The new Software Development Lifecycle

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Enterprise strategist Mark Schwartz said, “DevOps simply adds the idea that small, cross-functional teams should own the entire delivery process from concept through user feedback and production monitoring.” That’s an interesting way to put it. 

The process of software development continues to face expectations of shorter development cycles, increased collaboration, and continuous product releases. 

Can the DevOps lifecycle help? 

The DevOps lifecycle could be the application development savior. As most know, DevOps simply brings together software development and IT operations to create an environment that enables continuous product iteration and release. 

The Waterfall methodology ‘modeled’ the development process as a linear process where each step of the software development lifecycle (SDLC) was executed sequentially, the Agile methodology enabled a more collaborative and continuous process. However, both these approaches are often insufficient in delivering high-quality applications at the pace demanded by the digital world. This is where the DevOps methodology played a crucial role in meeting modern application needs.

What are the various stages of the DevOps lifecycle? Essentially, there are 6 DevOps lifecycle phases, namely:

  1. Continuous Development
  2. Continuous Integration
  3. Continuous Testing
  4. Continuous Feedback
  5. Continuous Deployment
  6. Continuous Monitoring

Let us look at each of these DevOps phases closely.

  1. Continuous Development

This is the first phase of the DevOps project methodology, which includes software planning and programming. While the ‘planning’ involves visioning the final product, the ‘programming’ involves the use of software tools and languages like JavaScript, Ruby, and Python for DevOps applications. 

Among the popular DevOps lifecycle tools used, JIRA, Git, or Mercurial are used for version control management of the written code, while Ant and Gradle are used for building the application code into an executable format.

  1. Continuous Integration

Continuous integration truly sets DevOps apart from other SDLC methodologies. As new software code gets added (with new features) and modified (to improve existing functionalities or fix errors or bugs), they are continuously built and integrated into the existing codebase. 

How often is continuous integration implemented? Depending on the project timelines, it could be done at very short intervals. Regular code integration allows continuous testing and problem detection. One popular DevOps tool is Jenkins that automatically retrieves the updated source code (from the code repository) and prepares a code build to be delivered for testing purposes.

  1. Continuous Testing

Depending on the project needs, continuous testing can be conducted before (or after) continuous integration. Automated testing tools like TestNG and JUnit can be used to test multiple code lines to remove any quality issues or flaws. For DevOps, Docker containers are also used to simulate the testing environment.

Further, test automation frameworks help in reducing both testing-related efforts and costs. Once all the test cases are executed, the updated code is then continuously integrated with the existing codebase. 

  1. Continuous Feedback

In addition to continuous testing, continuous feedback is an integral part of any DevOps-based development process, as these two phases ensure constant improvements in the application being created. During this phase, end customers or users have a “first-hand” look at the application and can share their feedback or product experience.

On its part, continuous feedback between the development and operations team can determine the next phase of application development including the next version.

  1. Continuous Deployment

During this DevOps phase, the final application code (after complete testing) is deployed to the production environment. For this phase to be efficient, configuration management plays a critical role in ensuring that the correct application code is deployed to production. This includes managing the code, scheduling updates on the production server, and maintaining accurate server configurations. 

Popular DevOps tools used in configuration management include Ansible and Puppet. Further, containerization tools like Docker are used to maintain consistency across the application development, testing, and production environments.

  1. Continuous Monitoring

Continuous monitoring is the more ‘operational’ part of the DevOps process, which focuses on overall application performance and functionalities. During this phase, common errors like “insufficient memory” or “server not reachable” are recorded and resolved using root cause analysis.

For effective monitoring, the operations team uses popular DevOps tools such as Splunk, Nagios, or ELK Stack that are designed to monitor the performance of deployed applications and production systems.

How can Organizations Ensure DevOps Success?

How can DevOps work for business success, and how do organizations implement the DevOps process? Effective DevOps implementation can help in overcoming organizational ‘silos’ and challenges. 

Here is a look at key DevOps objectives that organizations must focus on for successful implementation:

  • A high-quality product that can transform the user experience and speed up the development process.
  • Streamlined cost control and high ROI, driven by collaboration between the development and operations team.
  • Use of latest technological innovations like Serverless architecture that can integrate seamlessly with DevOps.
  • The use of the cloud-based Infrastructure as Code (IaC) can enable product agility and flexibility.

Further, DevOps KPIs are a clear indicator of its overall success, and can include the following:

  • Deployment frequency or the rate at which application code is being deployed to the production server.
  • Time elapsed for work items with “open” and “closed” status between development and operations. 
  • Service Level Agreements (or SLAs) that can measure uptime against downtime.
  • Application performance-related metrics including response time and error rates. 

Conclusion

Effectively, the DevOps approach helps in creating an “agile and flexible” software development model, which can deliver exceptional products in quick time to customers. Changing market demands of improved functionality at an accelerated release cycle have necessitated the adoption of DevOps across different business organizations.

In short, the DevOps lifecycle will continue to be applied in the development of modern and dynamic web applications. With its strategic consulting expertise in DevOps, Forgeahead has empowered its global customers to build and deploy their applications rapidly. Our DevOps expertise is based on efficient CI/CD automation and cloud-based architecture.

Get a free estimate for your next DevOps project by clicking this link.

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