What is devops?

At inception devops was considered a fad, yet it is now a key part of the software product or service development world. Devops creates a stable and collaborative environment across an organization so that code developments reach market sooner, have less errors, better version management and less cost.

The 6 Key Steps to Successful Devops

1. Culture Shift

In devops the aim is to bring people together with the right process and tools and have them collaborate to meet the project challenges. This often brings about a cultural change within an organization and success depends on support at the very top of the organization. Incentives should be looked at to encourage people to embrace the changes, looking at rewards for improving customer experience for example. Good team leaders will encourage and motivate staff.

2. Continuous integration/continuous delivery

As the organization gets on board the focus then turns to the devops team. A good devops strategy involves a developer following the product or service they are developing from inception to production, ensuring that they tackle any issues before handing it over for the next stage. The team should be involved in every part of the life cycle of the product from requirements, to planning through deployment and ongoing maintenance.

3. Continuous Testing

In Devops testing happens continuously rather than waiting until the point of production to highlight any flaws. At each stage the testing will either clear the code or push it back for more editing. This streamlined process means that nothing goes to production without being tested, making it less likely to need expensive overhauls at the time of release.

4. Continuous Deployments

Every build that passes the testing cycle is automatically deployed without the need for human involvement making it quicker to deliver and update products and make any necessary changes. Each iteration is released to limited users through the automation of release dates. If the code is well written and tested continuous deployment can be hugely successful and continuous monitoring enables developers to work on features that appeal to the end user.

5. Use Blue/Green Deployment

Blue deployment occurs when a change is made and a deployment is triggered. Blue deployments always run in line with the old version (the green deployment). Only a small amount of users initially have access to the blue deployment with more following if the deployment works well. Eventually the green deployment will be removed. If the blue deployment fails it is easy to reroute people back to the green avoiding any kind of downtime or system outage.

6. Continuous Performance Monitoring

Automated monitoring is essential but be sure to adequately assess which metrics you need to monitor. With many hundreds and thousands of processes it is not possible to successful monitor them all. Keep focused on the following 5 most important areas:

  • Development cycles: How often is the code changed or bugs found and rectified?
  • Deployments: How will you be alerted if a deployment fails?
  • Vulnerabilities: How are these rectified?
  • Server health: Vital to achieve a good performance and should be continuously monitored.
  • Application performance tools watch how the app is used, identify problems and respond proactively
  • Configuration management tools monitor for security, compliance or configuration problems and act to mitigate them.

If you look at best practice, put the right people in place and develop adequate processes for testing, delivery and deployment, the switch to devops should ultimately prove beneficial.

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