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Tips for a cultural shift

DevOps at scale: Winning strategies for modern enterprises

Pavan Belagatti
devops
© Shutterstock / nevodka

DevOps is required for the smooth flow of engineering efficiency hand overall growth; it’s more about trying to execute more frequent changes safely in a complex environment through continuous learning. See some important elements and strategies.

DevOps is a word that has generated massive interest over the last few years among the software powered organizations and developers, yet many people don’t fully understand what it actually means. One thing is for sure, as cool as it sounds, DevOps is not some kind of top-secret developer army group, job profile, or even a tool. But it is a wonderful ideology that any firm can help itself to unite their tech crew and take the company to newer heights.

As different departments grow, communication becomes difficult between the teams, mainly Dev and Ops. Since communication is the key to avoid unproductive siloing, the DevOps movement started as a cultural phenomenon in order to bridge this gap between Dev and Ops. So firms started embracing DevOps principles to get everyone on the same page and create a sense of shared responsibility, and moving forward, firms believe that was the recipe for success.

SEE ALSO: Open source all-in-one DevOps platform: OneDev’s UI is easy to use

Where does DevOps come into the play?

DevOps is mostly related to automation. Through automation, it is possible, and firms try to reduce their transaction costs to nearly zero, basically, by getting the testing and deployments for free. This helps companies take benefit of smaller batch sizes of tasks. Smaller batches of tasks/jobs make it easy to understand, write code, commit to, test, review, and know when they are finished. These smaller batch sizes also contain less risk and variance, making them easier to deploy and, in case if something goes wrong, to debug/troubleshoot and recover from.

With DevOps best practices like CI/CD, it is easy to understand which code has created bugs and make possible corrections wherever necessary.

Just like lean development, through automation and agile practice, firms can get feature development very close to single-piece flow, and this provides value to customers quickly and continuously by delivering features as quickly as possible.

More traditionally, DevOps is referred to as a means to break down the walls of confusion and chaos between the dev and ops teams and smoothen the flow of communication. In the DevOps model, development teams develop new features, and operations teams keep the system more reliable for customers, stable and running smoothly. Whenever there is a requirement for new features, the development team introduces that feature into the system, which sometimes makes the system unstable and outage might occur, and this goes into the hands of the Ops team to handle the system and recover it to the stable state without affecting any customer. Hence, DevOps is required for the smooth flow of engineering efficiency hand overall growth; it’s more about trying to execute more frequent changes safely in a complex environment through continuous learning.

Today, we will see some important elements that help firms to embrace DevOps with ease.

Start a cultural shift, a DevOps initiative

This should flow from top to bottom, company management leaders should start the discipline of embracing DevOps. Usually, it is the CIO who should move the needle and make things start from scratch. A DevOps mindset is very crucial at this point to make sure the teams are all prepared for a change in the culture. Gartner predicted that through 2022, 75% of DevOps initiatives will fail to meet expectations due to issues around organizational learning and change, there is also a big reason why DevOps efforts fail is that most of the organizational leaders don’t understand Agile and DevOps.

Leadership makes a huge impact on the organizational culture and its way of doing business, hence engineering leaders need to understand why this change is necessary and start a culture of collaboration, culture of experimentation and learning, and eliminate the blame game.

Train your people

Training is one essential aspect for team leads and the people involved under them so they understand what is DevOps, the fundamentals, and why it is important for the organization to embrace it. Training enriches knowledge, collaboration, and communication processes between the people working in dev and ops teams.

It helps them to get together and get their hands on and test the new technology practices and tools introduced. There are many group courses, boot camps, DevOps experts that can help people get trained in DevOps. It is the firm’s responsibility to set proper expectations and choose the right candidates to train their people.

Build a DevOps plan with a strategy

All those engineering best practices that enhance automation, team collaboration, seamless integration, testing, facilitate new ways of software development with ease are key to DevOps strategy. Firms have to set a common goal, track changes, and align teams in a shared environment making them aware of each other’s responsibilities and duties. Implementing Infrastructure-as-Code (IaC), test automation, integration, deployment and release processes should be a part of this activity.

