DevOps: Principles, Practices, and DevOps Engineer Role. Part 1.


For a long time, development and operations were isolated modules. Developers wrote code; the system administrators were responsible for its deployment and integration. As there was limited communication between these two silos, specialists worked mostly separately within a project.

That was fine when Waterfall development dominated. But since Agile and continuous workflow have taken over the world of software development, this model is out of the game. Short sprints and frequent releases occurring every two weeks or even every day require a new approach and new team roles.

Today, DevOps is one of the most discussed software development approaches. It is applied in Facebook, Netflix, Amazon, Etsy, and many other industry-leading companies. So, if you are considering embracing DevOps for the sake of better performance, business success, and competitiveness, you take the first step and hire a DevOps engineer. But first, let’s look at what DevOps is all about and how it helps improve product delivery.


What is DevOps?


DevOps stands for development and operations. It’s a practice that aims at merging development, quality assurance, and operations (deployment and integration) into a single, continuous set of processes. This methodology is a natural extension of Agile and continuous delivery approaches.



What DevOps looks like


By adopting DevOps companies gain three core advantages that cover technical, business, and cultural aspects of development.


Higher speed and quality of product releases. DevOps speeds up product release by introducing continuous delivery, encouraging faster feedback, and allowing developers to fix bugs in the system in the early stages. Practicing DevOps, the team can focus on the quality of the product and automate a number of processes.

Faster responsiveness to customer needs. With DevOps, a team can react to change requests from customers faster, adding new and updating existing features. As a result, the time-to-market and value-delivery rates increase.

Better working environment. DevOps principles and practices lead to better communication between team members, and increased productivity and agility. Teams that practice DevOps are considered to be more productive and cross-skilled. Members of a DevOps team, both those who develop and those who operate, act in concert.

These benefits come only with the understanding that DevOps isn’t merely a set of actions, but rather a philosophy that fosters cross-functional team communication. More importantly, it doesn’t require substantial technical changes as the main focus is put on altering the way people work. The whole success depends on adhering to DevOps principles.


DevOps principles


In 2010 Damon Edwards and John Willis came up with the CAMS model to showcase the key values of DevOps. CAMS is an acronym that stands for Culture, Automation, Measurement, and Sharing. As these are the main principles of DevOps, we’ll examine them in more detail.


Culture


DevOps is initially the culture and mindset forging strong collaborative bonds between software development and infrastructure operations teams. This culture is built upon the following pillars.


Constant collaboration and communication. These have been the building blocks of DevOps since its dawn. Your team should work cohesively with the understanding of the needs and expectations of all members.


Gradual changes. The implementation of gradual rollouts allows delivery teams to release a product to users while having an opportunity to make updates and roll back if something goes wrong.


Shared end-to-end responsibility. When every member of a team moves towards one goal and is equally responsible for a project from beginning to end, they work cohesively and look for ways of facilitating other members’ tasks.


Early problem-solving. DevOps requires that tasks be performed as early in the project lifecycle as possible. So, in case of any issues, they will be addressed more quickly.


Automation of processes


Automating as many development, testing, configuration, and deployment procedures as possible is the golden rule of DevOps. It allows specialists to get rid of time-consuming repetitive work and focus on other important activities that can’t be automated by their nature.


Measurement of KPIs (Key Performance Indicators)


Decision-making should be powered by factual information in the first place. To get optimal performance, it is necessary to keep track of the progress of activities composing the DevOps flow. Measuring various metrics of a system allows for understanding what works well and what can be improved.


Sharing


Sharing is caring. This phrase explains the DevOps philosophy better than anything else as it highlights the importance of collaboration. It is crucial to share feedback, best practices, and knowledge among teams since this promotes transparency, creates collective intelligence and eliminates constraints. You don’t want to put the whole development process on pause just because the only person who knows how to handle certain tasks went on a vacation or quitted.

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