What is DevOps – A Guide to Basics

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A project involves the collaboration of multiple teams. But what if there is no coordination between those teams? Even the stellar product falls in the market! Modern-day organizations understand that everything from coding to marketing is interrelated, and no two silos can work independently and separately. Thus, moving ahead with proper coordination and clear communication is essential – right from the start of the product development stage. Therefore, here comes the concept of DevOps. 

The article is a complete guide to DevOps – Starting from the basics. So, let’s dive in straight to the concepts.   

What is DevOps? 

The term DevOps originated from developments (Dev) + operations (Ops).   

It is an amalgamation of people, processes, and technology. It is not a product or service that one can buy. It is an approach and a concept that every small and big business adopts to foster the adoption of iterative automation, narrow interpretation, and programmable infrastructure developments. It bridges the gap between IT operators and product developers to offer a seamless development process.

Advantages of DevOps

  • High speed and less downtime in the product development process.
  • Improved collaboration and reduced the number of silos between different teams in the project.
  • Increased automation – reducing hassle and time consumption on secondary tasks.
  • Less time and effort in marketing.
  • High security of product build and resources.
  • More reliability on the product and its success.
  • High-quality output.

An illustration will help better understand the DevOps concept.

Assume a small business developing next-generation smart speakers. Two teams were handling this project, one was the development team (Team A), and the other was the operations team (Team B). Team A took some seven months to innovate and manufacture this smart speaker. Now comes the role of Team B to market the product and offer tech support to customers when team A handed over the product to Team B with software specification guides. Until now, it was a stellar product operating smoothly with advanced features.

But when Team B commenced its marketing campaigns in real-world dynamics – the product wasn’t stellar, operations weren’t smooth. Even when the user purchased the product, Team B couldn’t handle the customer queries. Everyone is familiar with this situation because every time businesses launch their product, the same landscape is narrated.

Why is DevOps needed?

Because the given two teams were not synchronized, Team B was not aware of the full potentiality of the product, and therefore, marketing campaigns didn’t reap the best results (ROI). Team B does not have knowledge and access to the code repository. Later, the customer queries also can’t be smoothly resolved in one interaction due to the lack of understanding of the entire working of the product in Team B. Therefore, synchronization of both the teams at every step is important.

How does DevOps work?

In simpler terms – the developers and IT operators collaboratively work on the project under the DevOps methodology. DevOps adherents utilize a wide range of methods to make the product software function in the same way from the development phase to production.

DevOps works in the structure of an infinite loop, and the whole lifecycle of DevOps is divided into eight phases.

  1. Plan
  2. Code
  3. Build
  4. Test
  5. Release
  6. Deploy
  7. Operate
  8. Monitor

Decoding the lifecycle of DevOps at its core.

If you look at these stages, you will find that they are divided into five phases at their core. These are-

  1. Continuous development
  2. Continuous testing
  3. Continuous integration
  4. Continuous deployment
  5. Continuous monitoring

Continuous Development

It covers the first and second stages of the DevOps lifecycle – planning and coding. It refers to software development and project management practice where the team first breaks more significant tasks into smaller ones according to the project requirement – to maximize the output, align the working process, and lower the downtime. It enables developers to understand project expectations fully. However, one can use Confluence or Atlassian Jira DevOps tools for visualizing and securing the project goals.

Later, it proceeds with the developers writing the product software code using efficient DevOps tools like Git and Jira.

Continuous Integration

It is a method where derived or built code is tested and operated to determine whether the code aligns with the expected product or software specifications. Also, it offers immediate feedback on code, which reflects the real-time results and helps developers build high-quality solutions.

Continuous testing

It covers the third and fourth stages of the DevOps lifecycle – building and testing. It is an iterative process of building, experimenting, and testing until you get what works best for your organization. Developers at this stage prepare a centralized source code repository after experimentation.

Once developers finish writing codes, they share the repository with the team through build tools like Gradle and Maven. This source serves as a single source of truth for code.

Continuous deployment

It covers the fifth and sixth stages of the DevOps lifecycle – packaging and releasing. This process eliminates the requirement of manual correction whenever the code is modified. It ensures that code and the scheduled release are deployed successfully on all the servers. This enables developers to check and eliminate errors quickly without complexities. Different containership tools like Vagrant help in configuration management.

Continuous monitoring 

It covers the seventh and eighth stages of the DevOps lifecycle – operate and monitor. It is essential to evaluate the output to identify the bugs and gray areas in the software. Different system errors like ‘low memory’ or ‘server not reachable’ are some issues that need to be addressed and resolved. Operation teams use various DevOps tools like NewRelic, ELK Stack, Sensu, and Splunk to monitor user behavior.

Takeaways

DevOps results do not show up overnight, and it is a long journey. Committed effort to incorporate DevOps practices in the organization with the aim to increase collaboration and productivity is vital. Build, experiment, evaluate, and modify the DevOps methodologies – until you achieve the desired output.

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