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Earlier different departments of a software development firm used to operate separately in silos. So, each department was unaware of what the other department was doing. In DevOps, the different departments of an organization work together right from the start of the software development lifecycle. The result is enhanced quality, security, and efficiency of the final software deliverable. Early and frequent testing ensures there are minimum or no bugs in the software. As all members of the software firm are consulted the final product is as per expectations and requirements. Plus, the deliverable is released in a relatively short span of time giving it a competitive advantage in the market.
A DevOps pipeline is a number of processes and practices that development and operations teams use to build, test as well as deploy deliverables in lesser time and with relatively more ease. Unlike a factory assembly line, while there are different stages, there is no start or end point. It is a continuous process of implementing continuous improvements. Automation is extensively utilized in the pipeline. Also, teams do not have to wait for other teams to complete their respective tasks before moving to their next task. This technology is an improvement over the Waterfall Methodology and Agile Methodology.
This is the first stage of the pipeline. The main objective is to ensure all contributors to the project are working together from the start. Inputs are invited from all so that a clear picture of the deliverable emerges. All the tasks necessary to create the deliverable for the entire team are identified. Selection of the continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) tools takes place. CI integrates code changes from different coders into a single product. CD automatically deploys each code change to the testing stage.
A controlled environment is established and IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) are finalized. In this stage, coding commences following the outlined plan. The work is tracked using a quality version control system. Coding styles should be easy to understand even by newcomers or outsiders. The code should be ideally easy to understand as well as maintain.
The coders will commit code changes to a shared repository. Pull requests are done to merge respective code changes with the codebase. There is the automated execution of builds as well as unit tests and integration tests. If a certain test or the build fails the coder(s) will be notified. Bugs and build integration issues are identified and resolved in this critical stage.
The code is subjected to manual as well as automated tests. An important test performed at this stage is the user acceptance test. The application is evaluated for performance, security as well as load testing.
The build is introduced in a production similar environment to check for performance. If the performance is satisfactory the build is then deployed in a live production environment.
Data is collected to discover performance issues if any. Monitoring tools are used and the software may move back to planning and iteration.
We take a look at DevOps practices to speed up the delivery pipeline
If yours is a monolithic architecture and relevant services stop working, then productivity takes a hit and so does the user experience. Ultimately the business is badly affected. Leveraging microservices can halt as well as prevent business downtime. Microservices architecture consists of independent services which are separately deployed and communicate with the help of APIs. The services have separate environments and possess interfaces to communicate with the remaining services. The main advantage of microservices is that if one component of the software stops working it does not affect the working of the remaining components. In applications built using monolithic architecture if one component fails the whole application comes to a halt. Microservices architecture makes incremental releases easier. Also, the former enables the DevOps team to be more productive.
Usually, applications have to be offline when updates or upgrades take place. So, there is application downtime and your business’s customers cannot access the application. In the case of microservices, only the relevant services that need to be updated or upgraded are taken offline. The remaining services function as usual. Also, very little time is required for the updates and upgrades.
Using DevOps and microservices together enables development teams to be more productive and release better-quality software in relatively lesser time. Microservices improve continuous delivery as well as deployment. The outcome is the faster release of the software. The technology enables the DevOps team to craft software components independently as well as in parallel. Microservices boost collaboration and communication among the different members and units of the development teams.
Coupling is the interdependence between a particular application’s modules. Cohesion is the interdependence between a particular module’s parts. It is not easy to test and maintain applications having high coupling. The latter adversely affects continuous integration and continuous deployment. It is recommended to implement decoupling which will enable the creation of an effective test strategy.
Value streams are a series of actions to craft software solutions providing significant business value. Advantages include quicker application release, superior quality as well as ramped-up productivity. The 2 kinds of value streams are operational value streams and development value streams. The former provides customer value and the latter creates a suitable environment for the operational value streams. Assigning resources to parts to ramp up the deliverable’s velocity, creating a clear feedback mechanism and automation critical processes will increase deployment speed and product quality.
A Value Stream Architect has expertise and experience in the business aspect as well as the technical aspect. He/she collaborates and communicates with the product owner. The former has the responsibility to create the value stream architecture. The architect eliminates the wait states and introduces ideas to implement continuous improvement and more. It is necessary to make the entire task transparent so you can see what is slowing the progress as well as identify and eliminate any bottlenecks. There should be clear visibility of the workflow. It is necessary to put feedback mechanisms in place. There should be acceptance and support across the whole organization for incorporating ideas for continuous improvement. All members should be open to making the necessary changes for improvement. Gaps in skills should be found. Training should be imparted to close the skill gaps.
DevOps aims at accelerated delivery of software. The former’s success depends on choosing the best tools as well as technologies. Also, a quality continuous delivery toolchain should be created. Below are some of the pipelines that an organization would include for software delivery.
You have the freedom to introduce or delete pipelines. It is recommended that you assign a product owner for taking complete responsibility for the pipelines. Adopt the best-of-breed technique to choose the tools.
More than a technology DevOps is a culture implemented to deliver better quality software at faster rates. If you want to remain competitive in your market it is recommended that your organization adopt this process. Remember DevOps does not have a fixed beginning or end. It is a continuous and never-ending cycle. The developers will know right from the start what the clients want. Testing is done early to decrease bugs and resolve issues before they become bigger or spiral out of control. You will receive prototypes early and will be able to send it to the client for feedback. The feedback will be incorporated into the next prototype. The final software deliverable will be as per the client’s expectations and needs. The user interface, user experience, features, functionality, performance, and security will be addressed thanks to DevOps. Also, as the software takes very less time to develop and has superior quality the former will fetch better returns and reputation in the intensely competitive market.
If you have a software project in hand and your organization understands the DevOps concept well you can develop the software in-house. On the other hand, if you are new to DevOps consider hiring an outsourcing firm with the necessary expertise and experience in DevOps. A tip is not to hurry to hire a DevOps firm. Take time to understand DevOps and how it will help you achieve your goals. Also, conduct research on firms offering DevOps services. Request a document outlining in detail their processes. Determine a budget and deadlines for your software deliverable. Evaluate and identify which entities can meet your budget and timeframe without compromising on quality. Also, your business secrets and confidential data should be kept private. Sign an NDA (Non-Disclosure Agreement) with the shortlisted entity before they commence the work. Also, sign an SLA (Service Level Agreement) that defines the response time from their end. Finally conduct a background check to verify domain and technological expertise, transparency, communication quality, and punctuality.
Focaloid is a stellar software development products and services company catering to clients in the US & UK. We have the necessary expertise and experience in DevOps. For your information, Focaloid has a team of talented and seasoned professionals with extensive expertise in DevOps. Over time we have established a mature outsourcing model which is productive, efficient as well as effective. You can safely rely on us to deliver outstanding software solutions and services within stipulated deadlines. Contact us at your earliest to know how we can help you. We are committed to superior client satisfaction and mutual growth.