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Once upon a time, software developers and IT operations lived far away from each other. Both "nations" were happy with the distance, and with QA in between, they were happy pointing cursors and blaming each other for the collective failure of the final product. But with customer satisfaction and happiness on the line, this internal bickering and long-winded way of releasing the final product in the market was no longer feasible. Enter DevOps.


What is DevOps?

DevOps is a combination of software developers (Dev) and IT operations (Ops), but it's significantly more than a simple merger. The term DevOps has evolved to encompass too many different meanings and definitions, all of which are accurate to the people who practice and implement it.


From a software development perspective, DevOps is the practices, tools, and ideologies that allow organizations to build software, develop apps, provide solutions and refine the final product through user feedback in a faster, more agile manner compared to the traditional ones. Another technical way to define DevOps is that it is a set of practices that reduce the time between changing/modifying a system (from Developer End), and the change being implemented in the normal production (By Ops) while ensuring optimum quality. 


From a business perspective, DevOps entails a cultural shift that ensures that from development to QA to Ops and deployment, all the relevant departments/silos work in conjunction to create software and provide solutions. This is in stark contrast to the previous "thrown over the wall" culture, where one department has completed their part of the job and used to throw the whole thing over the wall for the next one in line to handle.


Another common point of comparison is the waterfall software development method, where the product was defined and designed end-to-end in one direction. While all of these definitions seem different and different organizations may have different approaches to adopting DevOps methodologies, the intention is the same: Reducing the "go-to-market/end client" time of the final product or solution.


Most of the DevOps implementations and solutions revolve around automating and breaking projects down to small pieces.


How efficient can DevOps really be? Well, At Hooligan Development, we have achieved an up-to 58% reduction in go-to-market time for products and solutions. That's a process reduced to just two-fifths of its original timeline!


Six Cs of DevOps

The six Cs of DevOps might shed more light on the subject:

  1. Continues Business Planning: From a business perspective, adopting successful DevOps practices in your organization starts with pinpointing the right resources (mostly individuals with the right skillset and attitude).
  2. Collaborative Development: Instead of development taking place in one isolate silo, it involves all the relevant teams and personnel, from business analysts to Ops responsible for deployment and maintenance. 
  3. Continuous Testing: Smaller pieces of the final products are tested in their entirety. This keeps happening until all the pieces are finished and snugly fit together at the end.
  4. Continuous Release and Deployment: A CD pipeline is achieved by automating the building, testing, and deployment of the individually functional pieces of the final product. This forms the backbone of DevOps, ensuring that bugs/flaws in the system are found and dealt with early on.
  5. Continuous Monitoring: Since everything and everyone is connected, any necessary modifications and corrections in the system can be identified and addressed promptly.
  6. Customer Feedback and Optimization: In DevOps, customer feedback's are considered and addressed relatively faster because the intended modification/improvement can be immediately deployed with all hands on deck. This is comparable to when feedback was addressed after painfully long times because the modification had to complete the full dev to the deployment cycle again.


Benefits of DevOps

Faster delivery time is the most touted benefit of DevOps. It's understandable because it's one of the most quantifiable merits of DevOps success. But that's not it. Since its core principles revolve around breaking down the silos (or opting for transparent silos), it allows a better end-to-end flow of communication. This helps put business, developers, and Ops on the same page, and they can all align their goals and aims to resonate with the company's goals.


Since DevOps is a part of the agile business methodology, it allows organizations to become lighter, improve faster, and provide maximum client satisfaction with optimal use of resources. DevOps help organizations reduce their deployment time, recovery time, and significantly reduce their failure rates. It means that developers and Ops can spend more time on new products and solutions instead of fixing their old mistakes.


DevOps has also evolved and fast-tracked the digital evolution of the business. Since it promotes innovative and collaborative thinking, its effects are much more potent than simply optimizing the delivery time and process of the final product/solution. It changes organization and companies, improves their underlying agile methodology, and help them evolve faster in an ever-changing business landscape.


Best DevOps Practices and Trends

Some of the best existing DevOps practices and future trends to look out for in 2020 are:


Automation: Automation has already been an essential practice in DevOps deployments and adaptation. But since it's continuously evolving, creating better-automated testing solutions for your DevOps projects, and continually improving upon them can be a beneficial practice in enhancing a company's DevOps.


CI/CD: The continuous integration and deployment practice of DevOps should be shifted as far left as possible. The closer it is to the development phase of the project, the more problems can be headed off in the early stages.


Integrated Change and Configuration Management: These two belong to the right, the Ops side of the DevOps steps in the lifecycle of a project. Integrated configuration helps developers see the bigger picture and help them align themselves with the Ops goals. Change management allows DevOps to keep ahead of the curve.


Serverless Architecture: The use of serverless architecture is expected to boost DevOps to the next level. It's one of the most potent new DevOps tools that DevOps engineers can use to optimize workflow, reduce costs, and create a more resilient and scalable system.


With agile business methodology and DevOps intervention, organizations can improve their software/solution delivery far beyond what they have achieved, honing their traditional practices. But it's not as easy to implement as most people think, at least not without proper help. But with the right DevOps practices, your business can actually get ready for the future.


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