What is DevOps? The Comprehensive Guide to DevOps

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What is DevOps?

DevOps is a process that combines the roles of software development and IT operations.

63% of organizations that implement DevOps experience improvement in the quality of their software deployments. (Upguard)

The main aim of DevOps is to enhance the collaboration between development and operation teams for a smooth workflow within an organization. It minimizes the risk factor by constantly delivering and gathering end-users and stakeholder feedback at the initial stages.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What is DevOps?

What exactly is DevOps?

DevOps is a multidisciplinary community of practice committed to the study of evolving, building, and operating constantly changing robust systems at scale.

What does DevOps mean?

DevOps stands for Development and Operations. It is a practice where development and operations engineers unite to improve collaboration by adopting lean and agile practices for a system related approach.

What is the role of a DevOps team?

For a successful DevOps transformation, organizations must have a good DevOps team that understands and documents the technical skills and soft skills for high performance. They should also be able to collaborate efficiently.

Here are seven key roles that are imperative for a successful DevOps approach:

1. DevOps Evangelist

A DevOps evangelist is a leader that promotes the benefits of DevOps by determining and assessing the business benefits that come from the agility DevOps delivers. The DevOps evangelist also ensures that they promote the benefits of DevOps, by quantifying and identifying the benefits businesses get from agility. They also ensure buy-in from the teams, identify the main roles to support the delivery method, and ensure that the professionals are equipped with the right knowledge and resources. They also see that they remove the thought of failure and build a culture to accept failures and find instant solutions.

2. Release manager

The release manager ensures that the management of the product is conducted smoothly between the teams. They supervise the integration, coordination, flow of the development, testing, and deployment. They are responsible for maintaining and supporting continuous delivery.

3. Automation architect

The role of the automation architect is significant, as DevOps completely depends on automated systems. An automation architect, analyzes, designs, and implements strategies for continuous deployment. Simultaneously they ensure high availability on pre-production and productions. They play a vital role across DevOps tools and cloud platforms.

4. Software developer

The heart of the DevOps culture is the software developer. Developers are responsible for writing and running codes, unit testing, deployment, and monitoring. They ensure that they are in sync with the QA team to make necessary changes in code.

Only 9% organizations have not adopted DevOps and have no plans to adopt it. (Medium)

5. Experience assurance expert

Quality Assurance (QA) is often a part of software development, but QA experts play a bigger role once their organization embraces DevOps. QA testers are now being replaced by Experience Assurance (XA) experts who ensure that new functions and features are released by keeping in mind the end-users. The present expectation of QA roles is not only to test functionality but also to test the user experience.

6. Security engineer

The security engineer works along with the developers. They ensure that their recommendations are embedded in the process beforehand. Their task is to build security into the product and not after the product is complete.

7. Utility technology player

IT operations administration professions focus on keeping their servers running. They introduce strict control over what is allowed to run to avoid service interruptions. They need extensive QA in staging environment, operations documentation, deal with huge handovers, and infrequent releases.


Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): What is the role of a DevOps team?

Why is DevOps important?

DevOps is essential for businesses as it shortens development cycles, encourages innovations, improves coordination and communication, reduces failure, reflections, and recovery time, and reduces expenditure on the workforce.

Less than 20% organizations have fully embraced DevOps. (Statista)

How does DevOps work?

This is one of the key questions that need to be addressed. Since DevOps culture is relatively a new discipline, here are the following capabilities that are incorporated to make it work effectively:

1. Collaboration/ Team work

Disconnection and miscommunication are the primary reasons why DevOps was created. The introduction of DevOps has enabled the development team, and IT operations to collaborate like never before. Such a collaboration can help tackle many obstacles and make communication smoother between the two teams. The need for collaboration is essential as it extends to everyone related to the delivery of the software. That means it is not only of the dev and ops teams but also teams related to testing, product management, and other executives. DevOps can only be successful when all teams and individuals co-ordinate across the organization to get things done efficiently, effectively, and instantly.

