what is devops?

DevOps  Defined

DevOps practices are moving into the mainstream with Developers and Operations communicating and collaborating to enable the rapid release of software. Developers are working with Operations to understand how their code affects infrastructure and to access production systems for monitoring and troubleshooting. Similarly, Operations are working with Developers to create automated, self service and reliable infrastructure and tools. All this while ensuring that the binary building blocks of software are kept secure while flowing through a fully-automated CI/CD pipeline.

Dev and Ops teams collaboration creates:

  • Automated, self-service, and reliable infrastructures and tools
  • Complete CI/CD, providing an end-to-end solution
  •  Feedback Loops, enabling continuous learning and quick recovery
  •  Infrastructure as Code, bringing modern software development methodologies into infrastructure
  •  Development awareness of how code affects infrastructure
  •  Monitoring and troubleshooting of production systems

In earlier days of the software industry, developers would develop software, IT would provide tools, and Operations would handle production systems, but each of these groups worked in an isolated environment.
This would cause challenges such as developers not being provided with the right tools, Operations being provided with software that ran well in development environments, but didn’t consider constraints of production systems, and software that did not adequately address security concerns.
DevOps is a contraction of “Development” and “Operations”. It signifies a move away from the old siloed approach towards integrated, holistic teams that work on Development, IT and Operations as one unit, each considering the needs and requirements of the others, to deliver business value to customers more quickly and reliably.

DevOps Principles

DevOps stands on three pillars: culture, best practices and tools. For an organization to truly consider itself to have adopted DevOps, it needs to have adopted all three of these DevOps pillars, at least to some extent.

DevOps Culture

A DevOps culture is all about automation, communication, accountability, shared responsibility, and increased collaboration. With Development, IT and Operations working together as one team. This culture should include a safe environment that allows for trial and error, with an emphasis on early feedback and continuous learning. Moreover, it should provide each team with full accountability and yet offer a blameless approach.

DevOps Best Practices

DevOps standards and best practices are different in every company. Even different teams in the same company don’t adopt all the same practices. As long as the practices adopted are helping the company deliver better software faster, the goal of DevOps is served. Here is a list of practices that should be adopted in a move to DevOps.

  • Developers Should Be Involved in Operations

    When developers are involved in Operations as part of a holistic and integrated team, they step out of their enclosed development environments and into the real world of production systems where their code is designated to run. By doing so, they can have a keen awareness of how changes in the code may affect the production infrastructure and make sure that changes to the code, as versions are delivered, do not have an adverse effect. Moreover, by having access to production systems, developers can take responsibility for monitoring and troubleshooting, and can even participate in being “on-call” if production issues arise.

  • Operations Should Be Involved in Development

    When Operations are aware of code changes that are planned for development, they can anticipate how they might affect production infrastructure and ensure that developers consider factors such as hardware constraints, monitoring, deployment, troubleshooting, security and tooling needed for production systems.

  • Version Control Everything

    Using version control systems for source code is widely accepted as a standard practice. In a DevOps environment the concept of “code” is extended to everything that is involved in production systems. So in addition to source code, you should version control software and hardware configuration files, settings, parameters and anything else that take part in your runtime systems.

  • Be Agile With Changes in Infrastructure

    Using Agile methodologies for software development is commonplace, but they should also be used for infrastructure. Infrastructure should be treated and managed as code. Which means, changes should be versioned and applied in small, discrete steps, and at each step, your systems should be tested to ensure nothing has broken.

  • Automate Everything

    Manual tasks and processes are error-prone and not scalable. In a DevOps environment, every change should undergo automation as part of a CI/CD pipeline. Everything that can be automated, should be automated. This includes automated deployment processes, automated testing procedures, and more.

  • Continuous Integration/Delivery/Deployment

    A change at any stage of the software delivery pipeline, from development to production systems, should go through a CI/CD system. This ensures that if anything fails, there is a fast feedback loop leading to rapid recovery.

  • Unified Tools and Platforms

    In DevOps, development, staging and production environments should use the same tools, configuration and hardware resources to the greatest extent possible. This is to ensure that anything that works in development will transition successfully to the staging and production systems.

