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DevOps Explored

April 10, 2023

DevOps goes beyond being a set of software tools to automate the software development lifecycle. It's a culture based on collaboration and shared responsibility that brings both the development team as well as the operations team closer together with a unified customer focus. The processes involved in the DevOps methodology are unique. The different agendas between development and operations teams require a unique set of interpersonal skills and conceptual philosophies and principles that should, at best, be adhered to and, at worst, strived for. Communication is what allows these teams to be able to fulfill very different agendas while still working closely together.

DevOps guys and girls love to automate things. Anything a SysEngineer, SysAdmin, or developer would do manually, such as backups, testing, or alerts, would be automated. Various tools such as Terraform, Jenkins, docker, ansible, Chef, puppet, git, Kubernetes, Prometheus, python, and AWS (or one of many other cloud providers) all work together to almost entirely automate the entire software development life cycle. There are many variations of each tool for each stage of the software development life cycle. That is why I say that DevOps is more than the software tools themselves. It's the process that's important.   Automation also happens in other forms, such as client feedback loops. Whoever has the final say in determining whether an application is good or not, that person or group has an integral part in the development of software (whether they are tech people or not). These customer feedback loops are a core part of the DevOps methodology. This same data is used to continuously monitor, manage, test, and deploy applications automatically. Any automatic mechanism that takes data from your application, pipeline, or process to make it increase performance or lower cost at higher quality is a continuous improvement. That's what DevOps is all about.

Teams are used to working in isolation. In the traditional model, the development team develops the software, and the operations team deploys it to the servers and manages it from there. In DevOps, these two teams have to work together simultaneously in order to achieve each individual goal in a rapid and efficient manner. An example of how to work around this issue is to use cross-functional teams. This is where members from different teams work together to achieve common goals. Someone on the database team might be in a separate team, along with a DevOps guy and a developer.

If teams are used to working a certain way, they might be resistant to change. This resistance to change can get in the way of what DevOps is trying to do in a particular organization. Organizations can take a gradual approach to adopting DevOps practices. Once the benefits become apparent, it will be easier to accept change and adapt to a more DevOps way of operating.

IT teams usually err on the side of reliability and stability. This can get in the way of scalability and agility. The following concept, in my opinion, was a breakthrough in bringing followers to the DevOps philosophy. The concept of the developer being able to innovate with exciting new code is not hindered by the need to continuously test these innovations. In the DevOps world, both can coexist. The key here is for teams to establish processes and tools that enable them to maintain stability while still giving them the space to innovate. These tests enable the developers to make sure the code does not break the status quo (assuming production is stable) while enabling them to test out their new features.

Whether we are talking about infrastructure, installation scripts, or applications, the "as code" concept is apparent everywhere in DevOps culture. Having everything as code makes sense from a documentation perspective. It's not enough anymore just to have a mind map of your entire infrastructure in your head. Everything has a version, number, repository, and a config file. It's about the process of applying these details to the various tools of DevOps that make the methodology unique.   Everything gets tested, and all these things are automated. Things are usually managed in a file that's appropriate, including infrastructure. Infrastructure as code is prevalent in DevOps culture because of its conceptual advantage. If it is code, you can package it, copy it, and take it with you.

DevOps call for testing software as early in the software development life cycle process as possible. This just makes sense. Bugs are inevitable. The quicker they are detected, the quicker the developers can get them fixed, and the quicker they can go to the operations team to get them deployed on production servers.

DevOps methodology encompasses the tools used in order to automate the software development lifecycle and the methods that enables teams to incorporate feedback from clients and data to enable efficient, well-documented, and organized procedures and processes. Thus, DevOps is all about reducing the time between code changes and deployment.

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