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DevOps

DevOps has become an overloaded buzzword that means a lot of different things to a lot of people. That's a challenge when you are trying to understand what DevOps is or define DevOps. Instead of trying to define DevOps, we are going to describe the foundational concepts that different people associate with DevOps and the history of how the DevOps movement evolved to help you get a holistic view:

Where Did DevOps Come From?

DevOps is the offspring of agile software development – born from the need to keep up with the increased software velocity and throughput agile methods have achieved. Advancements in agile culture and methods over the last decade exposed the need for a more holistic approach to the end-to-end software delivery lifecycle.

What is Agile Software Development?

Agile Development is an umbrella term for several iterative and incremental software development methodologies. The most popular agile methodologies include Scrum, Kanban, Scaled Agile Framework® (SAFe®), Lean Development and Extreme Programming (XP).

While each of the agile methodologies is unique in its specific approach, they all share a common vision and core values (see the Agile Manifesto). They all fundamentally incorporate iteration and the continuous feedback that it provides to successively refine and deliver a software system. They all involve continuous planning, continuous testing, continuous integration, and other forms of continuous evolution of both the project and the software. They are all lightweight, especially compared to traditional waterfall-style processes, and inherently adaptable. And what is most important about agile methods is that they all focus on empowering people to collaborate and make decisions together quickly and effectively.

In the beginning, agile teams were primarily made up of developers. As these agile teams became more effective and efficient at producing software, it became clear that having Quality Assurance (QA) and Dev as separate teams was inefficient. Agile grew to encompass QA in order to increase the velocity of delivering software and now agile is once again growing to encompass the delivery and support members to extend agility from ideation to delivery.

The DevOps ideals extend agile development practices by further streamlining the movement of software change thru the build, validate, and deploy and delivery stages, while empowering cross-functional teams with full ownership of software applications – from design thru production support. DevOps is an IT mindset that encourages communication, collaboration, integration and automation among software developers and IT operations in order to improve the speed and quality of delivering software.

DevOps teams focus on standardizing development environments and automating delivery processes to improve delivery predictability, efficiency, security and maintainability. The DevOps ideals provide developers more control of the production environment and a better understanding of the production infrastructure. DevOps encourages empowering teams with the autonomy to build, validate, deliver and support their own applications. With DevOps, nothing gets “thrown over the wall.”

What Are the Challenges DevOps Solves?

Prior to DevOps application development, teams were in charge of gathering business requirements for a software program and writing code. Then a separate QA team tests the program in an isolated development environment, if requirements were met, and releases the code for operations to deploy. The deployment teams are further fragmented into siloed groups like networking and database. Each time a software program is “thrown over the wall” to an independent team it adds bottlenecks. The problem with this paradigm is that when the teams work separately:

  • Dev is often unaware of QA and Ops roadblocks that prevent the program from working as anticipated.
  • QA and Ops are typically working across many features and have little context of the business purpose and value of the software.
  • Each group has opposing goals that can lead to inefficiency and finger pointing when something goes wrong.
DevOps

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