What Is DevOps?
In this article
DevOps allows an organization to evolve and improve products faster than organizations using traditional infrastructure management and software development processes.
Under the DevOps model, no silos exist between operations and development teams. In certain instances, the two teams are integrated, and everyone works in sync across the entire product development lifecycle — from development and testing to deployment and ongoing monitoring in production environments. In other models, security and quality assurance (QA) are also integrated into the DevOps teams to create DevSecOps.
Watch this four-minute video for a visual explanation of DevOps concepts and practices.
Adopting the DevOps model means a paradigm shift in mindset, culture, practices and processes. Because DevOps effectively removes the barriers that have always existed between development and operations, this results in shared responsibilities and increased communication between developers and operations personnel — a relationship designed to boost productivity and product velocity.
Regardless of organizational structure, adopting a DevOps methodology means that teams view the entire application development and infrastructure lifecycle as their responsibility. This responsibility goes beyond the traditional title or roles of individual team members as everyone puts all their skills and resources together to solve the customers' needs.
The DevOps model relies on a few key practices and methodologies. The first of these is rapid product iteration: teams perform small but regular updates to product releases to facilitate faster innovation.
With this approach, customers enjoy new features and services faster, and deployments become less risky since teams only need to address the bugs in the code changes that were introduced since the last deployment. While the size and frequency of updates will vary, DevOps organizations generally deploy updates more frequently and much faster than organizations that use traditional software development practices.
Other practices include the use of microservices architecture and CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous delivery). Microservices architecture enables quicker innovation by making applications more flexible. This architecture allows teams to decouple large and incredibly complex systems into simple independent projects by breaking down applications into several individual components/services.
Each service handles a very specific function within the application as a whole and is operated and managed independently of other component services. Small agile teams may take ownership of each service and handle its maintenance, deployment and other processes. By doing so, this reduces the management headaches and coordination overhead that results from continuously updating applications and enables organizations to move more quickly.
Combining increased release frequency and a microservices architecture results in significantly more deployments, and this change can cause many operational challenges. Fortunately, continuous integration and continuous delivery solves these challenges and enables teams to safely, rapidly and reliably deploy new services and updates.
Likewise, monitoring and logging tools help engineering teams track the performance of their infrastructure and applications while infrastructure automation practices ensure that computing resources are elastic and remain responsive to frequent changes.
DevOps allows organizations to rapidly adapt to changing markets, develop innovative products in response to evolving consumer needs and preferences, and deploy them at the speed demanded by today's tech-savvy and informed customers. It also enables engineering teams to increase the pace and frequency of releases and innovation velocity by developing, testing, releasing and deploying new features and services at speed.
The DevOps culture enables business leaders to build more effective teams that prioritize values like accountability and ownership. The combination of workflows in a DevOps environment means that engineers — across several departments and with different skill sets — share many responsibilities and collaborate closely during the development lifecycle.
Not only does this reduce inefficiencies, but it also saves time by reducing handover issues and challenges between development and operation engineers. The incorporation of security teams within the DevOps model means that developers build applications from the ground up with robust security in mind. Development engineers can leverage configuration management techniques, fine-grained controls and automated compliance policies to develop applications quickly while retaining control and preserving compliance.
Adopting DevOps practices helps engineers safely automate a huge part of the application development process. As such, enterprises can take on more complex projects and manage rapidly evolving and intricately complex systems at scale while reducing the risk of failovers or downtime. With DevOps, enterprises can leverage infrastructure as code to help them efficiently manage development, testing, deployment, monitoring and production environments in a repeatable manner.
DevOps brings together development and operations engineers, as well as QA and security teams, into a cohesive unit that effectively executes the entire application development lifecycle at speed.
Although DevOps is focused on implementing a set of practices and creating a cultural shift in the way engineering teams operate, tools and software now play an increasingly important role in DevOps adoption. For many organizations, this modern and innovative approach can be a real game-changer.
Learn more about how WWT can help your company benefit from the tools and methodologies that will help fast-track DevOps adoption in your organization.