DevOps Tools

There is an array of DevOps tools available on the market, with most falling into a discrete set of main categories. Since there are different ways to embrace DevOps, each organization will choose the categories and corresponding tools according to its specific requirements.

  • Source Control

    Version controlling everything is a DevOps best practice, and it begins with source control tools. Naturally, in addition to versioning source code, the chosen tool can be used to version configuration files, settings and anything else that can be defined in a text file. And to stay in line with DevOps best practices, the same tool should be used for Developers’ source code as for Operations’ configuration scripts.

  • CI/CD Pipeline Management

    Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment tools are critical to enabling automation that is at the root of short and rapid release cycles. Orchestrating the entire process, they are responsible for managing the complete flow of your application.

Using JFrog CLI, JFrog Artifactory can speed up CI/CD cyclesfor any CI/CD server, as a source for dependencies and a target for build output.

  • Testing

    Testing is one of the fundamental phases of a DevOps lifecycle, and combining testing tools with Continuous Integration provides the test automation needed for the rapid feedback cycles of DevOps.

  • Configuration Management and Deployment

    Tools like Docker, Chef, Puppet, Ansible and Terraform create the environment and configuration where you are running the system and testing.

  • Binary Management

    A repository manager greatly reduces the enormous complexity of managing an organization's binaries, both those developed in-house as well as public open-source components downloaded from the cloud. It also speeds up builds thereby reducing release cycles. It’s important to use a repository manager that is universal and flexible enough to integrate seamlessly into all the DevOps ecosystems of your organization.

JFrog Artifactory is the only enterprise, universal repository manager that fits into any DevOps ecosystem.

  • Monitoring

    Continuous monitoring at every stage in the DevOps cycle is critical to early detection of faults and rapid remediation.

  • Security

    Security is at the heart of DevSecOps and different tools are available for each of the stages in the DevOps cycle.

  • Collaboration

    Collaboration and communication are fundamental to a DevOps culture. There is a variety of tools to help with messaging, ticketing, release planning and more.

JFrog Xray offers multi-layer analysis of containers and software artifacts for security vulnerabilities, open source license compliance and quality assurance at different stages of the DevOps cycle.

Benefits Of DevOps

Practicing DevOps benefits organizations in many ways, but people in different organizational roles may tend to focus on different benefits of DevOps. For example, the CEO of a company may look at the increased revenues and reduced costs that DevOps brings, while an IT manager may be more interested in a reduction in defects and faster release cycles. The following are some of the benefits of adopting DevOps practices.

  • Reduced Change Failure

    When changes are small and distinct rather than large and sweeping, they are safer. Not only the chance of failure decreases, but the recovery time also decreases.

  • Better Quality Products

    Products are deployed with fewer bugs, and since deployment is frequent and cycle times are shorter, products can be continuously improved more quickly.

  • Lower Cost of Release

    With fewer bugs to fix, shorter cycle times, and a fully automated pipeline, the cost of deploying a release goes down.

  • Less Time on Unplanned Work

    With fewer failures, all team members spend less time fixing unexpected issues.

  • More Time on New Work

    With less time spent on unplanned work, all team members have more time to spend on innovation and new work.

  • Faster Time to Market

    Shorter cycle times with fewer issues means that products can be released more quickly.

  • Satisfied Customers

    Rapid release cycles means the ability to quickly fix defects and add new features that customers request.

  • Increased Revenue

    If people are satisfied with your products, they are more likely to purchase more of them and recommend them to others.

  • Robust Infrastructure

    Infrastructure that is modified in small steps, conducts testing at all stages and maintains versioning for configuration and settings is more stable and reliable.

  • Higher Work Satisfaction

    Teams that are spending more time in new work and innovation will be more satisfied than those that are constantly bogge down with rework and bug-fixing.

  • Reduce Waste

    Start small to reduce work. There is a common belief that the most waste in software is creating code that is not used. DevOps world, work in small chunks, reduces this waste, providing early feedback with short cycles.

  • Faster and More Frequent Releases

    When everything is automated, code can move from development to production more quickly.


4 ways you can measure yourself:

  • Lead time for changes:
    from code to production

  • Time to restore service: how long on average does it take me to recover from an issue in production

  • Deployment frequency: how many times do I deploy to production

  • Change failure rate: how many times I attempt to apply a change and it fails

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