Enabling more Enterprise Agility with DevOps on the Cloud

DevOps on the cloud

Traditionally, the development and operational aspects of the software development and delivery process are handled as distinct silos. Bringing in a marked change to this approach is DevOps; it makes a close collaboration and effective communication between product management, software development and operations professionals possible. All these ‘stakeholders’ participate in the entire service lifecycle, right from design and development process, to production support, with the operations staff adopting many of the same techniques developers adopt.

DevOps is an approach and not any single tool. It is in a way an outgrowth of agile software development approach, which focuses on close collaboration of developers, product management staff, customers, quality assurance teams, and others, to facilitate rapid iteration of a high quality product.

Naturally, the DevOps approach to software development and delivery has become the preferred mode for many enterprises. It facilitates continuous software development and delivery, with lesser complexity and faster resolution of problems, compared to the traditional approaches. It is proven to facilitate seamless innovation, accelerate the delivery lifecycle, and get more done with less. High-performing DevOps organizations see 200x more frequent deploys, 24x faster recovery times, and 3x lower change failure rates.

Cloud Based DevOps Facilitate Agility 

Today’s highly competitive business environment demands that businesses become agile – DevOps facilitate this transformation.

DevOps require not just the application of the right tools, but a thought process behind the application architecture. The essence of DevOps depends on designing the application architecture to meet agile standards of deployability, modifiability, testability and monitorability. The cloud is the perfect medium to achieve such ends.

Related: Agile Data Architecture: The Dynamics with NoSQL and Hadoop

Adopting the cloud not only enables shedding traditional inflexible hardware inventories, but also offers the perfect medium that enables seamless collaboration and unhindered scalability. The success of the DevOps approach depends on effective and seamless communication across development, testing, and deployment teams, and across all stakeholders. The cloud provides the perfect platform to foster such a culture of communication.

Cloud solutions also offer a convenient repository to make and store builds, accessible by team members located anywhere in the globe. An added benefit is freeing developers from the hassles of provisioning and synchronizing, freeing them to concentrate on their core competencies.

The scalability and collaboration capabilities offered by the cloud avert any sort of wastage that comes from the development team having to stall processes while the troubleshooting team does their work.

The Cloud Facilitates Easy Automation 

Automation is the Holy Grail for effectiveness in today’s highly competitive and fast-paced business environment. More and more businesses now rely on deploying automated systems to cut down on routine tasks, eliminate inefficient manual procedures, improve process accuracy, and accelerate the workflow. From improving the speed of automation, to making processes more reliable, accurate, efficient and potent, the cloud has its unique way in reducing the time to market.

Using DevOps, developers may develop single click build tools that interact with the cloud services and get the tasks done without any errors, making automation easier than ever before. Some of the specific possibilities using DevOps include triggering the build when the new code is pushed to the version control system, pulling the latest code from the version control system, running automation test cases, automation of testing execution and triggering deployment on the staging environment, and promoting code that passes testing to the production environment.

Ready access to scalable infrastructure offered by the cloud enables running test cases easily, a task which may be difficult or even impossible to execute in a non-cloud environment. DevOps puts demands on shared development and test data environments. This is a marked difference to the traditional approach of such deployments, which call out to physical structures that are often in high demand between different teams and departments. The cloud is tailor-made to provision such infrastructure, scaled up or scaled down as required, and without having to invest a sizable sum upfront on the maximum estimated requirements.

The Cloud Plays into Rapid Application Development  

Using the cloud along with DevOps not only automates the software development and delivery pipeline, but also shortens the release cycles, and improves overall efficiency.

Development and delivery teams often delivered no more than one release per year using the traditional approaches, since the underlying infrastructure could not be made available more quickly. The manual service processes prevented rapid application changes. Even getting an annual release out was often a disruptive and stressful task, with new features often compromising stability.

With DevOps, the release of new features becomes a seamless and routine process, with no impact on the code stability. DevOps come with features such as shared code base, continuous integration, test-driven techniques and automated deployment, which result in problems in the application code being nipped in the bud, with smaller iterations.

The cloud facilitates the critical DevOps approach and the agile requirement of tooling changes to support continuous integration and rapid delivery cycles. It also perfectly supports the infrastructure required for triggering an automated build process at each code check-in, and also automated testing tools to run acceptance tests on every build, and forwarding failures to the development team for resolution.

DevOps Facilitate Cloud Server Replication for Easy Testing  

Most websites are unable to handle spikes in traffic owing to seasonal rush or offers. It is not enough to simply provision for additional resources. An important prerequisite for launching offers is to load-test the website for traffic spikes by replicating the production environment. This process may be impossible to achieve without DevOps. In case of large number of mobile users, mobile automation testing will also need to be considered. The tools available on the cloud make this complex procedure easier and more seamless.

DevOps Facilitate Optimal Use of Available Resources  

The cloud and DevOps technologies are mutually dependent. DevOps offer transparent and standardized access to cloud based resources with application programming interfaces (APIs), facilitating seamless communication between applications and back-end services. When used with the cloud, it facilitates faster collaboration across functions, promotes automation, and enables effective version control, enhancing the performance of the software, with faster time to market.

There is no single tool for implementing DevOps. DevOps is more of a tool-chain employed for the Code, Build, Test, Package, Release, Configure and Monitoring processes. Success depends on automation, which is best served by utilizing cloud based services.

The cloud offers the perfect medium to use tools aimed at increasing productivity and speeding up production. It is ideal for efficient server management, OS patching, setting up CI – CD based automated deployments, testing, report generation, and all other activities associated with the DevOps approach.  Cloud providers offer a wide gamut of infrastructure services, monitoring services, automation services, backup services, acknowledgment services, and more, all perfectly complementing the DevOps approach.

The cloud also offers a ready backup mechanism. Developers adopting DevOps may automate the task of launching servers and restoring the backup to a different environment.

While there is a great degree of in-built flexibility in most services, cloud monitoring services are generally limited to email alerts in the eventuality of any infrastructural asset behaving abnormally. Using DevOps makes it possible to trigger custom alarms and also generate various other monitoring alerts, enabling developers to optimize the use of their resources.

The Cloud-Agile-DevOps Combo Accelerates Innovation  

The combination of agile, DevOps, and cloud accelerates business innovation. A case in point is building custom analytic tools. The need for analytics is at its zenith, what with companies scrambling to build specialized analytics. Building such specialized analytics involves intensive workloads, such as indexing, structured queries, machine learning, and more, which the cloud delivers.

Most companies, however, do not run all their systems on the cloud and would require bridging their legacy IT assets with their newer cloud-enabled applications. DevOps enables abstracting application and infrastructure in such a way that continuous improvement, powered by automation and self-service, becomes possible at a rapid pace.

With the stakes high in a highly competitive environment, developers need all the tools in their arsenal to hold their ground; and DevOps has become one such indispensable tool. If used the right way in conjunction with the cloud, it becomes a powerful instrument to gain competitive advantage.

Author : Nayab Naseer Date : 21 Aug 2017