Agile methodology was launched in 2001 and the number of teams using it grew significantly since then. However, teams remained siloed for quite a long time, until DevOps was defined and adopted. DevOps is the next step in the process of uniting teams and releasing better software, faster.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is a practice that brings development and operations teams together and strives to improve the collaboration between them. DevOps also requires high level of automation. This happens with the help of different software tools, which are called the DevOps toolset. Going a step further the DevOps toolchain is connecting all the tools in a singular system by integrating the DevOps tools.
The result is faster development, and better-quality software. The software development lifecycle becomes continuous and starts with planning, then coding, building and testing. Once that part is complete, there comes releasing, deploying, operating, and monitoring. With the second part of the process the team receives feedback and starts with the planning once again.
There are some major practices that define the DevOps process. They include:
- Continuous development – the team tests and implements updates continuously (on a daily basis), instead of making them in large pieces. This way every fix and improvement is delivered to customers as soon as it is tested. Examples of DevOps tools used: GitHub, Jira, Azure DevOps
- Continuous integration – the code is merged several times per day, so working copies and code changes are united into the main software project continuously. Examples of DevOps tools used: Jenkins, Circle CI
- Continuous testing – the code is tested at each stage of the software development life cycle. This way feedback is provided in real time and the quality of the software is improved. Examples of DevOps tools used: Selenium, Eggplant
- Continuous delivery – all changes, like new features, bug fixes and configuration changes are released quickly to users. It involves automation of most of the stages before deployment. Examples of DevOps tools used: Kubernetes, Jenkins
- Microservices – software is formed of small independent services that communicate over APIs. This way large and complex applications are made of small independent parts, and can be delivered reliably, rapidly, and frequently. Examples of DevOps tools used: Kubernetes, Prometheus, AWS Lambda
- Continuous deployment – it goes one step further than continuous delivery – every change that passes all stages of the production pipeline is released to customers. Only if a test fails a human intervention is necessary. Besides that everything is automated. Examples of DevOps tools used: Jenkins, Circle CI, GitLab
- Continuous monitoring – using of specialized tools to constantly monitor the DevOps pipeline and maintain visibility on application performance, security and threads, vulnerabilities, and compliance concerns. Examples of DevOps tools used: Spunk, Prometheus, Dynatrace
- Infrastructure as code – the managing of infrastructure through code instead of manually. It makes editing and distributing configurations easier, as specifications are kept in specific files. Examples of DevOps tools used: Terraform, Ansible, AWS CloudFormation
- Communication and collaboration – different teams and team members need to constantly collaborate to make all parts of the process smooth. Communication is one of the most important parts of DevOps. Examples of DevOps tools used: Jira, Azure DevOps
Implementing the DevOps methodology helps organizations to resolve production issues times faster and even prevent them. This boosts customer satisfaction and is beneficial to the company, as well as to the teams involved.
DevOps is the practices, the culture, the collaboration, and the mentality. But all of this is not possible without the DevOps toolsets that support it and enable the automation of the practices. The software tools that DevOps teams rely on and the DevOps toolchain that unites them are like the base of a house – the house would fall without it.
The old-fashioned structure divides development and operations teams and creates silos and bottlenecks. Developers make sure their code is functional, and if there are problems at the time of deployment, the operational team should handle them.
DevOps, on the other hand, brings numerous benefits like:
- More frequent and more successful deployments
- Fixing bugs earlier and faster
- Improved product quality, based on feedback
- Faster time-to-market
- Increased customer satisfaction
- Higher productivity levels
- Improved communication and teamwork
- Quick adaptation to market needs
- More automation and less manual work, leading to minimizing errors and delays
- Streamlined development process
- Broader roles and skills of the team members
With the DevOps way, due to the continuous testing and integration, changes are usually small and reversible. This simplifies problem solving and makes it easier to deploy. DevOps significantly shortens the time from idea to production and brings lots of competitive advantages.
Of course, besides all the benefits, there are also some challenges that DevOps brings. These include:
- Need for changes in the organization and IT departments
- New skills and roles that require learning time
- New tools and platforms that might be expensive and require support and training
- Automation that is insecure or unstable
- Collaborating between multiple teams and projects
- Compliance with regulations
- Bottlenecks created by poor alignment between teams and technology
- Good DevOps engineers are difficult to find and attract
Most of these challenges can be solved with the right tools. Let’s see how.
Most specialists will tell you that DevOps is a bunch of practices. But the truth is these practices cannot exist without the tools the DevOps teams are using. Automation is a major part of the innovative world of DevOps.
The collection of tools that DevOps engineers use, working together, is the DevOps toolchain. There are various tools to design, build, test, manage, monitor and deploy software. Often, these tools are brought by different vendors and don’t work very well together.