Set policies and processes

The policy is an integral part of any software powered organization. With security being the priority, this has become a supreme topic in the DevOps world. For every company that has adopted DevOps, the policy is critical. As we all know, policy-driven development is a fundamental concept that fits really well into the DevOps model. This model ensures that information security, ops, development practices, language standards, SRE, sysops administration, and development, are all aligned with common goals.

Containerize applications

Containers are well equipped with the IaC approach and are used in DevOps to instantly deploy applications across various environments. Docker provides the most popular container technology toolset. Docker image management technologies, for example, AWS ECR, have made it easy for developers to perform IT operations, collaborate with each other, share software, and enhance overall software delivery productivity.

Containerizing legacy applications will reduce the burden of handling the evergrowing overhead costs and it also increases developer productivity. Container deployment can be an effective solution as containers typically start quickly in seconds. The container image holds all the dependencies, this means, there is no need to add environment-specific configurations over and over again. The same image is now portable across multiple systems and environments. The main idea is to make applications able to run anywhere, on any machine and at any given time.

Make use of microservices architecture

Decoupling the legacy and large monolithic application that involves thousands of lines of code into numerous small elements called microservices. With the idea of Microservices, a company continues to innovate and stay agile as the products or the platform gets larger. With this approach, engineering teams focus on developing business capabilities and important features autonomously.

Instead of having to orchestrate a large release after writing hundreds of lines of code, waiting for the perfect time to offer new features, a new business functionality can be added by just adding a new service. Eventually, firms end up creating microservices that can be easily and independently deployed, scaled and managed without having to worry about other parts of the application.

Determine the toolchain

When companies initially start embracing DevOps, they feel proud and that is a good thing, but they all find it hard once they really start working towards it practically. The simple logic for this is: DevOps is fragmented, yes.

For many years, firms have tried to embrace DevOps and have found themselves making various mistakes by their custom scripts and logic. From source control to CI (Continous integration), to artifacts management to CD (Continuous deployment and delivery), as soon as one task is completed, the next step should proceed without any lag, and that is how the firms achieve their DevOps automation.

But in practice, this doesn’t happen, there are many handovers that take place manually and that is not called DevOps. Custom scripts and practices might work temporarily for a startup but when the company grows, taking different tools and writing code to make them talk to each other becomes a complex task. For this reason, recently, JFrog has launched a unified DevOps platform for companies struggling with doing DevOps at scale.

Artifactory – Stores securely your build artifacts to help team collaborate and work together seamlessly

Xray – Can scan the artifacts and dependencies continuously to

JFrog Pipelines – Provides end to end orchestration and optimization of all critical processes of your CI/CD pipeline

Distribution – Can efficiently distribute immutable release bundles and automate the delivery of your software updates

Mission control – Can help you gain valuable visibility and DevOps metrics to remove bottlenecks and optimize your release processes

Continuously monitor and share feedback

Once we deploy the application in production and make it available for the end-users, the next step is Continuous Monitoring, this alerts the team if there are any misconfigurations or worse situations of an outage or of any application issues.

You can monitor infrastructure health or would like to see and analyze logs over weeks and months, you should be able to do so. This step provides critical feedback essential for the team to understand and work on the aspects of the application that require additional work and resources. Continuous monitoring enables you to find issues if any before any customer finds them. Having no visibility is just like getting your arms tied behind your back, you can’t really see what is going on.

SEE ALSO: Trouble with DevOps? Make sure you have these 4 components

Conclusion

Other than easy collaboration, improved communication, an increase in productivity, and effective feedback loops, the one benefit DevOps will bring is delivering software at speed without compromising on quality.DevOps is an ongoing effort and helps people in the organization fail early and learn early from their mistakes, and it gives confidence.

DevOps implementation can look too overwhelming at times, but a prepared approach with a well-thought strategy can take your firm from zero to hero. Given that the teams have patience, persistence, and ever-learning attitude, it is possible to scale DevOps to new heights.

Author
Pavan Belagatti
Pavan is a DevOps influencer working at JFrog and a guest writer at various top-notch technology platforms.

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