2. Automation

DevOps is completely dependent on automation, which means the right tools are essential for the smooth running of processes. DevOps also depends on toolchains to automate large parts of the complete software development and deployment process. At times DevOps is perceived as just a collection of tools, although they do rely heavily on them, it is more than that.

3. Continuous integration

DevOps cultures entail continuous integration as it has evolved from the Agile culture, which is a primary tenet of the Agile approach. For the development team, the principle of continuous integration has a cultural implication, as it forces developers to integrate their work with other developers’ work regularly. This brings to light integration issues and conflicts beforehand. For this to be beneficial to developers, they must frequently communicate rather than working solo for weeks or months. Such open and frequent communication is essential in DevOps.

22 percent of the firms at the highest level of security integration have reached an advanced stage of DevOps evolution. (Puppet)

4. Continuous testing

One of the most critical principles of DevOps is to continuously test while integration and delivery. This can cut costs, reduce software failures, prevent causing any disruption to the user experience, and also prevent them from exposing organizations to security threats, compliance risks, or reliability. Continuous testing starts in the development environment, as it’s not just a QA function anymore. The DevOps environment ensures that the quality of the product is maintained throughout the process. For instance, Developers provide test data sets to their code, and QA engineers configure automation test cases and the testing environment.

QA needs to work at a fast pace and need to keep testing at every level. This helps decisions and assess the business risks of each application. Continuous testing guides the team and helps them meet their business expectations. It also provides the managers with an insight into the status of the product, and they make trade-off decisions accordingly. Operations play a crucial role in testing and QA, as they ensure that the monitoring tools are in the right place, and the configuration of the test environment is accurate.

Continuous testing is necessary to help developers balance speed and quality. Automated tools are an asset as it reduces the cost of testing and saves the test engineers time, as they can use their time elsewhere more effectively. Allowing integration testing early in the process shortens test cycles. This reduces the cost of maintaining and provisioning test environments. Lastly, continuous testing simplifies the production of virtualized test environments, therefore enabling them to be easily updated, deployed, and shared as and when systems change.

5. Continuous delivery

In continuous delivery, code changes are automatically created, tested, and prepared for production release. All code changes are deployed to a testing or production environment after the build stage. Developers are ready with the product after it has passed through various test processes. For high performance, organizations need to achieve multiple deployments daily. The continuous delivery process automatically releases valid changes to the users. This accelerates the feedback loop and eliminates the process for scheduled release days. Frequent and small releases allow developers to get feedback from users instantly, and they can address the issues immediately. For continuous delivery to run smoothly, organizations need to have the right, reliable, accurate, and automated testing environment.

6. Continuous monitoring

Just like testing, monitoring begins with development. There are two kinds of monitoring: application performance monitoring and server monitoring. Tools that are used to monitor the production environment can also be used to detect performance issues before hit production. Therefore, proper tools are required for effective monitoring. For continuous monitoring and feedback of the products and systems, the DevOps team should have their measures in place. The monitoring process should be completely automated to provide regular feedback. Continuous monitoring instantly helps identify the root cause of issues, prevent outages, and minimize issues. This process also helps IT operations to identify and notify developers of the various issues in real-time. This way, they can ensure high security and system authenticity and respond to issues instantly.

65% of organizations experience friction between app dev and ops teams in development and testing. (Forrester)

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How does DevOps work?

What are the principles of DevOps?

DevOps is a methodology which is basically a mindset and cultural shift in an organization. The main principles of DevOps are collaboration, continuous testing and improvement, self-service, iteration and automation. It ensures quick deployment by focusing on automation and right tools. Tools and automation allow the DevOps team to unite and combine their efforts in order to have a seamless process and adopt practices like continuous delivery, integration and deployment. This allows collaboration throughout the pipeline, right from the concept and makes its way to deployment and testing. In addition to this, DevOps prioritizes repetitive/ iterative processes that enable continuous feedback and testing. This practice speeds up the developmental process and also enhances the quality and security of the product. Continuous testing, iterating and monitoring feedbacks with frequent but smaller deployments, DevOps can successfully connect and close the loop between the users, developers and IT operations.

