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Demystifying DevOps: Key Insights Every Developer Needs to Thrive?

Demystifying DevOps

Understand DevOps principles clearly if you are a developer. This article outlines the DevOps concepts for a developer's understanding

Introduction

The software development industry follows various development practices. But, the most recent and effective methodology for software development is DevOps. The concept behind DevOps is the merging of development and operations teams to collaborate on the development process.

The DevOps development methodology enables efficient development, a faster feedback loop, and a secure development process. This article outlines everything that lies behind the concept of DevOps. If you are a developer, you need to know some of the fundamental concepts of DevOps practices.

The Four Pillars of DevOps

DevOps is made on four pillars. They are:

  1. Collaboration and communication

We defined DevOps previously, as a collaboration within the development and operations team. Therefore, a great DevOps team is a team that functions on excellent communication and collaboration within themselves.

2. Process and Workflow Automation

The automation consists of automated testing, builds, releasing versions, and generating a development environment. It includes automating every manual process so that the development pace does not reduce. It also eliminates the possibility of human errors within the software delivery.

3. CI/CD

CI/CD stands for Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery. This pillar defines how software development happens iteratively. This way, the development and testing time reduces significantly. Also, this method highlights the areas for improvement within the software development process.

4. Learning and enhancements

Along with automation, there is improved communication and collaboration among the team members. This invokes continuous improvement. The feedback loop becomes shorter. Therefore, every release includes improvements from previous versions.

With such a model in place, there are various benefits that a software developer can gain. Let us take a look.

Benefits of DevOps for Developers

As a developer, an unmanaged software development process could be time-consuming and tedious. With the DevOps philosophy, a developer can work with projects that are easy to manage and finish. Here are the benefits of working in DevOps as a developer:

  1. Fosters trust and collaboration

DevOps encourages teams to collaborate and communicate with each other to manage software development. This removes silos within the development and operations teams leading to better problem-solving approaches.

It also fosters forward thinking where one action can affect every part of the team and development. The shared goals and clear vision eliminate dependencies. All in all, DevOps provides a holistic view of the software development process.

2. Quicker software version releases

When development and operations teams work together in sync, they can release the versions quickly. Gradually, the iterative deliveries establish the stability and quality of the resulting software.

With DevOps, the teams work together on the same goal. Hence, the DevOps philosophy keeps everyone on the same page. Automated tests and quicker releases decrease the operational costs upto a great extent.

3. Enhanced feedback loop

Correctly executed communication is when the team thrives. This is also true with DevOps teams. DevOps encourages transparency to address upcoming issues quickly.

DevOps does not let any communication fall through the cracks. That is why, the DevOps team is always well-equipped for the issues that might crop up.

4. Manage unplanned contingencies

Situations always arise that require unplanned changes. This affects the team’s productivity. But with DevOps, a developer has clear goals and project scope in place. This ensures that there are no unnecessary modules to include.

Cross-functional team collaboration offers smart work with faster delivery and enhanced quality. Every small task is broken down into pieces to reduce the project’s complexity. This way the team can manage the iterative release efficiently.

Essential DevOps Practices

There are various DevOps practices that a developer should know. They are:

  1. Version control and code repositories

A version control defines and documents all the changes within the development process so far. These changes and improvements are logged in the system.

It can be a source code, an asset, or anything related to the software development process. The teams have to document every revision of the system. This enables the teams to restore the development to the previous version, if necessary.

The code repositories store the source code for the development. It is a central location and also has a version control system. The team logs all the changes into repositories in chronological order to keep track of every change.

2. Continuous integration (CI) tools and agile development

The agile method of development includes iterative and incremental approaches to software development. This effectiveness quickens the project delivery timeline.

Additionally, integrating all the changes and testing out each of the changes falls into continuous integration.

3. Configuration management and infrastructure as code (IaC)

Incremental version delivery automates the infrastructure management and release procedures. This is generally termed CI/CD (Continuous integration and continuous delivery).

4. Monitoring and logging tools for performance analysis

DevOps allows constant monitoring of metrics and log files to analyze the performance of the application and its infrastructure. It also enables you to understand how performance and infrastructure affect the user experience. The DevOps approach sheds light on the root causes of the problems that unexpected alterations cause.

Challenges in DevOps implementation and overcoming them

As new systems are introduced in the infrastructures, challenges are bound to arise. This is equally true for DevOps. There are certain common challenges that organizations face while implementing the DevOps approach. Let us take a look at the problems and see how you can overcome them:

  1. Contextual challenges

Within DevOps approach the ownership of the code often changes hands. This includes the teams from development, testing, deployment, and production. Within these transitions, a lot of time waste happens because of the various environmental configurations.

