DevOps: Should it adapt or be adopted

May 30, 2020 0 comments

As is evident from the term, DevOps is a combination of two terms Development and Operations. This leads to the fallacy that DevOps is the integration of IT Operations with Software Development. Some say it is a fancy designation given to operations engineers working on Cloud platforms like AWS, Azure, etc. In simple terms, DevOps is the practice of operations and development engineers participating together in the entire service lifecycle from the designing to the development process to production support.

DevOps enables different teams involved in the software project to coordinate and collaborate with the end goal in mind and deliver more reliable products. This is in contrast to the traditional development approach where teams work in silos without first-hand information of the customer needs and end up delivering software that is not in line with business goals. Teams that adopt DevOps culture along with the right processes and tools respond faster to customer needs and help their customers achieve their business goals by

-Reducing time to market
-Adapting to Market demands
-Delivering Reliable Product

DevOps processes and tools enable organizations to deliver applications that their consumers need. Combined with DevOps practices, automation reduces human errors and increases the ability of teams to thoroughly test the changes done while delivering incremental value. DevOps practitioners automate the processes at various stages of software delivery including testing, code quality checks, deployment to deliver the applications reliably thus enhancing customer experience.

While DevOps culture helps teams work in collaboration, some organizations have taken the extreme view of having each of the team members perform all the roles (Dev, QA, Ops) that are part of the software development life cycle. While in theory this looks fancy and might work in startup environments, each function in SDLC is a specialized skill and requires team members to be specialized in their functions. We are seeing companies struggling to motivate team members to perform varied roles across functions resulting in lower productivity and higher attrition. Hopefully, this fad will fade soon and organizations move to a collaborative approach with specialized team members working in tandem to deliver business value.

Adoption of cloud

Adoption of cloud is one of the primary drivers behind the rapid rise of DevOps culture. According to Veracode, approximately 30% of all breaches are due to vulnerabilities in the application layer. With applications moving to cloud environments, the risk of security breach has increased manifold. To ensure applications are protected against vulnerabilities and malicious attacks, organizations have to adopt the best security practices right from the design phase of the software development life cycle. We expect DevOps to play a pivotal role in enabling teams to discover the vulnerabilities right at the beginning and help them deliver secure software. Security testing will become integral to DevOps culture and lead the way in ensuring each release is secure against malicious attacks.

Much of DevOps adoption has been in the area of application development and very less in the field of data. We see a lot of potential in integrating DevOps with data models and/or applying AI/ML algorithms. One such example is applying machine learning algorithms to the data from monitoring systems, proactively identify problems and recommend corrective actions much before they surface. This will enhance the continuous feedback loop that is critical to DevOps culture.

While DevOps is driving change in the areas of Security, AI/ML, etc. DevOps also needs to adapt to the changing technology landscape. Containerization is disrupting the way configuration management is handled during product release. We will soon see container orchestration mechanisms replace configuration management tools and simplify all aspects of release management and DevOps needs to quickly adapt to this.

With AWS, Azure, GCP and many other platforms gaining traction, we are seeing organizations hedging their bets across cloud platforms. How DevOps adapts to this Multi-Cloud environment harnessing the advantages provided by different platforms will be keenly watched. Challenges faced in integrating across cloud platforms while ensuring the security of information is another aspect worth attention.

These are just a few glimpses of what we will see of DevOps. The future, though promising as more and more organizations are adopting it, its real potential will be realized only when DevOps too adapts to the changing technical landscape. Most importantly, organizations shouldn’t go overboard and drive this purely as a technical revolution as for every revolution to succeed, it should change the culture and attitudes of the people involved.

The article is authored by Basheer Mohammed, Cofounder & VP -Engineering and Delivery, TechChefs   

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