DevOps Best Practices for Implementing Continuous Delivery
01 Jun 2023
DevOps comprises a series of practices that focus on integrating and automating the work flow between software developers and IT teams.
This enables companies to more quickly and reliably create, test, and release software. Traditionally, software development and the IT function operated in separate silos. But DevOps (the word is a portmanteau of development and operations) is helping firms overcome the development-operations barrier. This approach encompasses consistent and frequent collaboration and improvement of iterations. It can be likened to a philosophy, one shaped like an infinity loop.
A basic definition of DevOps is that it involves the use of repeatable and automated processes to improve the delivery of software, from source code to end user. For software developers, that means building more polished products and extending the lifetime of software by delivering more frequent updates. For IT, that means ensuring the availability of the organization’s software. DevOps provides the ultimate platform for innovators to test, create, and improve applications more quickly than ever before. The initial implementation of DevOps in a company can be time-consuming, but once it is completed, it becomes a core practice of software development.
The concept reportedly coalesced from a discussion between Patrick Debois and Andrew Clay in 2008.
DevOps is best described as an holistic approach to developing software and delivering it. It’s an approach to the end-to-end lifecycle of software development and operations. The end result is high-quality products and services for end-users, and decreased risk.
In the past, companies relied on a waterfall model for software development. In this approach, developers and IT operations worked in silos and the work is in phases, and each phase needs to be completed before the next phase begins. The work is cascaded down a hierarchy. However, this method does not embrace continuous delivery. DevOps brings together the distributed, flexible work force at a firm and the centralized, closed systems that comprise the business.
DevOps improves the reliability, scalability and speed of software delivery, and allows more flexibility and innovation. It increases teamwork, collaboration, and creativity, and provides faster feedback loops and iteration cycles. Also, it gives software developers the tools they need to focus on solving unique problems.
In a recent GitLab survey, 60% of polled developers reported releasing code twice after the implementation of DevOps. Further, when it comes to the Ops side, 56% of respondents report that their teams are fully or mostly automated already.
DevOps has the potential to revolutionize the way businesses operate. Its tools help with streamlined data flow between the development and operations teams. Also, increased automation helps companies improve their efficiency. The best news about this is that it's very easy to get started.
Traditional IT encompasses a lot of risk-based decision-making by the project managers, team leads, CIO, or IT executives. Traditional IT organizations rely heavily on employee buy-in and employee management. When companies think about digital transformation, they need to consider how to move the needle. This is where DevOps comes in.
The Checklist to Becoming a DevOps-Minded Company
It's becoming clear that DevOps is a powerful tool to drive down costs and boost innovation. What's more, it's fast becoming a standard across all kinds of businesses in the digital age. This approach typically requires a combination of IT tools, as well as certain business practices. In fact, it calls for the optimization of both the technologies and the business. This typically requires an investment in training and processes.
Below is a checklist that will give you an idea of the kinds of tasks you’ll need to complete to embrace DevOps:
- Organize your data and software development processes around creating, deploying, testing, and integrating code.
- Develop and continually refine a common methodology that can be used across multiple teams.
- Create an agile development and release process and set goals for each development cycle.
- Integrate systems and workflows to provide continuous integration and deliver new functionality faster.
Build a DevOps culture that values security, quality, reliability, efficiency, speed, innovation, and simplicity.
How to Implement Continuous Delivery
It's all about cooperation, rather than conflict. Developing the agility to deliver software quickly, and in a way that respects the enterprise's end-user experience, requires cross-functional coordination and collaboration.
DevOps can be undertaken in a variety of ways. Some of the steps involved include automating the deployment and release process for software, which can reduce downtime and error. This helps businesses deliver software to users faster and for lower costs. Another step is to embed continuous integration automated testing as a key part of developing and building software. Continuous integration is the process of running your software on a continuous basis, testing on every commit. It runs your software against the quality standards defined by software testers in order to establish whether a release is error-free and ready for users.
To accomplish the goal of continuous delivery, a host of tools have been created by product development and IT teams to provide the necessary competencies and best practices needed to integrate the development and operation worlds.
What Are the Challenges of DevOps?
There is little doubt that DevOps is here to stay. However, adopting it and successfully implementing it are not the same thing. There are several challenges faced by those trying to fully implement DevOps in their organization.
DevOps requires an enormous shift in perspective, mindset and approach. Companies must move from development as code and test to a continuous delivery model that is built upon flexible policies. The business’ culture must adapt to such a paradigm shift and to radically different ways of working. Therefore, the company’s internal culture can constitute a barrier to implementation. This requires a wholesale change in mindset. But the rewards will be worth it, as many business can already attest.