There are many definitions of the word “DevOps.” Is it a movement? A new process or technology? A job title? Or just a way of thinking?
DevOps is a combination of software development and operations—and as its name suggests, it’s a melding of these two disciplines in order to emphasize communication, collaboration, and cohesion between the traditionally separate developer and IT operations teams.
Rather than seeing these as two distinct groups who are responsible for their specific tasks but don’t really work together, the DevOps methodology recognizes the interdependence of the two groups. By integrating these functions as one team or department, DevOps helps an organization deploy software more frequently, while maintaining service stability and gaining the speed necessary for more innovation.
And, in the end, everyone is able to deliver the best results and overall experience possible to the customer
DevOps is the Next Generation of Agile
Back in 2009, more IT professionals started to move away from the traditional waterfall method and embrace nonlinear agile methodology by making each development stage independent and incorporating continuous testing early on and throughout the development cycle.
Consequently, this approach enhanced efficiency and reduced risk by allowing developers to make immediate changes before shipping to production based on the continuous feedback they received. While agile methods had always enhanced development, there was still a discrepancy in the flow when it came to deployment, which still embraced the waterfall methodology. While development used agile to lower risk and increase efficiency, deployment hung on to the linear waterfall structure, slowing down delivery and leaving testing to the end of the process — a process that wrongfully split ownership. This created huge bottlenecks in delivery cycles because developers would need to start from the beginning if a problem were discovered near the end of deployment.
This disconnect between development and deployment as well as understanding the benefits of embracing agile in all aspects of software delivery could be fixed by marriage of development and operations along with the extended best practices and principles associated with agile had the potential to greatly increase efficiency and lower delivery risks.
DevOps Requires a Cultural Change
DevOps is not a tool nor a technique. It’s a cultural change. Change is feared throughout most organizations of any type, so the adoption of new methodologies can quite challenging. Therefore, it is vital first to define the business need that brought on the discussion on the potential change as well as the accompanying challenges. Nowadays, businesses are expected to quickly deliver flawless applications that focus on user experience, but without the right tools, applications, and behavior, this seemingly simple task can turn into a complicated mess. Ultimately, faulty delivery translates into missed business opportunities. It takes the right technology, situational assessment, and attitude to pull off successful software development and delivery. Collaboration, communication, and integration are the key elements of incorporating DevOps into any development and delivery setting. Building multi-skilled teams that are made up of individual talents (e.g., developers, sysadmins, and testers) can add great benefit, but without the right teamwork and attitude, the talent is virtually useless. When people know they can rely on everyone else, the group as a whole also moves much more quickly and efficiently, ultimately leading to happier customers.