DevOps has taken over agile development and now is dictating the digital world. Mid-sized businesses and large enterprises have moved from traditional ways of software development to DevOps. And, they are enjoying increasing benefits such as reproducibility, easy maintainability, cost efficiency, lesser risk, better quality, productivity, and great end results.
If you or your organization has recently developed an interest in DevOps, it is important to learn what actually DevOps is and how to implement DevOps from scratch. It includes a lot of learning and a keen understanding of different concepts, tools, practices, and processes.
Here’s a simple yet comprehensive guide to what DevOps is and how you can excel. Read on!
What is DevOps?
DevOps is an offshoot of agile development that integrates the development team and IT operations. Now, it integrates in a way that there is better collaboration, communication, engagement, and automation between software developers and IT operations aimed at improving the productivity of the team and the quality of the software.
DevOps creates an engaging environment to understand the production infrastructure in a better manner. It provides autonomy to involved teams and individuals, and so, everyone has a say in the process in a way that it comes out as a collective action. There’s no blame game or the hierarchal setup. Also, DevOps demands to break any corporate silos between developers and IT operators. You can read our article about benefits of DevOps.
What Differentiates DevOps from Traditional Software Development?
By now, you must have an idea that DevOps is a different process than traditional software development. It differs in its fundamental concept, mechanism, and implementation. Traditional software development is regarded as a conventional and slow development process, while DevOps is extremely efficient and integrates modern elements.
In traditional development, the Development team looks into testing while the Operations team prepares all the required paperwork. The operations team has no insight into the development, and they formulate a development and monitoring plan on their own. When the development team has to follow the rigid plan, there arise problems of redundancy, storage requirements, data center, and whatnot. In most cases, application crashes while load testing results in a delay in release. What is DevOps for business value?
On the other hand, DevOps encourages the development and operations team to work on paperwork together to have a shared and better understanding of the infrastructure to move to the test. This way, the monitoring plan is by the available infrastructure and resources, which ensures that all the requirements are fulfilled as per the developers’ inputs. Also, the plan is flexible, given automation and interaction. This results in only small bugs during load testing, which developers can readily fix, not causing any delay in the release.
Now that you know how DevOps is a better option, you must be curious about how to start DevOps from scratch. Here we go!
How do I Start DevOps from Scratch?
Starting out on DevOps requires you to learn all the basics step-by-step. This becomes even more important if you are going to act as the DevOps manager for your organization. However, it is equally essential for the DevOps team to understand concepts, tools, and practices.
Here are 7 steps to start DevOps from scratch.
- Learn a programming language
DevOps is largely about a programming language. It helps you look into system resources and manage them effectively. Without a programming language, you might create a poor piece of code that might be full of errors and non-versatile.
Learning a programming language makes sure that you write a great piece of code that allows optimization, portability, scalability, and is error-free. Some popular programming languages to learn for DevOps include:
- Understand Essential OS concepts
Understanding essential OS concepts makes you increasingly productive and allows you to code faster, develop interaction between input and output devices, and optimizing processing, memory, and disk usage.
Some important concepts are Kernel management, memory management, resource management, I/O management, process management, virtualization, filesystem architecture, and device drivers.
It makes you a lot better at handling key processes and develop great insight into DevOps.
- Learn Cloud Deployment
Cloud deployment is a new approach that helps you configure a group of servers in DevOps, including application, infrastructure, networking, web server, database, and so on.
Cloud deployment ensures that you need not rewrite configuration files, and scaling up and down the servers takes place dynamically. There are several software that helps you manage your servers in an advanced manner, such as Nginx.
- Understand Networking and Security
Then comes networking and security. When running and managing an interconnected network system, it is important to understand how networking works, how to ensure security, and how to diagnose security or networking problems.
There are various networking concepts to learn, such as IP address, TLS encryption, routing, firewalls, DNS, etc. Also, there are different protocols and standard rules for networking like HTTP, SSL, DNS, FTP, TCP/IP, etc.
Understanding networking allows you to create an environment where you can test your functions and put continuous integration and delivery pipelines in place.
You can get to know about different networking tools such as Ansible and Jenkins. These help configure DevOps network devices.
