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What Is DevOps? Your Ultimate Guide

    A recent report found that 86% of companies think quick development and deployment of software is vital. Still, only 10% feel they are successful. So how do you manage faster deployment and development times? With DevOps.

    But what is DevOps exactly, and why should you use it? In this article, which is just one part of our Ultimate Guides series, we’ll go over everything about DevOps and what it is in software development.

    What Is DevOps?

    DevOps, a combination of the words “development” and “operations,” is a methodology that prioritizes better collaboration between your development and operations teams.

    A quality DevOps solution will help these teams work together throughout an entire project lifecycle, starting with design and going all the way through development and production support.

    But the true meaning of DevOps goes beyond the tools you use—it’s also the connections and relationships you foster between your development and production teams that deliver high-quality results. The tools DevOps strategies employ help your teams achieve this culture by promoting more efficient collaboration and improving communication during projects.

    What Is Involved in DevOps?

    There are several different practices and processes within DevOps that make it possible for your teams to work more effectively. Here are just a few of those processes and what they entail:

    • Collaboration: By physically bringing the workflow and responsibilities of development and operations together, DevOps establishes the necessary roots for better collaboration.
    • Continuous Delivery: This is the practice of deploying code in a safe environment. Any code changes are automatically put through a testing environment before being sent to the production stage.
    • Continuous Integration: Code changes are also merged into a central database regularly. This helps your developers identify and address bugs quicker, which then helps your production team release new software updates sooner.
    • Infrastructure of Code: Computer data centers are managed through machine-readable definition files instead of physical hardware configuration. This makes it much easier for computers to process and understand codes, which improves your efficiency.
    • Microservices: Microservices essentially break up a larger application into smaller, individual processes. This makes it much easier to deliver large, complicated applications by allowing your teams to deploy them independently.
    • Monitoring and Logging: Frequent monitoring of user data can help your organization better understand how an update will affect your user base. And in a world where 24/7 service is expected, this process will help you catch errors proactively rather than reactively.

    Why Use DevOps?

    While better collaboration between your development and operations teams is already a huge advantage of DevOps adoption, there are several other key benefits to incorporating this approach in your organization. Here are six reasons why using DevOps is in your best interest.

    1. Improves Workplace Stability

    Organizations with poor communication always experience workplace tension, which can eat away at any stability you have already built. By eliminating these barriers in communication with DevOps, you can fortify your teams and provide the stability you need to keep your organization running smoothly.

    2. Automates Repetitive Tasks

    DevOps practices involve quite a bit of automation. This means your employees don’t have to worry about some of those high-stress tasks, like identifying coding errors or testing new code updates. Automation takes care of those responsibilities, giving your developers more time to find a solution and focus on new ideas.

    3. Accelerates Deployment

    With better communication and automated code testing, you can significantly cut down on the time required to deploy new software. One report found that DevOps users were able to deploy 30 times more frequently and with 200 times shorter lead times.

    4. Refocuses Teams on Customers

    When development and operations are constantly at odds with one another, it’s easy to lose focus on what’s really important in software development: the customer. And when you refocus on the customer, the quality of your product can improve.

    5. Expedites Product Improvements

    It’s often difficult to understand exactly how your software product can improve. With DevOps, your operations team can be in the user feedback loop much more easily. The result is a quicker turnaround of updates and, in turn, more satisfied customers. One survey found that 63% of companies that implemented DevOps experienced improvements in their software deployments.

    6. Promotes Business Flexibility

    Flexible businesses are successful businesses. The combination of better communication and automated tasks that DevOps offers can keep your business alert and agile to anything that may happen in the development and production stage.

    DevOps and Agile: What’s the Difference?

    The Agile methodology is another tactic you may have heard about that promotes a better development process. Its main focus is on promoting the incremental evolution of a software product.

    While there may seem to be a lot of similar functionalities between DevOps and Agile, what’s the difference? Here are two big ones:

    1. Different Links in the Communication Chain

    Almost every communication chain in an IT process is between a customer, developer, and operations personnel. The interaction may look like this:

    • A customer has an issue and contacts the developer.
    • The developer creates a solution for the issue and sends it to operations to be implemented.
    • The operations team deploys the change.

    There are two crucial interactions here: one between the customer and the developer and the other between the developer and the operations teams.

    DevOps is more concerned with the interaction between developers and operations. On the other hand, Agile focuses on clarifying communication between customers and developers.

    2. Different Overall Purposes

    Agile is usually implemented for more complex projects. As such, it helps developers make constant, incremental changes to a software product with every piece of feedback they receive.

    DevOps, on the other hand, concentrates on the full end-to-end management of the software engineering process. It’s more focused on testing and deploying a few changes than making a lot of changes.

    How Can You Tell If Your DevOps Approach Is Working?

    Since DevOps is a methodology, the idea of “success” can be rather subjective. So how do you measure DevOps success? It can be complicated, but these five metrics can help you find your footing:

    1. Deployment Frequency: Deployment frequency is the number of software deployments over a certain period. However, the frequency isn’t the main concern here, but rather the health of your deployment pipeline. This metric is most concerned with how DevOps delivery value is measured.
    2. Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR): This metric indicates how long it takes for your organization to recover from a system failure, usually measured in minutes and hours. If your time is consistently lower than before your DevOps strategy began, you’re on the right track.
    3. Lead Time: This is the amount of time it takes to implement, test, and deliver new code. Considering it’s DevOps’ main focus, you should notice a major change in this metric.
    4. Projects in Progress: How many projects are currently in the pipeline? With a DevOps mentality, you should prioritize finishing one project instead of spreading your time across several. Fewer projects in the pipeline are better for business.
    5. Change Failure Rate: How often does your team fail to implement changes? A higher failure rate may indicate something is wrong with your process.

    If you want to learn more about how to evaluate your DevOps approach, check out our article on the value of DevOps.

    Adopt DevOps the Right Way

    Even if you have a firm understanding of what DevOps is, implementing the methodology takes a lot of patience and a trial-and-error attitude. But it’s much easier to manage when you have a partner who’s experienced at implementing DevOps, like Excel Softsources.

    Contact Excel Softsources today to find out what we can do to increase customer satisfaction, employee collaboration, and employee retention.