This means that the operations side of the equation will version control and deploy infrastructure it manages in the same way that the developers develop application code. We’ll talk about this more in our next DevOps 101 blog.
For now, realize that by combining the brainpower, processes and energy of these two groups, you can deliver your application and software services at a faster pace and lessen the time it takes your products to go to market.
What are DevOps Best Practices?
To achieve this, you apply core DevOps best practices to the process and its “infrastructure-as-code” philosophy. While we’ll break down these practices and related features in future DevOps 101 blogs, let’s take a quick look so you can familiarize yourself with them.
As part of any successful DevOps program, you’ll deploy your instances, Operating System configuration and applications using “infrastructure-as-code” tools which are highly automated.
Automating deployment and configuration management helps to ensure your infrastructure is stable and secure and cuts down on the number of processes (and team members) needed to manage the environment.
Applications and their dependencies can be “pinned” to specific versions, giving your developers a consistent platform to ship features from, and your operators predictable infrastructure to manage.
Please note that while a DevOps team blends the responsibilities of a Development Team with an Operations Team, it is critical that representatives from different backgrounds participate - this blending of the 2 usually opposed views is precisely the magic of DevOps - as both concerns are represented in a single team.
It is a wise practice to look to developers and operators from many different business or software disciplines when staffing such a team, as diversity can lead to more effective and holistic solutions to common DevOps challenges.
You can use a number of tools and techniques to streamline your automation process. These include, but aren’t limited to, Terraform for infrastructure deployment, Docker for containerization, Kubernetes to orchestrate those containers into services (check out our Kubernetes 101 series for more about this), Git for version control, Ansible, Chef, and Puppet for configuration management and much more! Nearly anything that used to be a manual process in software delivery can be automated these days, enabling cool things like ChatOps.
Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery
Automation allows you to make this next practice, continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD), a reality. When you automate your software deployment pipeline, you can quickly build, test and deploy apps, reducing the time to do this down from months to minutes or hours, often almost instantly, allowing developers to push code updates to the application many times a day.
This is critical especially in large organizations, where many teams of developers may work on the same product. In these organizations, the coordination of release cycles becomes more important, requiring high levels of automation in software delivery.
Using the CI/CD practice, your DevOps team will push smaller, more frequent automatic code updates first to a testing environment to ensure all of these changes will work when released to production. Once approved by the team, the updates are good to go. This means you can identify bugs easier and deliver updates faster than your pre-DevOps days.
When you practice DevOps, your holistic team will architect and deploy scalable and elastic environments that are durable enough to withstand spikes in activity and outside attacks without crashing.
DevOps site reliability engineering allows you to create stronger protocols for optimizing redundancies, keeping a solid monitoring program in place and setting and reacting to alerts when your environment has gone awry. You also can incorporate crucial security best practices into your strategy.
Why Should I Implement a DevOps Strategy?
It’s no cliche that in today’s hyper-competitive environment, speed is everything. You want to get your products and services to market quickly and deliver your software services and apps faster and more reliably.
Traditional software development and infrastructure practices can’t keep up with this need for speed. They’re too siloed. A holistic approach like DevOps keeps you moving and innovating.
When you automate formerly slow, manual processes, your application environment can evolve quickly so you can react better to changing market conditions, the need for speedy updates and, as always, customer demands.
It’s recently been said that while software services and apps used to “support a business,” they are now an integral part of how you do business every day, from how you interact with customers, sell goods and services and deliver them, among other things. A solid DevOps strategy allows you to do this with safeguards and strategy in place.