What are the benefits of DevOps?

Efficiency plays a very important role to make DevOps a great success. With the help of DevOps, developers have the opportunity to invest their time and work more efficiently with operations, other teams and users. Here’s how businesses can benefit from DevOps:

1. Instant deployment of new apps and systems:

An organization can highly benefit from DevOps through the right approach, that is, by deploying their new systems in a more efficient and enhanced way. Innovation and continuous deployment correspond with each other and make deployment much smoother and faster.

2. Agility:

One of the key benefits of DevOps is agility, as it brings about a great transformation in businesses. Businesses can achieve scalability needed to transform them to become more agile.

3. Saves money:

DevOps can automate repetitive tasks without worrying about errors. A robust and stable process is made when DevOps performs frequent backups and rollovers. With the help of automation, organizations can benefit a lot by saving on manpower.

4. No Silos:

Silos were in the past, so these days there is a lot of innovation. Initially, there was no link between the developers and operations as they used to work individually, without any collaboration. As times have changed, the innovative methods too have changed. There is an increase in interaction between various teams, not only the developers and operations but other teams too. There is a lot of transparency, exposure, and great collaboration between all of them. It has become highly beneficial for organizations, as barriers have been removed with the right approach. DevOps has eliminated the linear process, and new organized processes are being used.

5. Rapid development cycles:

Collaboration and communication are the essence of DevOps. As these features are enhanced, there is an instant or automatic improvement in the development cycles.

6. Continuous delivery service:

With rapid development cycles, codes too are rapidly released into the production cycles. There is a massive shift in the production cycles as the gap between requirement gathering and production have been abridged. Production cycles are in sync with IT mechanisms through these methodologies, which makes them more productive and streamlined. Therefore, and effective DevOps mechanism is imperative to create a resilient method of efficiency.

38% of organizations that implement DevOps report a higher quality of code production. (Upguard)

7. No defects:

Defects in an application production environment are an app’s big adversary. With the help of DevOps, teams can minimize defects (if at all, it can be easily rectified). This is due to the effective collaboration, modular programing and continuous development that defects are often reduced. Digital transformation helps in minimizing errors and allows efficiency within the organization.

With the right implementation of DevOps, organizations can achieve a lot in a short period, as they can make the production of apps more effective and flawless.

How to adopt DevOps?

For successful adoption of DevOps, one needs a concrete roadmap. Organizations need to assess their DevOps team’s readiness, create a vision for the people, technologies, and processes affected by the deployment of new products. Here how you can adopt it:

1. Align organizational strategy

Organizations need to establish a vision and mission for their future endeavors, define goals, and appropriate metrics to measure how well the organization achieves those goals.

2. Assess current DevOps maturity

Organizations need to identify its present level of maturity of their workforce, processes, tools, and technologies needed for successfully adopting DevOps. The organization needs to organize suitable training programs and assign responsibilities according to their expertise.

3. Plan future state

Organizations need to focus on areas that are needed for the alignment of their goals and create a plan for the future of the people, process and technology across the organization.

4. Establish a DevOps roadmap

Organizations need to make their plans a reality and take action on the identified areas of focus.

5. Implement and measure

Lastly, organizations need to implement the roadmap and constantly keep monitoring them, identifying metrics and consistently enhance the roadmap.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs): How to adopt DevOps?

What are the hurdles while adopting DevOps?

The major challenges organizations face while adopting DevOps are changing established mindsets and driving a cultural shift. Other changes include support for various environments, integration of security and compliance after setting it up, and no assistance for an overlay network.

How to overcome the challenges while adopting DevOps?

  • To overcome challenges, organizations need to have a good management system. Clear instructions need to be communicated with the people working in the organization. They should also be made aware of the goals and the way to achieve them. Therefore, proper knowledge, training, and guidance are imperative.
  • People need to cooperate and collaborate to increase productivity. They need to work towards a common goal. Good collaboration can improve visibility and make it easier to track changes across multiple teams.
  • The right orchestration options are beneficial to solve problems related to tool integration. There are multiple tools available in the market for automating the tool environment, which can be used as an added advantage.
  • The integration tools collect relevant data and organize them in one central repository, which helps generate useful metrics and reports. This data can be analyzed and provide an understanding of critical problems, work schedules, training, and more.

