What is DevOps? A Much-Hyped Question

Introduction

DevOps seems like the trending buzzword in the cloud community. And, rightly so, since it has changed the way we perceive software development. It is nothing new that an active software calls in for regular updates. As you read this article your system may be undergoing several updates to keep itself running. Traditionally, software development is all about cross-functional teams working to achieve a single objective. 

On this note, I will discuss the traditional approach of software developments, Waterfall, and Agile Model. Both of them had their share of advantages but the problems were mostly common to both. The code deployment time being the worst one, it took a humongous amount of time to deploy the codes. I am sure many of us have often heard problems between the development team and the operations or deployment team. When the development team complains of the servers, and operations team redirects the problem to the codes. A never-ending loop probably!

 

What is DevOps?

Consider that software development is the ultimate goal, to achieve. Now, two teams named as Dev(development) and Ops(operations) are the main players. Dev consists of members like requirements, design, and implementation. Ops, on the other hand, deals with deployment, verification, and maintenance. Fights between these teams are common, as they do not work together. Ops wait for Dev team to deliver their end of the bargain (read codes). Then they start to work on implementing them. Two functional teams highly dependent on each other yet work completely independent of each other. Hence, chaos and a huge amount of time lost in the interactions. Well, it’s rather best to say despite excelling in their departments, there always remains an air of confusion between them. Therefore, for the time being, think of DevOps as the middle ground that broke that wall of confusion between Dev and Ops.

DevOps is a union or collaboration of the work, process, and the product with the people to enable continuous delivery. Here, both development and its deployment work in a pipeline with full automation. “From plan to code to release to deploy to monitor, and back to plan”! You might imagine this as an infinite loop.

 

The Stages of DevOps

DevOps is an approach towards Continuous Development, Continuous Testing, Continuous Integration, Continuous Deployment, and Continuous Monitoring of the software throughout its development life cycle. Now, let me take you through each stage for a better understanding.

Continuous Development

This stage is all about the plans and codes. The idea behind the project and the initial coding accordingly is the main purpose of this phase. You need not write the codes in any specific language, but Version Control Tools maintain the codes. This is known as Source Code Management. Hence, the maintenance of the codes calls for a few tools, whereas planning does not require any tools. Git, SVN, Mercurial, CVS, and JIRA are some of the tools used.

Continuous Integration

In simple terms, this phase is the heart of DevOps. Here, the team coders integrate their codes frequently, the frequency can be daily or weekly, or even multiple codes in a day. These changes in the source code, help in the early detection of problems. Well before anything else, you need to know since there is a continuous development of software, the updated code needs to be integrated continuously as well as seamlessly with the systems for an actual change. Jenkins, TeamCity, and Travis are the extensively used tools in this process.

For that, code building is the key. Building code as you know is primarily compilation, but here it’s more. It includes code review, integration testing, unit testing, and packaging. Hence, this ensures a smooth integration of changes in the source code.

Continuous Testing

This is the phase responsible for continuous testing of the codes for the bug. Jenkins, a tool used in the integration phase can automate code building. If you do not want to opt for automation then, there are tools like Selenium, Junit, TestNG that you can use for automation testing. While using these tools; User Acceptance Testing or, UAT, is used. This test as the name suggests checking for compatibility with the end-user after the codes are built. Since DevOps is all about continuous processes ensuring a seamless transition with efficient functionality is primary. These tools allow your QAs to test multiple code-bases simultaneously to ensure that there are no flaws in the functionality.

Continuous Deployment

Yes! You got it right this phase deploys the codes for production. But before I proceed further, I would like you to get a grip over two very important things; containerization tools, and configuration management.

  • Containerization tools are a key factor in maintaining the consistency of code development throughout all the environments from development, to testing to production. Other than maintaining consistency these tools also help in scaling-up or scaling-down of instances in a jiffy. Docker and Vagrant are the popularly used tools for containerization.
  • Configuration management can be put into layman’s words as the act of keeping the consistency of the configuration across all the servers. Well, you are most likely to deploy one or more new codes on a regular interval. Hence, it is of utmost importance that the application’s functionality requirements and, performance is not hampered rather improved. This calls for consistency in executing the tasks. That is what configuration management does. Tools used are Puppet, Chef, Ansible, and SaltStack.

Continuous Monitoring

This phase is responsible for the monitoring of the deployed codes, as the name suggests continuously. Splunk, ELK Stack, Nagios, and New Relic, these tools are the big players in this phase. The crucial comparison between demand and production is the key here. For that, you need to gather information regarding the use of the software. Then use it to cross-check the proper functionality of the application. All the issues such as low memory, server not reachable, etc are taken up and resolved in this phase. This is kind of a health check-up for your software.

 

Conclusion

DevOps is a revolutionary software development practice that encourages teamwork. Real-time problems in software can be ambiguous, you will not be able to always pin-point what went wrong or where. Hence, this virtually infinite loop of continuous processes throughout assists to bridge this gap of data segregation. It brings all the departments to take part in all the processes, yet keeping their expertise.

The article got you interested? Then look no further because Nuvepro provides hands on labs to help complete your learning. If you are in the process of learning the concepts of DevOps or maybe thinking of taking it up. Even if you are an expert looking to deploy these tools for your teams, please reach out to us, we will be happy to help.

 

References:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2MwOjn4x638

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_Gpe1Zn-1fE

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3EyT1i0wYUY

https://resources.collab.net/devops-101/what-is-devops

https://www.dotnettricks.com/learn/devops/what-is-devops-and-devops-advantages

https://www.edureka.co/blog/what-is-devops

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