- Learn about CI/CD Pipeline and IaC
DevOps methodology includes two significant terms: Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) and Infrastructure as Code (IaC). Without these development practices, no DevOps process can move towards completion.
Continuous Integration (CI)
Continuous Integration is a software development practice that requires developers to integrate their codes in a shared repository. This makes sure that you do not waste time waiting for the whole development. The bits and pieces merge, are verified, and then connected together.
Continuous Delivery (CD)
Continuous Delivery is another DevOps practice that automatically builds, tests, and prepares every code check-in for release. This results in quick deployment and eliminates any delays.
CI/CD Pipeline is the integration of CI and CD in the DevOps lifecycle, which runs as continuous development, continuous testing, continuous integration, continuous deployment, and continuous monitoring.
While this is a general lifecycle, it is largely flexible. And so, organizations can reshape it as per their DevOps processes and software requirements.
Infrastructure as Code (IaC)
Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a technique used in DevOps to integrate all the infrastructure resources in single code in the form of configuration files instead of managing them individually. It makes processes a whole lot easier and efficient.
IaC helps automate and scaling, versioning, and eliminate errors manually to increase the productivity of system resources. Many tools, such as Ansible, Puppet, and Chef, allow IaC.
- Get to Know DevOps Automation Tools
As DevOps is all about automation, there can be some challenges in maintaining huge IT infrastructures. These include configuration management, deployment automation, log management, and monitoring, etc. Such challenges act as constraints in automating testing processes and result in lesser speed and lower agility.
That’s where automation tools come in!
It is important to know and use automation tools to eliminate any kind of constraint. Some helpful tools include Amazon Web Service (AWS), Chef, Jenkins, Prometheus, Splunk, Nagios, and App Dynamic, etc. As each of these renders different functions, pick the right ones carefully.
- Look into Cloud Providers
Last but not least, starting DevOps from scratch requires a thorough understanding of cloud providers. For successful DevOps, you might have to use various cloud services such as SaaS, PaaS, and IaaS. Now, there are several cloud providers like Google Cloud, AWS, and Microsoft Azure, which offer these cloud services.
As these services are available on the “cloud,” you need not purchase them. You can simply pay as you go!
If you are just starting out, choose a flexible cloud provider. DevOps experts highly recommend AWS for starters.
As you go through the learning stage, you have a good idea about what DevOps is and all that you need to start it successfully. However, learning is not the end of it. You need to know the implementation strategy, how to build DevOps roadmap, its performance metrics, and what some best practices to follow for successful DevOps are.
Get ready; here comes the practical part!
Factors to Consider for DevOps Implementation Strategy
DevOps implementation strategy relies on six fundamental factors. This helps use the right DevOps tools, technologies, and practices that ensure automation. With these factors in place, you have a successful implementation strategy in hand.
- Improved Integration
The core basis of DevOps is the improved integration of the development and IT operations teams. This principle demands a collaborative environment as the first element of a DevOps implementation strategy. Without creating such an environment, it is impossible to implement DevOps.
Speed is largely significant to carry out faster processes and follow an agile model. Only then you can stay ahead of your competitors and win customer satisfaction. To ensure speed, the DevOps model includes Continuous Delivery.
Thus, the first element in your implementation strategy is Continuous Delivery.
- Quick Delivery
DevOps involves frequent cycles of delivery and recovery. Now, the deliveries need not include complete parts of the product but rather small bits and code check-ins. The recovery time allows rapid fixing. For this purpose, a DevOps implementation strategy has a popular practice, Continuous Integration as it allows faster innovation and rapid delivery.
Processes such as continuous integration and continuous delivery result in functional and high-quality output. It ensures a positive end-user experience overall. It generates reliability and productivity.
Scaling helps inefficient operations and management of system resources and overall infrastructure. To ensure scalability, DevOps implementation strategy must incorporate Infrastructure as Code (IaC) practice.
No matter the stage of product development, IaC allows effective management.
Security is another crucial factor when designing and implementing a DevOps strategy. Following configuration management techniques can achieve this. Other than IaC, Policy as Code is another DevOps practice that helps ensure efficient management and automation.
You can also look into DevSecOps, a new integration model, to meet security challenges when implementing your DevOps strategy.
