DevOps (Development and Operations) is no more than a decade old, but it has become an increasingly significant approach to service and product development. It is a holistic methodology for transforming an organization to be more innovative. However, there are specific rules that have to be followed if DevOps has to work in practice.
DevOps is a methodology used in markets that have a strong focus on the IT industry. It is famously used in the UK, US, and Scandinavia. There are many successful companies that have admitted to using DevOps, with increasingly more companies turning to DevOps daily. In 2016, the DevOps market value was estimated to be $2.6 billion, and the figures are predicted to hit $9.4 billion over the next five years.
Using the DevOps approach, you will shorten the process of implementing digital solutions considerably, therefore improving time-to-market vastly. The DevOps approach will take just a few days where the ‘waterfall’ approach would take a few weeks. For this reason, the DevOps approach is applied by organizations that have numerous very complex projects and processes.
The success rates of different organizations vary; some are more successful than others. However, all of these organizations keep seeking for ways of shortening their processes while maximizing profitability. A company could use DevOps to improve its software time to market considerably. This improvement is made possible by selecting micro services architecture, application of continuous delivery/ continuous integration pipeline, and managing to rely on the model of DevOps short sprints and getting constant feedback. It also contributes to more reliable apps with improved resilience.
To achieve the success that you need, you cannot implement the guidelines and use the ‘by-the-book’ approach only. You should use a holistic approach to change the culture of the organization, not just blindly focusing on IT practices and tooling. DevOps implementation is similar to strategic management decisions in that it is a journey that requires patience and persistence because of the numerous steps that need to be taken. The following are some basic rules you need to stick to when bringing a DevOps approach:
- Do not change the mechanics only, bring a new philosophy to management
- It is a part that is essential, sensitive, and special for the continuous development of the whole company – technology, processes, and people. DevOps makes no sense if the company’s environment is not agile, and this is primarily because of failing to adhere to the rules of agile software development. DevOps needs the correct organizational confidence and trust. You require the scrum methodology (framework) in building DevOps based IT practices.
- Create a teamwork culture
- Bring a new way of communication and working, as well as a new way of thinking about the company. It needs time and hence, patience from the management. You can never succeed without convincing your employees to be engaged in the process and lead by example. Lack of efficient communication from the managers to employees is often the cause of business failure. It results in lack of implementation, misunderstanding, and lack of trust. Any new application needs a team that is able to communicate effectively.
- Be a servant leader
- The leader has a significant role to play when it comes to building a culture ready for DevOps transformation. Senior leaders ought to be humble servants, focusing on the growth of people. The leader has to gain the trust of employees if a product or service development solution is 100% fault-proof.
- Fail fast
- Is a process in which smaller versions of a product are built with only basic features, referred to as minimum viable product (MVP)? These versions are implemented, and then feedback is collected from customers to see if they meet the expectations. This becomes a continuous feedback loop involving development circles or sprints. It allows more openness to innovation and minimizes associated risks.
- Have the right technology
- This is the last step in implementing DevOps, and it is very crucial. The CD/CI (continuous development/ continuous integration) means that the software management lies in the versions and the whole software development lifecycle is wholly automated from coding into the compilation, then testing and deployment into production. There are numerous packages on the market. However, the best results can mostly be achieved in using community versions and open source. GitHub would be a smart starting point because engineers mingle, brainstorm, and share code.
After all these, the question ringing in your mind most probably is what you should be looking for when hiring DevOps (Development Operator). However, do not worry; we have the right information just for you. You will have a hard time trying to find a person indicating that he or she specializes in ‘DevOp.’ In the real sense, what you require is a developer who has knowledge and experience as a system administrator, or also a system administrator who has knowledge and experience as a programmer.
The following are the things you should be looking for when hiring DevOps:
The one thing to keep in mind is that it is a developer you are hiring. Today, any developer has to prove their open-source chops. Therefore, you should first ensure that the candidate you are hiring has an excellent open-source portfolio. This portfolio is likely to mean a list of projects on a GitHub profile, or something identical. Look out for projects that use cloud services, for example, Amazon EC2, as having the ability to think in ‘cloud terms,’ when to keep cloud services in-house, when to use outside cloud services, and how to scale. These requirements are a must for a DevOp.
Ensure that your candidate has good source management practices. There are conflicts that arise between operations people and developers when the Ops people require changing something to deploy in production and failing to make sure that the changes inside the typical source code management system. A lot of DevOps tools now tightly integrate with source management systems. Therefore, ensure that your candidate is experienced with distributed version control systems such as Git and Mercurial, and also older VCS’s like Subversion.
A DevOps has its real power in their skills with automation tools. Mainly, they will want to obtain an intimate knowledge of Chef and Puppet. These two are the most popular configuration management systems. They are tools with incredible power to automatically do everything, from code deployments to management of users/ passwords. Additionally, they can keep the systems up to date. Inquire about the candidate’s favorite recipes/ patterns, and ask them about the particular scripts they are proud of.
A good DevOps has to be able to branch, write, test, commit, and deploy codes across two dozen serves without blinking an eye. They also need to be as sharp as reading the internals of a system, checking load balance, knowing when to add more iron and knowing how to receive and interpret automated messages about the state of the machines they are managing.
If we all could be sincere, data is an essential part of any company. Your DevOp, therefore, needs to understand what they are doing when it comes to managing the data. They have to have knowledge of all big relational databases and NoSQL databases, knowing them inside out. Your candidate should be confident when it comes to migrating hundreds of thousands of database items in ten tables across five machines, the backups, and restoring the backups.