DevOps is a popular set of practices, tools, and cultural philosophy in the modern Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) that delivers faster releases, accelerated time-to-resolution, decreased build complexity, increased innovation, and more. The approach facilitates effective communication and collaboration between teams by breaking down silos and ultimately helping your organization “get more value out of your data.” This article discusses the foundational steps an organization should take to properly embed DevOps into its work.
DevOps Requires Culture Change
Building the right foundation is key for DevOps to ‘stick’ permanently. Change starts with people. It is important to provide education on how DevOps will help the organization, how it will improve project delivery, and most importantly what benefits it brings to team members and their career growth.
In the first phase, it is a good practice to add hands-on experience – instilling culture cannot happen by just lecturing, it requires a practical, hands-on element. Create a demo environment and encourage a culture of experimentation and automation and collect feedback.
The goal is to get a buy-in from all teams to eliminate change resistance. The culture change process can take months but is a critical first step that should not be disregarded or rushed.
Assess Existing Processes
At this stage, teams should audit existing process and practices to measure strengths and weaknesses and have a fair assessment of problems and opportunities for installing a new working method such as DevOps. Assessing the current situation will calibrate the introduction of DevOps – should you go quickly or gradually, what risks to be aware of early on, what projects and teams are ideal candidates for early adoption, etc.
Demand Responsibility and Accountability
Next, it is critical for teams to learn to bear responsibility for their work end to end. For instance, Developers should be accountable for their code, making sure it is of good quality, well documented, and secure. There should be no reliance on the QA and/or Security teams to make the code deployable. Tools that are helpful in this stage include spike programming, test-driven development, unit testing, commented code, and others.
Invest in Training
Investing in the right training for team members is crucial during the transition to DevOps. This long-term investment will increase the operational cost of a company and will take away engineering hours to production work.
Start with an MVP Mentality
Now, the rubber meets the road and things get technical. This is where DevOps becomes a small-scale reality in which it expands and matures. To ensure a cohesive DevOps operation, your organization needs to integrate your Developers, Ops Engineers, and QA’s along with many different tools to help deliver more value to your clients. Here is the list of the basic components and tools of a DevOps operation which are critical to the MVP approach:
- Agile development and Cloud knowledge – agile sprint methodology for the SDLC, experience with Cloud platforms (AWS, Azure, GCP), the use of microservices and containers.
- Continuous Integration (CI) – the practice of developers regularly merging their code to a central repository, which is then followed by tests and automated builds and speedy software delivery. Tools used for CI are Jenkins, Bamboo, GitLab, etc.
- Continuous Delivery (CD) – expands upon CI by deploying all code changes to a dev or prod environment automatically. Same CI tools are used for the CD.
- Microservices – very widely used in DevOps and modern SDLC. Microservices are set of small services running independently. Microservices are integral part of building scalable and fault tolerant solutions.
- Infrastructure as Code (IaC) – the practice of provisioning infrastructure as code. Embedding the infrastructure provisioning in the CI/CD frees up resources from manually creating infrastructure and increases deployment speed. Useful tools include Terraform and CloudFormation.
- Configuration Management – using code to automate operating systems configuration, patching, updates, and other operational tasks. Useful tools include Chef, Puppet and Ansible.
- Monitoring and Logging – understanding how code changes in applications and infrastructure impact the end user. It is critical to analyze this data for fast update and make changes if needed. Applicable tools include SumoLogic, Splunk, AppDynamics, etc.
- Security – embedding security into the DevOps practice from Day 1 is more important than ever, which even transition DevOps into DevSecOps. It is important move security as farther out to the left as possible. Tools such as Snyk are great examples. Snyk is a non-obtrusive, lightweight tool allowing developers to integrate security as far left as their local machine when coding in Eclipse, VS, or other developer tools. Snyk scans the code live, as it is typed in and checks for vulnerabilities against a massive internal database.
Putting all these components together creates the DevOps practice. It takes time for this integration to start running smoothly but starting small and expanding will inevitably mature the process.
Monitoring the DevOps Implantation
The final step is to continuously monitor progress. Below are some of the key metrics to measure success:
- Lead Time
- Mean Time to Detection of Anomalies
- Deployment Frequency
- Change Failure Rate
- Restoring of Services
- Automation Testing
- Regression Rate
- Critical Error Rate – memory leaks, data security, runtime issues
Incorporating DevOps into your organization’s business practice will drive new efficiencies through communicative teamwork. At Infinitive, we have the know-how and real-life experience to help your organization leverage DevOps and “get more value out of your data.” By taking the steps to change your culture, measure strengths and weaknesses, assess opportunities, invest in training, and develop the MVP mentality, your organization will stabilize its operating environment and increase innovation time bringing more value to your clients. For more information, email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.