If you’ve spent any time in the software sphere at all over the past few years, you’ve undoubtedly come across the term DevOps. It seems to be popping up everywhere with more and more businesses adopting it. While some may see it is as just another industry buzzword, DevOps seems to have some real staying power.
What is it exactly? What does it mean for our businesses? How do we put it into practice? Let’s dig into DevOps.
At its core, DevOps is a set of practices that automate software development processes in order to build, test, release, and manage workloads faster and more reliably. Historically organizations often had separate teams to build (Application Development) and run (Infrastructure Operations) software. As both disciplines become more automated and teams become more autonomous rather than consecutive silos, things flow smoother and releases are able to occur with higher frequency.
If this all sounds vaguely familiar, it’s likely because the goals of DevOps are quite similar to those of the Agile development model. Both have increased frequency and speed at the forefront and both are focused on keeping the process as efficient as possible through increased communication. The difference, however, lies in who’s doing that communicating. While Agile fills in the gaps between the development team and the customer, DevOps achieves that same outcome between the development team and the operations team.
The Benefits of DevOps
While the actual implementation of DevOps may vary by company, several key components are, for the most part, always present and they manifest themselves as major benefits in the development cycle. One of those is shorter development cycles. This comes as a result of that increased communication we mentioned earlier.
Since shorter development cycles mean more frequent releases, it also means that teams can more quickly see what is and what isn’t resonating with users. This allows for frequent tweaks and updates that result in a better experience for your users. In turn, by instrumenting your software you are able to keep it running smoothly. That being said, not all features work. However, with DevOps, recovery time for bugs and other service failures is greatly reduced so your software is back functioning properly much quicker than if the development and operations teams are siloed.
When your teams are more communicative and collaborative, the end result is that they’re much more efficient and that efficiency equates to cost-savings. To put it frankly, incorporating DevOps into your business’s plan is more economical and profitable for your bottom line.
The MentorMate Approach to DevOps
As stated above, DevOps implementation varies depending on your specific company’s needs. At MentorMate, we break DevOps into five main areas: Automation, Cloud-Native, Culture, Security, and Observability.
Environment immutability is rapidly growing. The key to making this possible is being able to automate everything. Cloud account creation and protection, code deployment, infrastructure spin up and down, data anonymization and more need automation to enable multiple micro service deployments a day. By deploying change frequently, validated learning is drastically increased. This leads to a better understanding of what is and isn’t working. It also allows teams to fail fast without breaking others and quickly improves the velocity of your project.
By creating cloud-native functionality, organizations are better able to match demand with opportunity. This ensures investment is applied when it’s needed and capital is saved when appropriate. We utilize AWS, Azure, and the Google Cloud platform depending on the scalability needs of the project.
Cloud-native also allows organizations to globally distribute their products to ensure customer experience remains consistent regardless of the user’s physical location. Finally, cloud-native allows technology to take advantage of the very latest consistency and durability patterns so that users’ data is where they need it when they need it, and nothing more.
Autonomy is the key to successful software teams. By owning what they build, teams are empowered to make micro-level changes in response to incoming telemetry. This reduces the fear of change and ensures you are able to operate as quickly as the market demands. Our development teams in Bulgaria operate with this autonomy and quickly respond to technical challenges as they arise. By empowering them to solve problems as they come up, we’re saving valuable time in the development cycle. This makes for a huge win for everyone involved from our clients to their users.
The technology world loves to share its new innovations. By doing this all parties (good and bad) benefit from learning how to build software quicker. This means organizations must shift their security practices and embed automatic customer protection everywhere. Getting into the practice of proactively scanning all assets and performing anomaly detection only takes minutes — or, in some cases, seconds — and really goes a long way to keeping your software secure. Failing to do this always results in known vulnerabilities finding their way into your platform.
One of the biggest benefits of DevOps is receiving insight into what is and isn’t working with your software. But how do we track all of this feedback? You need systems that inform you of their health. Users care less about whether a system is up; they care more that it is working for them. Focus on ensuring your systems are instrumented to enable this type of customer-centric approach. Investing in software like Atlassian’s Statuspage is a great place to start. Their system democratizes insights to ensure confidence in your releases and quick reaction time if an issue arises.
Needless to say, as we look to the future of building software, DevOps practices will undoubtedly enable teams to deliver quicker than ever before. The many benefits that DevOps carries make it a no-brainer and easily ensure its staying power.