DevOps Implementation Strategies


DevOps has risen in popularity in recent years among IT organizations. The promise of rapid delivery of new software with no compromise on quality sounds almost too good to be true. But the tangible results shown by many companies who implemented this strategy provides plenty of evidence for the success of this methodology.


Should your organization adopt DevOps?


Though the benefits are almost certain, adoption of DevOps does come with its own challenges. Depending on the prevailing work culture in an organization, it may require a complete overhaul of both its infrastructure and human resources. Sufficient time and effort has to be invested into perfecting DevOps for your organization and the benefits may not be apparent in the short term. Vulnerability to short term market fluctuations should be less and a general level of stability is preferred in order to persist in the path of implementation.


Choose your strategy


Many tried and tested methodologies in adopting DevOps already exist and can mainly be categorized into 02 approaches.


1.    Brownfield deployment

The shift into DevOps is carried out parallely to the existing workflow and is ported gradually. This is a more sophisticated approach and would require highly skilled managers to ensure a smooth shift.


2.    Greenfield deployment

This is much less challenging as the organization will start the DevOps journey from scratch with the proper training and tools. However, organizations will have to bear a certain downtime to get the process running.


Start with a plan


The success of DevOps in your organization will depend heavily on the emphasis given to the planning stage. This stage includes unbridled sharing of ideas which will enable the entire workforce of the organization to clearly understand each stage of the pipeline. Every team must gain sufficient understanding of the duties and responsibilities of the other teams and should consider steps to be taken in order to minimize redundancies and to efficiently connect with other teams. These steps could be as simple as using the same code editor or same OS across all teams so as to get rid of compatibility issues. It is the duty of the managerial level staff to clearly emphasize the common goal of the process, which is to ensure faster development with increased quality standards. Since the DevOps architecture is heavily employee driven, their enthusiastic support is vital for success.

Another key focus in this step is to identify the upgrades required. Be it in the form of purchasing software tools or hiring more skilled personnel, and all steps have to be taken to minimize potential blockers.


Containerize the applications


When the developed software is handled by multiple parties, it is important to ensure that all the libraries and configuration files are readily available for them. This saves significant time and effort. Containerization enables this through the use of tools such as ‘Docker,’ and it also facilitates multiple parties to work on different aspects of an application simultaneously as containerization segregates these aspects in a smooth manner.


Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)


Perhaps the most challenging step in the implementation, CI/CD, requires the use of software tools such as ‘Kubernetes to manage software updates and deploy new builds efficiently. However, the mere use of the software will not be fruitful unless a solid process is designed. The process has to be designed such that whenever a change in the base application is committed, it should trigger a workflow that runs automated tests and seamlessly integrates them into the build.


Testing automation


Since the development and the testing are not subsequent steps in a DevOps architecture, testing must be carried out periodically, even when the application is in the initial stages of development. Automation of these formal testing could save both time and resources. However, some testing still has to be carried out manually. For example, security tests and usability tests are better carried out manually as they require more human evaluation.


Continuous Monitoring


Rather than monitoring an application after deployment to testing, DevOps emphasizes the need to carry out performance monitoring throughout the development process as well. Specialized software tools can be used to detect issues such as slow response time and runtime errors and can be patched upon detection. This ensures a minimum error percentage in the final deliverable and eases the burden on the testing stage.



Process over Tools


Some inefficient implementation strategies for DevOps can be commonly seen where the software tools to be used are given extreme focus while the basic concept of collaboration is diminished. This should be avoided at all costs as it will not only be an unsuccessful implementation but will also carry significant financial implications.


The key to a successful implementation lies in proper planning and the drive of the employees and managers alike. In an environment where collaboration is a culture, and mutual understanding is developed, it would be comprehensively easier to adopt DevOps to maximize the organization’s output.


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