Despite a large amount of info on DevOps, there’s still a lack of details on concrete steps to take to start DevOps implementation and make it successful in speeding up software development and operations. This article will define the roadmap to start DevOps, consider its value, and further show how the DevOps implementation plan can be realized.
Implementing the DevOps approach presupposes that developers, QA engineers, and system administrators now work in alignment with each other. The ongoing communication between the DevOps practitioners allows preparing and delivering new software pieces to production faster and with a decreased number of bugs missed.
What you should not expect from DevOps
While the DevOps popularity rises, the number of misconceptions surrounding this approach increases. Before starting the shift to DevOps within your company, it’s better to make sure you have the correct vision of the DevOps nature.
Automation does not equal DevOps.
The key components of DevOps are IT specialists engaged in building the new DevOps culture and the processes arranged within this approach. Automation is a key instrument to foster software building and testing that helps increase the release speed while avoiding human errors.
The adoption of DevOps tools is not enough for implementation
You should adopt new practices as well. There’s a wide range of tools needed to make DevOps implementation efficient, like Ansible, Selenium, Docker, Kubernetes, Octopus, and others. However, besides learning how to use and configure these tools, all the members of a DevOps project need to adopt continuous testing and continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) practices to accelerate software delivery and increase its quality.
There’s no need to redesign
A separate department is needed for the DevOps implementation approach. Train the existing development, testing, support, operations, and other teams involved in software development so that they can properly configure the tools for infrastructure management, application performance monitoring, etc., as well as apply new practices like CI/CD.
DevOps implementation roadmap
Organizing a DevOps initiative: A company’s CIO organizes a DevOps initiative as a part of the IT department program. Thus, the IT department gets an opportunity to make changes in the development and operations activities the least painfully for the entire company. In his turn, CIO can arrange financial investments and human resources in the most optimal way. A program manager becomes responsible for designing the DevOps strategy and monitoring its implementation.
Building the DevOps strategy: To draw up an effective DevOps implementation strategy, a program manager should utilize best practices to improve interdepartmental collaboration and enable the new ways of infrastructure provisioning, software development, and testing. Among the most important practices are the following:
- Put the company’s development, testing, design, operations, and other teams in a shared working DevOps environment, making all the members focus on the software development cycle outcomes and understand each other’s motives and duties. Set the common goal – to accelerate a software development cycle and ensure the software’s high quality – for everyone involved in software development and operations.
- Implement IaC to ensure the prompt provision of the IT infrastructure upon developers’ or test engineers’ requests whenever they need it to create a new build or check its quality. This will allow DevOps practitioners to get new infrastructure for development or testing in one click and avoid human errors that often result from the manual configuration of IT infrastructures.
- Automate software building, unit testing, application testing via UI, software integrating, deploying, and releasing processes to speed up the software development-testing-releasing cycle.
Containerizing: Containerization implemented with such a tool as Docker solves the problem with software reliability, for example, when it travels from the development to the testing environment and then to production. Containers include everything required to run an application, i.e., all the dependencies, libraries, configuration files. The isolation of the containerized parts of the software from the overall IT infrastructure allows for their stable running regardless of the differences in the environments they are put in.
Integrating infrastructure automation with CI/CD tools: When software is put into containers, the containerized application needs to be managed properly. Such infrastructure automation tools as Kubernetes, Ansible, Chef, or Puppet are integrated with CI/CD tools like Jenkins, Bamboo, or GoCD for more efficient configuration management and software deployment.
Increasing the amount of test automation and aligning QA with development: To achieve faster delivery with DevOps, sufficient automated testing must be ensured. However, it would help if you did not automate each testing type. For instance, you can perform exploratory, usability, and security testing manually. Depending on the efforts needed to write automated tests, functional testing may partially remain manual.
The development and testing activities are carried out in tandem to avoid post-release bugs. While the application is still in development, the best practice is to conduct automated tests 1-2 times a day. In case defects are found, developers work on stabilizing software before releasing the next build.
Ensuring total application performance monitoring: Application performance monitoring provides the DevOps implementation related teams with transparency over all the performance issues, e.g., slow response, memory leaks, runtime errors. The issues may be revealed during application server monitoring, user experience monitoring, etc.