DevOps is in danger of becoming a buzzword and what often happens with buzzwords is that they get misinterpreted and misused. This blog is an attempt to add to the necessary and real conversation about DevOps.
According to a study, the DevOps market is expected to reach $6.6 billion by 2022. That’s a big number. Of course, other studies will show even bigger numbers. The key takeaway is, DevOps is BIG.
No argument that DevOps, in its truest sense, involves combining the best practices of the software development (Dev) and the IT operation (Ops) teams to improve the delivery speed of applications and services. The term itself clarifies that both the teams play an equally crucial role in the process. However, when one speaks about DevOps, the focus is almost immediately shifted more towards the development aspect of the process.
Why should that be so?
While the Dev team adopts a proactive approach to push out code quickly, the Ops team supports them by taking a responsive approach of deployment, service management, and incident response. The Ops team ensures that all services are readily available for the Dev team to use, and help businesses to innovate and roll out new products in the markets within the agreed-upon SLAs. Clearly, even a minor oversight from the Ops team could cost the company millions of dollars.
Hence, we should say that the Ops team plays an equally crucial role in keeping the DevOps process up and running. The only way to ensure equal focus on Ops is by strengthening their role in the entire DevOps process. Here’s how.
How To Strengthen The Role Of Ops In DevOps
1. Get tool buy-in from both teams
The first step is to ensure that everyone uses the same set of tools. Considering that the development team often leads the tool purchasing process, the Ops team has little say on it. In most cases, they are left out of the decision-making process, leaving them to deal with security, networking, scalability, and other issues that crop up later. The Ops team must be taken into confidence before implementation. For example, the Ops team is responsible for running and maintaining platforms for code development, so their decisions should be given weightage during the selection stage. It is equally crucial that the Ops team does not resist change and choose tools that can promote consistency and collaboration between the two teams.
2. Make Ops scalable
Scalability is the hallmark of DevOps success. While developers can often quickly scale up, the Ops team may face challenges as their role is sometimes more reactive. Some methods to increase scalability within the Ops team include:
- Use infrastructure as code: This means creating automated scripts to download, install, and configure the software requirements. The Ops team can easily replicate environments and versions and test them using infrastructure as a code.
- Automate security: Sometimes, the security of the new releases can be compromised while launching it. To help the Ops keep pace with the speed, companies can use tools to remediate security by checking if all security measures are implemented and automate countermeasures to address them.
- Using containerization: Instead of purchasing new hardware frequently to meet scalability needs, the Ops team can use its resources to deploy code on containers on demand. They can be utilized until they are needed and then shut down after taking all the required backup once their utility is over.
3.Strengthen release management within the team
The advent of DevOps may have made it easier for developers to release new features regularly instead of waiting for a release date. The Ops team is expected to manage the new features as they come, before deploying it on the customer’s side. However, sometimes the continuous flow of new features makes it difficult for the Ops team to carefully test the quality of the systems and ensure that there are no bugs on the client end. One way to solve this issue is by introducing better release management practices within the team. Release management involves:
- Assigning relevant tasks to relevant teams
- Planning, implementing, and managing the software build through various stages and environments
- Testing its stability
- And deploying the solution at the client site
Streamlining the release management process will give both the teams enough time to complete their tasks in the right way without rushing into deployment, and will also strengthen the bond between them.
Synchronize both the teams to work as a single unit
This seems obvious but is surprisingly hard to achieve. And examples abound of how this goes wrong. Kris Buytaert, a DevOps consultant, cited an example of how a large financial enterprise had partnered with a separate company for operations and that it was not involved in the DevOps transition. The end result was far from what the enterprise had envisioned. Patrick Debois famously called the father of DevOps, stressed upon the need for synchronization between both the teams. This is possible only if the teams work together and share a common goal.
Despite the definition of DevOps insisting upon the integration between the Dev and Ops team; it’s true that the two teams still work in silos. Regrettably, it is still Dev v/s Ops, instead of Dev and Ops. There’s little doubt that software-focused companies need to pay equal attention to both the teams and promote the culture of collaboration to ensure that they work as a single unit. That’s the only scalable way to avoid DevOps disaster and ensure software success.