A seamless integration between the systems in the DevOps toolsets solves almost all challenges that arise when transitioning to the DevOps culture. For example, one team can use Jira for planning and tracking of tasks and another team can use Azure DevOps to manage projects and workflows. On the other hand, they might use Kubernetes for individual development environments, GitHub to track code versions, Jenkins for continuous integration, and more.
Integration is essential for such toolchains. It can eliminate the need for newly formed teams to learn new platforms and waste time in exploring new tools. They can continue working with the tools they are already familiar with. When, for example, Jira and Azure DevOps are integrated, all the details for new projects, tasks and work items will be transferred from one tool to the other and vice versa, in real time. No one needs to switch between screens, manually transfer data from one tool to another, and login to multiple places.
This way the changes and reorganization of IT departments go much smoother since the DevOps tools stay the same. Learning new skills and switching roles is also much easier when developers work with their favorite toolsets.
Integration of the systems from the DevOps toolchain also allows much more stable automation. Of course, the security and stability of the integrations depend on the integration platform you choose. There are platforms, like ZigiOps, that guarantee high security, protect you in cases of downtime and have advanced retry mechanisms.
Communication and collaboration between team members is one of the most important things in DevOps. It is essential to have quick responses to issues, real-time feedback and questions answered in a timely manner. With teams working remotely and scattered around the globe, collaboration is very difficult without integrating the DevOps tools they are using.
It is quite challenging and time-consuming to transfer information between tools manually. That’s not a great experience for someone trying to respond to a customer incident, for example. Integrating DevOps tools prevents such events.
Monitoring and observability are another important part of the DevOps process, so that failures or performance problems can be identified before they reach the customers. There are great monitoring tools often used by DevOps teams, like Prometheus, Splunk, Nagios, Dynatrace, Datadog, and more. When the monitoring tools are integrated with your other systems, data about any failures is received instantaneously by the right people in the team. Issues are resolved much faster and customers are happier.
For example, ZigiOps integration platform can easily transfer logs, traces, metrics and other entities from observability systems to the rest of the DevOps toolchain.
When all the systems the DevOps team is using are integrated, this enables continuous feedback, as everyone gets relevant information in real time. Continuous feedback itself is what makes improving the quality and speed of delivery of software possible.
Cross-team collaboration and good communication are the basis of DevOps. However, teams and team members nowadays are rarely in the same room. Typically engineers are working remotely and are even from different cities or countries. The software tools that they use enable collaboration between them. This is why the integration of DevOps tools is highly important.
What are the traits of great DevOps teams?
Let’s summarize the key characteristics that make a DevOps team great:
- Collaboration – DevOps projects have numerous moving parts and team members should be highly collaborative and help each other whenever necessary.
- Great tools – the DevOps toolset should be well chosen to balance between price, quality, usability and the engineers’ skills and knowledge.
- Integrating DevOps tools – when the tools they work with are integrated, this boosts productivity, helps communication and collaboration, and removes silos and bottlenecks.
- Communication – If the members of the team do not communicate well, this creates bottlenecks. Integrating DevOps tools enables great and timely communication.
- Mindset – openness and willingness to learn. Going through tasks again if there are problematic points or something stops working the way it should.
- Continuous learning and improvement – teams need feedback to understand if they’re moving in the right direction or if they need to adjust.
DevOps requires high level of professionalism, decisiveness, ability to ask for help, willingness to learn and grow, honesty and openness. It is not easy to collaborate and communicate with high empathy and trust when you are not able to meet the other person face to face. Many DevOps specialists are working remotely, and they heavily rely on the integration of DevOps tools, to be able to collaborate seamlessly. The easier these specialists can communicate, the more they share skills and develop the DevOps culture.
Verified Market Research states that the DevOps market size was valued at USD 3.62 Billion in 2018 and is projected to reach USD 20.01 Billion by 2026, growing at a CAGR of 24.7% from 2019 to 2026.
DevOps is clearly here to stay and is evolving rapidly. It has accelerated software development, improved the quality and delivery standards, and boosted customer satisfaction.
Choosing the right DevOps tools is essential for removing silos and speeding up the development life cycle. Even with the perfect combination in your DevOps toolset, though, to make your processes highly automated and seamlessly collaborative, you need to integrate DevOps tools. A seamless integration between systems like Jira, Azure DevOps, GitHub, Jenkins, Kubernetes, Prometheus and Splunk, ensures smooth collaboration, real time feedback and high customer satisfaction.
An integration platform that can help you integrate all of these DevOps tools seamlessly, securely, and without writing code is ZigiOps. Choose smart automation and revolutionize your DevOps practices – try ZigiOps.