How to solve problems with DevOps?

Many organizations face common challenges, but with the integration of DevOps they can be easily resolved. So, here are certain challenges and their solutions to it:

1. Slow deployment:

Organizations that have not implemented the DevOps environment face certain issues like they are unable to discern what, when, where, and how to deploy. This leads to a long waiting period to get things organized for it to proceed to the next environment. This delays everything. With DevOps, the deployment process takes place instantly as teams collaborate; they verify what works and then go on to the next level. Continuous delivery is facilitated by automation. This reduces the time for the deployment and makes way for more frequent deployments.

2. Missing database scripts, codes and others:

Organizations that have not implement DevOps have frequently faced certain challenges related to the software being deployed, as it often as missing database scripts, codes, and others as they are not up to date. This is due to the lack of clarity about which dependencies to deploy as well as their location. With DevOps, the collaboration between the teams resolves these problems. Automation can keep the software and date up to date and speed up deployment.

3. Don’t know what to test

At times inexperienced testers are unaware of what to test and when to test. The untested product is sent to the user and exposes error, which shows the inefficiency and unreliability of the product. With the DevOps culture, QA teams go through regular planning sessions and daily standups, which allows them to prepare user cases. By this, they can assign work in advance. Having multi-team stand-ups improves development testing collaboration and a platform for the team to relevant questions regarding the developmental work.

4. Slow test processes

Use cases were initially executed manually in repetition. Some were long and time consuming with multiple steps. These activities prevented QA teams from focussing on innovative tasks as it was very time-consuming. In a DevOps landscape, those repetitive tasks can be automated and free up time for the QA team to focus on other critical activities.

5. Futile production monitoring

At times monitoring tools are configured in such a way that they produce a lot of unnecessary data from production. At times they produce enough data or no data at all. To solve this issue, the right application performance management tools are needed to monitor and extract data that is required.

6. No innovation

Repetitive tasks are one of the most time consuming, as it leaves no time for teams to innovate and create. Adopting DevOps practices can free up time for the teams as such tasks can be automated. Organizations can save up on time and money when they invest in the right automation tools and integrate them in their system.

7. High dependency on specific people

At times few people are more talented than the rest and are capable of handling issues and are in demand by other teams too. Such resourceful people adopt other’s issues as their own as their organization is not open to exploring other technologies or solutions. DevOps practice can help organizations to let their employees invest their time innovating. It also allows developers and operations teams to come up with new solutions, train the rest of the team to solve such issues and motivate them to come up with new ideas.

Myths behind DevOps

As the DevOps approach came into existence a decade ago, there are certain myths about it as they have not been done properly. So, here are some myths that hold organizations from implementing DevOps in their culture.

1. DevOps is for online businesses only

It is true that DevOps was mostly used and started by online companies. That’s why they have the common misconception that this methodology only works for internet firms such as Netflix and others. But in reality, large enterprises have been successfully using DevOps to deliver efficient and authentic software.

2. DevOps is only Development and Operations teams

People mostly associate the term DevOps with just Development and Operations teams. However, in reality, it is more than just these teams. Although it started with just these two teams, there are other teams that are also involved in delivering the software. Organizations using this methodology can empower their entire working, system, and structure.

3. DevOps is only about Automations

DevOps culture is all about sharing responsibilities, increase the collaboration between Development, Operations, and other teams, tolerance, and acceptance of failure and its quick recovery sharing practices, risk-taking, and tools. Automation tools are generally used to enhance speed, consistency, and handle repetitive tasks and processes, therefore creating an automatic environment.

4. DevOps can’t work without cloud

Most people think that DevOps heavily depends on the cloud as this technology provides developers and testers in rapidly obtaining a test environment. But the cloud is not necessary to adopt DevOps practices. Organizations can adopt a DevOps approach for efficiently obtaining resources to deploy and test various application changes. Virtualization is optional.

