The DevOps practices implementation can make the software release process faster and at the same time it can ensure the creation of high-quality applications. The DevOps methodology can’t be simply acquired, incorporated or taken as a reference model. If your company is considering the opportunity to adopt this methodology, you can find below the 6 main steps to face this important change.
Today, one of the main challenges is the ability to understand how to work in the Agile way and to provide your customers with high-quality and fast services. Thanks to our multiyear experience in DevOps Consultancy, we can help you to embrace the DevOps methodology with some useful suggestions.
1. Embrace the DevOps mentality
The DevOps methodology implementation doesn’t start just affirming “We are doing DevOps” or using the related tools. The whole organization should have a clear idea of what DevOps is, which needs it meets and all the people have to be ready to change the way they were used to work before.
So, how we can start? The first approach is to identify the current applications’ value workflows, it means the activity that takes the products from the development phase to the production one. It is important to understand if there are some restrictions, bottlenecks or walls and to concentrate to solve them.
The identification of eventual inefficiencies during the delivery process should be an opportunity to put this change in practice. To do this, the company and the team must be ready for experimenting: short time failure have to be considered as a possibility, but the important thing is to use it for learning and improvement.
Another important point is to encourage the organization to make questions as “Why are we doing this [process]? What the commercial value? How can we make it more efficient?”
Companies often think that DevOps is a synonym of automation. While the automation helps to accelerate the manual processes, the DevOps methodology is based on collaboration and on communication. If these collaboration and communication practices are not adopted between the software developers, the processes’ automation doesn’t produce any advantages.
2. Make the most of metrics
One of the most DevOps adoption neglected phase is the right metrics selection which is useful to collect and monitor all the progresses. At the initial phase it is very important to establish the DevOps metrics, linked to the business objectives, that will define the line to take. Don’t worry if your data are negative at the beginning. According to our experience, these are the most useful DevOps metrics:
- The production failure rate: how many times the software is not able to go to the production phase in an established period.
- The mean recovery time: how long it takes an application in production to recover an error.
- The mean realization time: how long it takes to create, verify, deliver and implement a new production requirement.
- Development velocity: the speed with which a new application version can be developed in a particular environment (integration, test, management, pre-production or production)
- Development frequency: how frequently a new release, selected during the test, staging, pre-production and production environment, is developed;
- The mean production time: how long it takes to put a new code in production once it is committed inside the repository.
After defining the metrics and the current state of your company, we suggest fixing your objectives for each metric, so the team knows what to search. It is extremely important to constantly share these objectives, metrics and progresses with all the involved people. To reach high transparency levels is often difficult but also fundamental to ensure a more efficient collaboration and communication, bringing down the barriers between Dev and Ops teams.
3. Look for the best solution for your specific needs
Each organization has its own DevOps journey, linked to its business, its culture and it will be focus on its own people, the way they communicate each other and the related tools to implement all these practices.
The DevOps enabler tools are a lot, so it is very important to focus only on the specific necessities and on the software characteristics of your company. To make the research easier, you can find below all the recommended tools:
- Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery – CloudBees Jenkins Enterprise
- Container and microservices – Red Hat Openshift, Docker and Kubernetes
- Social coding and Code Hosting - GitHub
- Log management e analytics – Elastic
- Continuous monitoring - Icinga
- Configuration management – Ansible and Puppet.
4. The DevOps methodology should be adopted gradually
At the early stage we suggest implementing the DevOps methodology in a pilot project, putting together an appropriate DevOps team including dev, test and operations, looking at inefficiencies and creating a distribution pipeline to solve some of the process obstacles. Measure the success, solve the errors, restart and repeat the process.
It is better to start from the major flow of value’s inefficiencies because it could have the major impact on your business. Some of them will be easy to be solved and some other won’t, especially if they include processes changes to implement inside the team.
Make sure the involved people are influencer, so they can transfer their knowledge to the team; the experience you make in your pilot project must be always shared with the team, otherwise the DevOps methodology won’t be as efficient as expected.
5. Value the Quality Control
Companies that want to implement the DevOps methodology are likely to focus only on the automation process, pushing the quality control into the background. Even if the DevOps methodology can automate all the tests, it is fundamental to automate the continuous integration and delivery ones. It is possible to automate some functional and non-functional tests regarding security, performances and other quality characteristics to improve the activity.
6. Adopt a smart automation approach
Automation is the key to improve your delivery processes and all the other related ones (infrastructure, environment, configuration, platform, build, test, process and so on) must be defined as a code. If there is a process that needs a lot of time or that generates a lot of errors or interruptions, automate it first: by doing this the delivery time will be reduced, repeatability will increase and configuration delays will be deleted.
Standardize your approach to automation to provide developers, operations and QA with a unique referent and a common language. The automation quality is fundamental to ensure a high-quality application.
At this point we can affirm that the DevOps methodology implementation needs lot of time, effort and discipline. According to our experience companies that will follow all the points above, will have the right bases to face a successful DevOps journey. Having a good DevOps Partner should get the whole process faster and easier.
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