DevOps integrates development and operations by maintaining close communication and collaboration across Development and Operations. Development, Testing, and Operations are all directed towards a common goal and work according to inputs from each other. DevOps as a service automates the end-to-end delivery processes within an organisation. DevOps requires cloud environment to succeed, whether inside your organisation’s firewall or purchased from a service provider.
10 Best DevOps Practices to Employ
1. Tests Automation – Test the code and the underlying infrastructure in an automated way instead of doing it manually. For this, tools like WebRat can be used. Automation means that the code is fed as input basis which a final report specifying bug details and test cases is generated. This is a good way to involve the Ops team in testing. Automation is accomplished by identifying test cases and scenarios, selecting a suitable automation tool, setting up the test environment, running test cases, and analysing results.
2. Centralized Configuration Management – Configuration management means standardizing resource configurations and enforcing their state across the entire IT infrastructure in an automated yet Agile manner. If there are multiple running servers and you need to make configuration changes in one file then it is better to automate this process rather than do it manually. Set it up once and fire it when needed again. The best part is that you can configure all environments from a centralised place. There are various tools available to do so, like Chef, Puppet, etc.
3. Continuous Integration – The deployment process is a combination of many sub-processes like code development, versioning, testing, deployment, post-deployment tasks like shooting a mail to the concerned person or the team, etc. DevOps practice aims at automating these tasks using tools like Jenkins and Bamboo that minimise human intervention in the deployment process. These tools save a lot of time and effort.
4. Continuous Delivery – Continuous delivery ensures that there are no issues or breakpoints in moving the code from staging to any other environment. If there is a bug in the production code, you can quickly fix it in real time after passing the changes through the whole delivery pipeline to the production environment without causing a big loss to the production site. Continuous delivery aims at making the whole infrastructure flexible enough so that the required changes can be easily propagated to a specific environment without any barriers.
5. Continuous Deployment and Versioning – Organizations can choose to automate the deployment flow from staging to production using tools like Jenkins, Capistrano, Chef etc. In continuous deployment, the code is automatically deployed to the production environment as it passes all the test cases in QA environment followed by UAT environment and so on. Continuous versioning ensures that multiple versions of the code are available at proper places. This facilitates bug tracking and reverting the code back to the previous version without any hiccups.
6. Proactive Monitoring – Monitoring the infrastructure is important, whether it is on a cloud or on a local data center. Tracking load time, query logs and other important details can be very helpful in optimizing application performance. A bug from a recent deployment can fail the entire application and requires application checks. Proactive monitoring is important for all departments and there are plenty of tools for it. One such online tool is Geckoboard, which combines a lot of metrics related to infrastructure, application, analytics, sales, and graphs for different tools etc. Proper alerts should be set while monitoring so that certain events like CPU/server utilization exceeding 80/90% or application not responding can be taken care of timely.
7. Team Culture – Identify the stakeholders of every project right at the beginning so that they have insights about various project phases and processes and they can make valuable contributions. Try to include customers in some of the meetings so that everybody is at par with the project goals. They can also arrange training for members for better success of the project. To collaborate such activities, you can use various available tools.
8. Data-driven Approach – Performance should be your prime focus and analysing factual data can help you achieve that. DevOps is all about continuous performance improvement, the absence of which means development is not yet over. Share application graphs, usage patterns etc. with team members to bring everyone’s thinking in line. Include scalability, testing, and deployment to simplify the entire process. Development and Operations teams should work together to build and improve application performance, using a cohesive, repeatable, and continuously refined approach.
9. Centralized Log Management – Both error logs and regular logs are vital for an application. They need to be well-structured and easy to view and interpret. Logging done end-to-end is beneficial as it helps to analyse application performance from the point of view of an end-user. Various tools like Log-entries can be used. Centralised logs for applications with multiple servers increase the pace of debugging if there is any outage and set alerts can prevent a huge outage. Logs can be viewed in the form of graphs, tables and pie charts. Having said this, too many logs can be difficult to handle so it is recommended to follow log rotation.
10. Centralized Dashboards – Visual dashboards allow you to view configuration changes made to servers along with databases and deployments that have taken place. There are various metrics, logs, and graphs to give you a holistic view of changes happening in the system.
DevOps is a practice or mindset that combines everything by efficient adoption of the Agile methodology. Gartner predicted the evolution of DevOps as a mainstream strategy that would be employed by one-fourth of Global 2000 companies in 2016. The future graph for DevOps shows an increasing trend as DevOps culture picked up pace in the last 2 years and organisations are making it their key driver.