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Why DevOps Has Become a Major Playmaker in IT

By automating workflows and continuously measuring their performance, DevOps can help companies make their product development more efficient.

This post is part of Industry Perspectives. Learn more about contributing to IT Pro here.

Meet Jon, a developer who works for a company that delivers products and services to the market. His company’s success depends on how well their products and features are delivered in comparison with their competitors. Jon works for the product development team, where he’s involved in developing new products, features, security updates, and bug fixes.

But unfortunately, Jon has to wait for weeks to deliver new products and features into production, meaning that some vendors come up with new releases faster than his company does. This is stressful for Jon since he has to manage pending code that is still waiting to move into production and develop code for new products and features at the same time.

Once Jon’s code is deployed to the production environment, alas unforeseen errors do sometimes occur. This is because Jon developed the code in his development environment rather than positioning it in the production environment, leaving a gap between the development and production environments that prevents successful code implementation.

Now let’s meet Jon’s colleague, Dany. She’s a system administrator on the operations team, which means she’s responsible for maintaining and assuring the uptime of their production environment. Their company continues to launch a number of products and features periodically, so the number of servers Dany has to maintain keeps growing day by day. And since the scope of her maintenance keeps expanding every day, Dany can’t use the same tools she used before.

When new code is developed and deployed into Dany’s workspace, Jon has to perform some revamps and optimization to make sure the code works. This takes a long time as revamping the code is a delicate process; the code and its fit are tested a few times before they coordinate successfully. This back and forth actually leaves both the developer and the operations team less efficient, leading to a delayed delivery of products and features.

Where does DevOps fit in to all this?

The main advantage of having Jon from the development team and Dany from the operations team work together is that their coordination helps break down IT silos. That is what a DevOps culture can offer businesses. DevOps integrates development and operations teams to provide products and features faster. By automating workflows and continuously measuring their performance, DevOps can help companies make their product development more efficient. DevOps focuses on automating the entire development process, right from testing new code all the way to infrastructure.

Let’s see how DevOps can completely overhaul companies’ IT processes.

Code Formulation and Deployment

Rather than formulating code in major chunks, DevOps culture practices writing new code in smaller chunks so that code can be easily written, tested and implemented without any further delay in deployment. DevOps increases the conversion rate between the development and operations teams, boosts the deployment frequency and makes it more consistent, and also decreases the time it takes to write new code.

How can they perform better together?

With a DevOps mindset, development and operations teams can also start implementing best practice procedures, such as an iterative process to monitor the code to deployment flow, and eventually improve their development and deployment workflow. Jon and Dany can develop configuration management code that describes how products or features have to be built. This will allow them to build products and features that are compatible with different sized environments, from dozens, hundreds or thousands of servers using different types of hardware at multiple locations.

Tracking and Documenting Code

A source control system will help Jon and Dany track, monitor and document their application and configuration management code. With a DevOps culture in place, Jon and Dany can adopt a discipline of real-time application performance monitoring and optimization. All this analysis will provide them with the right metrics about the overall development and operation processes they have carried out to launch a particular feature or product.

Two Components of Achieving an Effective DevOps Culture

  • Change in mindset
  • New tools to adopt DevOps

The former can be achieved with effective leadership and people management strategies. Managers can make their development and operations teams work together by helping them understand the benefits and results of a collaborative approach to product development and delivery.

The second component deals with providing the operations and development teams with new tools to practice DevOps culture. A few key DevOps tools include:

  • Solutions for continuously writing and testing code, like Jenkins.
  • Source control tools that allow teams to manage and document all the changes that have been made to their application and configuration management code. GitHub is a popular example.
  • Application deployment tools that allow teams to automatically deploy applications to thousands of servers in different locations. A few examples include Chef, Puppet and SaltStack.
  • Application performance monitoring and software management tools, like ManageEngine’s Application Manager and Desktop Central.
  • Log monitoring software, like New Relic, for analyzing system and application logs.

Benefits of DevOps

  • Less time for products to reach the market.
  • Quality delivery of products and features.
  • More focus on improving the business.
  • Quality time spent in development and operations.
  • Collaborative approach helps achieve goals on time.
  • Customer satisfaction is maintained.

When development and operations teams work together, they help their company innovate faster and be more responsive to business needs. DevOps helps companies deliver more product releases without compromising quality. For any business that offers products or services, implementing a DevOps culture is a first step to improving overall productivity.

About the Author  
g Giridhara Raam is a product analyst at ManageEngine, a division of Zoho Corp. He works with the endpoint management team, focusing on Desktop Central solution and free Windows admin tools. Meanwhile, he also immerses himself in cybersecurity research from an endpoint management context. His love of IT is rivaled only by his passion for FC Barcelona and football in general. For more information, please visit buzz.manageengine.com/; follow the company blog at blogs.manageengine.com/ and on LinkedIn at www.linkedin.com/company/manageengine-, Facebook at www.facebook.com/ManageEngine and Twitter @ManageEngine.
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