5. DevOps is only code oriented

The operations teams are known to write scripts to manage the environment and deal with repetitive tasks. A large amount of code is used by these teams to manage the infrastructure. Operations teams are now able to create new versions of an environment by creating new codes, but that does not mean that they must learn how to code. Those who have scripting experience can easily pick up other languages that are based on infrastructure-as-code technologies.

6. DevOps doesn’t work for complex and large systems

People are generally mistaken that DevOps is not for large and complex systems, which is not at all true, as large and complex systems requires the discipline and collaboration DevOps actually provides. These large systems have innumerable hardware or software components which have their own timelines and delivery cycles. DevOps actually helps them to coordinate better and deliver more efficiently.

Examples of DevOps

1. Amazon

Initially, Amazon ran on dedicated servers and was under a dilemma on how much equipment was required to be purchased to meet the traffic demands and unforeseen traffic spikes. Around 40% of its server capacity had gone to waste, and during peak shopping seasons, the traffic would tremendously increase. However, some amount would still be left unused, which was affecting their finances. But once they moved to Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, it allowed teams to scale capacity up or down. This not only reduced their spending on server capacity but also initiated a transition to a continuous deployment process that permits developers to deploy their code whenever they need and to any server. This transition led to engineers to deploy codes instantly. This agile approach reduced the frequency and duration of the outage, which led to an increase in revenue.

2. Adobe

A few years ago, Adobe transformed from packaged software to a cloud services model. They had to constantly make small software updates instead of big ones. Adobe used CloudMunch’s end-to-end DevOps platform to maintain its required pace, automate, and manage their deployments. As it integrates multiple software, developers can use the tools they prefer and can view various projects to see the changes that have taken place. This has enabled them to deliver faster and better product management.

3. Facebook

Facebook has transformed the perception of software development. It adopted DevOps, and it has matured over the years. This has accelerated development and has transformed consumers’ expectations of software. They continuously provide updates to their websites and apps.

4. Walmart

Walmart implemented the DevOps approach and has now founded WalmartLabs and incorporated OneOps cloud-based technology. This helps to automate and accelerate the deployment of applications. It has created many open-source tools to build frameworks for applications and services that allow developers to focus on logic related code instead of building infrastructure.

5. Netflix

Initially, Netflix used to ship DVDs and then transitioned to streaming videos online, which was new at that time. There no commercial tools available to help keep the massive cloud infrastructure to run smoothly, therefore they turned to open source solutions. With the help of developers, they created the ‘Simian Army’, an automated tool that stress-tested the infrastructure and allowed the company to identify and resolve issues before it reached the audience. From that time, onwards Netflix is committed to open-source and automation, and engineers can deploy multiple codes frequently in a day.

Top 10 books on DevOps

  1. The DevOps Handbook: How to Create World-Class Agility, Reliability, and Security in Technology Organizations by Gene Kim  (Author), Patrick Debois  (Author), John Willis (Author), Jez Humble  (Author), John Allspaw (Foreword)
  2. Introduction to DevOps with Kubernetes: Build scalable cloud-native applications using DevOps patterns created with Kubernetes by Onur Yilmaz and Suleyman Akbas
  3. DevOps: A comprehensive beginners guide to learn devops step by step by Ethan Thorpe
  4. The DevOps Adoption Playbook: A Guide to Adopting DevOps in a Multi-Speed IT Enterprise by Sanjeev Sharma
  5. Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps: Building and Scaling High Performing Technology Organizations by Nicole Forsgren, Jez Humble and Gene Kim
  6. Leading the Transformation: Applying Agile and DevOps Principles at Scale by Gary Gruver and Tommy Mouser
  7. A Concise Introduction to DevOps by Anupriya Jain
  8. Google Cloud Certified Professional Cloud Architect: Introducing Google Cloud
  9. DevOps Handbook: A Guide to Implementing DevOps in Your Workplace
  10. Beyond the Phoenix Project: The Origins and Evolution of DevOps


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Mayank Trivedi

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