As a result, the teams modify the codebase to suit the environment which further causes problems within the codes. Hence, the teams spend time finding out the issues within the codebase.

Solution:

The first step to addressing this problem is to ensure that all the environments are identical. Also, the creation of infrastructure blueprints eliminates such issues to a great extent. For this, the teams have to gather and plan the Continuous Delivery methods to ensure smooth functioning.

The adoption of a cloud-based system for DevOps is also a great solution. Hosting the different parts of DevOps on the cloud creates a centralized system. With such a system, all the teams can access the same codebase and develop the pipeline. Meanwhile, the cloud will take care of the environmental transition.

2. Problems within teams

The maturity of the team is directly proportional to their capability to adapt to the DevOps structure. Organizations generally take up DevOps to manage high-quality software delivery within tight deadlines. DevOps follows a cycle of Coding-building-testing to offer iterative and incremental software delivery.

Solution:

The developers and the teams should receive training and upskilling on the tools for smooth DevOps implementation. Here are a few things you can do:

  • Enhancing inter-organization communication.
  • Keeping stakeholders in the feedback loops to improvise the delivery pipelines and processes.
  • Prevent all the things that create silos within the teams.
  • Using correct metrics to measure and direct DevOps implementation.

3. Management of traditional practices

DevOps replaces and transforms the traditional SDLC methodology. The reason behind DevOps implementation is to modernize the traditional software development processes. With traditional methods, the team worked in siloes.

Every team member had a dedicated role to play within the development, testing, and deployment arena. This increased team isolation and decreased inter-team communication.

Solution:

DevOps implementation brings about a lot of automation. But there are places where team communication and collaboration become mandatory. It is essential that the teams maintain transparency and cooperate with each other.

4. Challenges with the holistic view

DevOps has various changing parts. There are various metrics to judge the effectiveness of each of the parts. But an absence of clarity over the entire process can lead to delayed production.

This also elevates the issue of extensive work and may also cause incorrect updates because of human inaccuracies.

Solution:

Deploy continuous monitoring tools that offer a larger picture of the entire infrastructure. This could include an overview of applications, metrics, network parts, and more.

Such tools offer greater flexibility and scalability. They also provide logs in cases of crashes, errors, and system failures. These pieces of information well-equips a team to handle problems and solutions to manage them.

5. Performance issues with CI/CD pipeline

When CI/CD pipeline implementation quality is compromised, it can impact the overall software delivery performance.

Solution:

The team should create test cases for performance measurement and reliability checks.

6. Version Control Challenges in Test Automation

DevOps relies heavily on version control to ensure resultant versions are stable. But a small unexpected change can disrupt the entire pipeline and cause incompatibility. This generally happens during automatic system updates.

Low-quality automated testing is the perfect recipe for disastrous Continuous Automation in the DevOps pipeline. DevOps provides production-ready code snippets in shorter iterations. Hence, a correctly implemented automation testing method is important.

Solution:

All the automatic updates should be put on a hard stop. This ensures that no software changes are committed without human intervention. This prevents any instability to enter the software development.

The QA team should pay special attention to the selection of tools for testing procedures. They should consider the languages and systems before taking up a tool. Also, they should also conduct compatibility tests to see if the tools offer the required compatibility.

7. Security challenges

Everyone knows about cyber-attack disasters. When it comes to the DevOps pipeline, a vulnerable system does not cut the mark. A loophole within the security system can lead to leakage of sensitive information.

Solution:

Whenever a security issue is detected, that part of the pipeline must be put on lock. Establish an efficient monitoring system to detect and address the threats immediately.

Limit the amount of sensitive information inside the code to lessen the risk factor. Use code analysis tools to analyze and address the code that can become vulnerable in the long run.

8. Challenges with test infrastructure scalability

The most basic challenge with Continuous Testing is to scale the operations and test the efficiency with high data volume at the same time.

Solution:

Choosing a test infrastructure that offers flexibility with version updates and high device load. It should have the ability to manage the data capacity with stability.

Conclusion

This article outlines everything that a team goes through with a novice DevOps implementation. In my opinion, DevOps implementation is not only for improving software development cycles. But the approach is also responsible for bringing about a cultural transformation where the teams don’t work in silos anymore. Cross-collaboration within various teams in the organization can bring tremendous results. DevOps is a practice of continuous improvements through the use of automation, thus improving the overall software delivery process.


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Rusy Chokshi

Technical Writer, Cloudraft.io

@rusychokshi
Writer at heart, but content writer by profession
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