DevOps Methodology

A DevOps methodology is a suite of practices, tools, and philosophies that combines software development (Dev) and information technology operations (Ops).

Understanding DevOps

DevOps represents a shared or collaborative approach to tasks and processes performed by a company’s software development and IT operations teams.

The philosophy on which DevOps is based fosters improved collaboration and communication between these teams and the organization as a whole. 

The term can also be used more narrowly to describe iterative software development, automation, and programmable infrastructure maintenance and deployment.

It also encapsulates cultural change – by increasing trust between systems administrators and developers – and ensuring business requirements are in harmony with each project.

The shift toward DevOps started around 2007 in response to concerns development and IT teams had raised about dysfunction in the industry.

Essentially, the software development framework of the time required the developers who wrote the code to be separate from those who deployed and supported it. 

Both teams often worked in separate buildings, had competing objectives, or were measured against different KPIs.

This causes siloed teams that were only concerned with looking after themselves with long working hours, botched releases, and dissatisfied customers also commonplace.

Under the current DevOps model, both teams are no longer siloed and are occasionally merged into a single team where engineers work across the entire lifecycle and possess multidisciplinary skills and expertise.

What DevOps is not

DevOps is not a technology in and of itself but instead an environment that utilizes:

  • Continuous integration and continuous delivery or deployment (CI/CD) tools. 
  • Any system that supports its adoption, such as configuration management, incident management, and real-time monitoring, and
  • Cloud computing, microservices, and containers.

While they are somewhat different, it should also be noted that DevOps can be used in tandem with Agile. In fact, the two frameworks complement each other.

The former focuses on an automated CI/CD pipeline to deliver frequent releases, while the latter increases adaptability toward shifting requirements and provides better collaboration among smaller teams.

DevOps lifecycle

The continuous nature of DevOps and its six phases are commonly represented as an infinity loop.

While each phase appears to be sequential, DevOps stresses the need for collaboration and iteration across the entire lifecycle.

The six phases include:

  1. Plan – to increase speed and quality, agile practices should be adopted. As hinted at above, this enables teams to break work down into smaller chunks and deliver incremental value.
  2. Build – this can be done via Git, a free, open-source version control system that supports the branching, merging, and rewriting of repository history.
  3. Continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) – this enables teams to release quality products from source code to production via automated workflows. Releases are frequent and of high quality.
  4. Monitor and alert – the fourth phase deals with the identification and resolution of issues that affect speed, uptime, and functionality. 
  5. Operate – or the management of end-to-end IT service delivery to customers. Known as IT service management (ITSM), this incorporates all the processes and activities that create, deliver, and support IT services
  6. Continuous feedback – where the effect of each release on the user experience is reported to the DevOps team to then improve future releases. 

Key takeaways:

  • A DevOps methodology is a suite of practices, tools, and philosophies that integrate software development (Dev) and information technology operations (Ops).
  • DevOps is not a technology but instead an environment that utilizes CI/CD tools, incident management, real-time monitoring, cloud computing, and microservices. It may also be used in conjunction with Agile.
  • DevOps methodologies are represented in the form of an infinity loop with collaboration occurring and iteration throughout. The six phases are plan, build, CI/CD, monitor and alert, operate, and continuous feedback.

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