Keeping these factors into consideration, you can come up with an effective DevOps implementation strategy to implement DevOps successfully!
Building DevOps Roadmap
Now that you have a strategy, there is a need to build a DevOps roadmap for successful execution. Here’s how to create a DevOps roadmap following six simple steps:
I. Establish DevOps Goals and Objectives
As you build your DevOps roadmap, the very first thing you need to do is establish DevOps goals and objectives. While there are some common objectives, it is important to list down the DevOps objectives and goals specifically related to the current product and project. This helps create a shared understanding among the DevOps team.
II. Formulate DevOps Strategy
In the next step, you need to formulate your DevOps strategy. You can successfully do that by following the factors mentioned above and practices. The strategy should also include a monitoring plan and policy.
Follow by assigning roles and responsibilities to each DevOps team member. Implement the IaC mechanism, integrate processes, run automation, and deploy the required tools.
III. Utilize Containerization
Containerization is a critical step in the DevOps roadmap. Containerizing means making some parts of your software completely independent of the rest of the infrastructure. This enables them to run in any environment, without any dependencies. It helps in the quick application of minor changes and micro-services on Ops end. It increases software flexibility and reliability to a great extent.
IV. Integrate CI/CD Pipeline into Infrastructure
Integrating CI/CD pipeline into infrastructure with the help of CI/CD and automation tools is the most important step. It has to be done very carefully as it takes into account configuration management and suitable deployment.
V. Automation testing and QA-Dev Alignment
Automation testing ensures rapid delivery cycles. However, this does not mean that you need to automate every test type. You can choose to keep the functional testing manual.
QA-Dev (quality assurance and development) alignment, when put into place, assures high quality of the product during development. This alignment allows developers to detect bugs earlier and address the problem before release.
VI. Monitor Performance and Fix Defects
Performance monitoring provides transparency to the DevOps processes. You need to pick some performance metrics to measure the progress of the project and the product. Some simple yet significant performance metrics include:
- Resource utilization
- Crash rate
This way, you can come across the root causes of defects during development and monitoring.
Best Practices for Successful DevOps
DevOps team needs to follow great DevOps practices to achieve basic goals of enhanced integration and collaboration, bug-free coding, automated testing, and higher productivity. Following are the 6 best practices that can help you in successful DevOps:
- Evaluate the Needs of Your Business
Before you implement DevOps, evaluate if your business actually needs DevOps. You should not follow DevOps just because it is the latest trends but because your business needs to align with the DevOps objectives.
- Priorities Customer Satisfaction
All the agile development processes, including DevOps, put customer satisfaction at the center. Without prioritizing customer satisfaction, you cannot establish the end goals of your project. Having customer requirements in focus keep the DevOps team on the same track.
- Start Small
The key to successful DevOps lies in starting small. DevOps requires you to break larger chunks of the project into smaller pieces. This way, you can achieve smaller but faster release cycles. When you start small, you have the room to scale up. Slow adaptation encourages better performance.
- Encourage Automation, Wherever Possible
DevOps does not mean automating every process but the ones where it can generate better and efficient results. Therefore, it is important to figure out when and where to automate. You can employ automation to code writing, resource configuration, networking, load testing, and some other kinds of testing.
It saves a lot of time, manual effort, and costs.
- Choose Compatible Tools
Tools make the most crucial part of DevOps. Choosing tools that are compatible with each other and align with your IT environment helps you reduce the conflicts between the development and operations team.
It is recommended that you pick a tool that offers more than a single function, so there are not too many tools in place to manage.
- Create a Feedback Tool
No matter the kind of project, a feedback tool plays a great role. It ensures transparency. Create a feedback loop that gathers feedback from the DevOps team, stakeholders, customers, and end-users. It assists you in identifying risks, constraints, and defects at the right time. Also, it develops stakeholders and end-users trust.
Starting DevOps from scratch requires an understanding that DevOps is not just an initiative but a complete change in the culture and philosophy of your organization’s practices and teamwork. While 65% of mid-evolution organizations report using public cloud, only 20% of them are using cloud to its full potential compared to 57% of high-evolution organizations. For the implementation of successful DevOps, you need to have enough understanding, proper strategy, a solid roadmap, and some best practices to follow!