The Need for DevOps
Software development (DevOps) is not as easy as people think. Many things come together when developing software. After planning and development, everyone knows that the application needs to move to the testing phase. And then we can predict the time required to bring the project into production.
Here are a few problems that we face right from development to delivery
- Collaborative Planning.
- Coding & operation teams have their separate timelines and are not in sync causing further delays.
- Manual code deployment leads to human errors in production.
- If we want to go back to a stable release then it is difficult and time-consuming.
- Testing and Deployment are isolated activities which are done after design-build. Hence they consumed more time than actual build cycles.
- The feature being developed works fine on the developers’ system and doesn’t work on the client system. And lots of time is wasted fixing issues in a client system.
- Team members are spending a large amount of their time testing, deploying, and designing instead of building the project. So there comes a need for DevOps.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is a software development strategy, a methodology that bridges the gap between development and operations. Most companies follow the Agile SDLC model for software development. Agile methods break a software product into small incremental builds. These builds are provided in iterations. Each iteration usually lasts about one to three weeks. For each iteration, the software has to be delivered and in a working state.
DevOps follows an agile culture. and a culture that fosters collaboration between development and operations that helps increase the organization’s speed to deliver applications and services.
Its main goal is to shorten the system delivery life cycle. This culture increases the organization’s speed to deliver applications and services.
How does DevOps work?
DevOps is deep integration between development and operations. Understanding DevOps is not possible without knowing the DevOps lifecycle.
Many phases helped make DevOps what it is today.
The entire DevOps cycle is a continuous process – continuous development, testing, integration, deployment and monitoring.
Let us understand this with an example.
Facebook is a widely used social media application all over the world. For it to work the way it does, there is a huge team behind the scenes continually developing, testing and releasing features to it. The developer plans and builds the code for the application which undergoes testing using test suites, if test suites are successful the code is sent to production.
In the production environment, the monitoring tool keeps a log of bugs and feature requests by users.
For instance, Facebook has added new features like Facebook Stories, and a few others which were not a part of the Facebook application before.
There was also a bug which crept onto the application which switched the feed to a horizontal view and everyone went bonkers. This is now fixed, but, how do you think Developers get to know about these bugs?
It is continuous monitoring that keeps a check on these bugs and feature requests. This feedback is then sent to developers who make the changes and again push the code in the DevOps Lifecycle.
Therefore, from the above example, you can see that work is done continuously on the application, and the development never stops!
The process of adding new features and fixing bugs continuously to improve the application, in the shortest time possible is called DevOps Lifecycle.
Here’s a brief overview of the continuous DevOps lifecycle:
Continuous planning and development
A developer plans the development process using planning tools and builds code and uploads it to a version control system like Git that contains the source code. Even after the final release, there is feedback that the developer needs to incorporate into the app. Therefore, this continuous process of improving the application by the developer is called continuous development.
After the code is uploaded to the source code platform, it undergoes testing with the help of test codes. Every time the source code changes, the code also undergoes testing in a continuous fashion before moving into production.
When one phase of the DevOps lifecycle is complete, the application code has to move to the next phase. This is done with the help of coordination tools. The development practice of continuously synchronizing code from one stage to another with the help of tools is called continuous integration.
Each feature added to an application may require some changes to the application environment. This is called configuration management. To achieve this, we use several deployment tools. The process of continuously changing the application environment based on the addition of features is called continuous deployment.
Even after planning and testing, bugs can find their way into production. To keep track of these bugs or any other inappropriate system behaviour or even to keep track of feature requests, the monitoring tool constantly checks as and when the application undergoes updates.
Behind every successful phase, there are many tools that help DevOps work smoothly. Here are some that are used in different stages:
What is the future of DevOps?
They are likely to lead to many changes in the DevOps world, some of the most prominent being:
- Organizations are changing their needs in weeks and months instead of years.
- We will soon see that DevOps engineers have more access and control over the end user than anyone else in the enterprise.
- DevOps is becoming a valuable skill for IT people. For example, a survey conducted by Linux Hiring found that 25% of respondents are job-seeking DevOps specialists.
- DevOps and Continuous Delivery are here to stay. Therefore, companies need to change because they have no choice but to evolve. However, it will take 5 to 10 years for the concept of DevOps to become mainstream.