to improve the overall quality of the application otherwise they can fall prey to building products that are not required and return no value to customers or stakeholders. Usually, feedback is collected from end-users and stakeholders through social media or surveys right before the release, during, and after the release cycle is over. 

After collecting all the required feedback, teams follow procedures to extract most valuable information out of it and implement according to the requirements which ensures achievement of ultimate common goal.

8. Version Control

You have read this term multiple times in the above paragraphs, but defining in detail, it is a naming convention of code in the central code repository. It is also known as source control and a heart of successful DevOps workflow. It helps in staying focused, organized, and updated about the product. It also ensures teams contribute faster and easier for all the subsequent software releases.  

Version Control

Most of the version control systems allow developers to create branches of the original project and let them modify without affecting others’ work. Typically, developers write their code on their respective branch of the same project, submit code updates, and run all the automated tests for validation. Before merging it with the master branch, a new build is generated to ensure code is compatible with existing code. If everything goes smoothly, it gets merged in the master branch and moved from deployment to production. 

A robust version control system ensures error-free code movement in the pipeline and gives confidence to DevOps team of flawless deployment. 

9. Collaboration

The basic idea of combining developer and operations to break the wall of confusion between the teams. DevOps teams establish trust between each other as they need to communicate, share, and collaborate throughout the development and deployment cycle. Both groups work hand in hand to ensure application is delivered with improved performance, cost, and time to ensure users are satisfied. 

In other words, DevOps is a holistic approach and big-picture view of the whole collaborative environment between developers and operations. Also, it won’t be wrong to say that it is a cultural shift within the company for the whole team to work in a unified way.

Conclusion

DevOps is a cultural shift of embracing two teams (developers and operations) as ‘one’ for increased transparency, collaboration, and enhanced understanding of user needs. DevOps is a culture which sits actually on the principles. This culture demands unified team right from Dev, ops to management and stakeholders which sets it apart from other development models. The three primary benefits of DevOps are: technical benefits, cultural benefits, and business benefits. The technical benefits ensure continuous delivery, reduced complexity and quick problem resolution. The culture benefits ensure more productivity and efficiency among teams as compared to traditional siloed teams. Coming to the business part, it is clearly reflected on happy customers through faster delivery and stable operating environments. 

FAQs

What are the best DevOps practices?
DevOps best practices include: –

  • Agile Project Management
  • Shifting Left With CI/CD
  • Automation
  • Monitoring
  • Observability
  • Continuous Feedback.

What are the differences between agile and DevOps?
Agile focuses on collaboration of developers and project management team whereas DevOps is combinations of developers and Operations. The flow of software in agile starts from ideation to code completion, but in DevOps it starts with ideation to deployment to production. Agile emphasizes development in small chunks, but DevOps focus more on automated tests and frequent deliveries.

Advantages of DevOps principles.

  • Shorter development cycle of the software.
  • Increased release velocity adds competitive advantage.
  • Enhanced and quick defect detection in the code.
  • Shrunken failures in deployment and other rollbacks.
  • Quick problem resolution

Takeaway: DevOps is a combination of two teams Developers and Operations and adhering to key principles of automation, collaboration, CI/CD and others for high-quality delivery of applications and services at a faster pace.

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