Having high profits and productivity without any disturbance—isn’t that every company’s dream? Whenever there’s talk about better productivity and revenue, DevOps never fails to come into the limelight. It seems like it’s the latest IT buzzword. Everybody is discussing the relatively new concept and how it has come to transform the IT sector.
While the benefits of a DevOps approach are enormous, adopting a DevOps approach is no easy feat. We outline some of the cloud DevOps best practices that are highly recommended to optimize your development process.
Build a Collaborative Culture
The whole point of DevOps is to improve collaboration and eliminate silos between development, operations, and quality assurance teams. This way, the software can be developed and shipped to customers faster. Achieving this level of collaboration requires a change in the culture and mind-set of the entire engineering team as well as a common goal or set of goals.
Both developers and operations engineers have to take full ownership of the software development process and work together to meet customer expectations. In DevOps, development and operations become a part of everyone’s responsibilities irrespective of their specific roles in the team.
Put Customer Satisfaction First
Whether you’re using the classic waterfall model or a full DevOps approach, the goal is to meet customer expectations.
For example, among the top expectations of modern SaaS customers are constant updates and fast delivery of new functionality. DevOps gives you the ability to streamline the release process. Since the same people are managing releases of code as well as writing new code, it’s easier to push new functionality out to the customer faster.
On the flip side, some industries may not appreciate shiny new functionality delivered every other week. A new feature delivered in the middle of a working day will most likely not meet the needs of an ICU nurse doing serious work on a patient. Understanding your customers in their context is key to a successful DevOps approach.
Use Agile Project Management
Agile is an iterative project management approach that helps software engineering teams execute higher-quality projects faster. The four main principles of agile project management are:
- Individuals and interactions over processes and tools
- Working software over comprehensive documentation
- Customer collaboration over contract negotiation
- Responding to change over following a plan
In simple terms, an agile methodology acknowledges that requirements and solutions will evolve as you gather customer feedback; it also empowers your team with the ability to adapt and respond to those changes.
While most customers expect new features fast, engineers also need the ability to see how end users are making use of functionality so they can get feedback and iterate on it. By combining DevOps with an agile approach, you can release a small piece of functionality and see how customers respond to it and get their feedback. Instead of spending two quarters to fully develop a feature that ultimately misses the mark, you can iterate on it along the way.
The agile principle of small, iterative pieces of development ties in well with the DevOps approach because it results in even faster deployment.
Adopt Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD)
Continuous integration (CI) is a core DevOps best practice that is used for integrating code changes from different contributors into a central repository. CI allows developers to merge code changes frequently and use automated tools to test the code’s correctness.
CI is achieved using a source code version control system. The rationale behind CI is that it’s easier to detect errors and quality issues in smaller amounts of code than on a large codebase written over an extended period.
Continuous delivery (CD) continues where continuous integration stops. Continuous delivery is a DevOps practice that gets the code from continuous integration into production.
With continuous delivery, software deployments become painless, low-risk events that can be performed at any time. This way, the deployment of even the largest complex applications become predictable activities that can be performed on-demand.
Monitor the Right Metrics
Continuous performance monitoring is a DevOps best practice. The effectiveness of a DevOps approach can only be measured by tracking the right performance metrics, such as lead time, mean time to detect, and issue severity.
Monitoring these metrics is also important because it allows you to detect when things go wrong so you can recover quickly. The DevOps metrics you track will depend on your organization’s goals and expectations. Some metrics, such as unit cost, are useful to any engineering team because they are tied to profitability.
Monitoring unit cost as a DevOps metric is a good practice because it helps you build cost-optimized software from the get-go. This is because you get early insight into what your costs are so you can plan your projects and make trade-offs proactively.
Use the Right Tools
Automation is at the heart of a successful DevOps practice. Automating the process of building, testing, and releasing software makes life easier for both developers and operations engineers who collaborate in a DevOps organization.
You’ll need access to DevOps tools that help you achieve this, whether it’s a tool that tracks your performance metrics, raises alerts when things go wrong, or provides overall visibility into the progress of your software.
But if you were using a different release process that requires many levels of testing and gatekeeping, you’d probably have to wait for an overnight compile, which slows down the process so you can’t fix the cost problem immediately.
While you’d still test and stage code with DevOps, the difference is this: When the same team handles both development and release or deployment, you’re able to respond faster and keep your costs under control.
Switch to Microservices
Microservices architecture is the approach of building a single application as a set of small services. It’s different from traditional monolithic architecture where the user interface and access codes are combined into a single program. In a microservices architecture, smaller applications are deployed as independent services which are tied together through an application programming interface (API).
Microservices fits into the DevOps approach of breaking large, complex projects into smaller pieces. Different services can be worked on independently without affecting the entire system.
Microservices also support other DevOps practices such as continuous integration and delivery, ensuring speedy and steady deployment.
Deciding on the streamlined implementation of DevOps and where to invest first can cause “analysis paralysis” – even in organizations that have been working through their DevOps transformation for some time. You can avoid getting stuck in a similar position and jumpstart your DevOps transformation with AppleTech. Get in touch, today.
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