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DevOps Automation: How to Get Started

October 7, 2022

DevOps doesn’t mean that much to business leaders. But efficiency does. As a business leader, you know that if you can work faster while maintaining quality or improving it, you have a winning solution.

DevOps aims to combine resource-intensive development with efficient operations to create departmental scrap. This ensures consistency across disparate teams, opens communication channels, and automates processes.

What is DevOps, and how can it positively impact your organization?

What Is DevOps?

DevOps is a set of engineering practices that bring engineers and developers together. The goal is to improve collaboration and productivity through automated processes.

Developing without DevOps is like taking a group working on a project, putting them in different rooms, and then requiring them to work on the same project separately. 

DevOps increases efficiency by breaking down the figurative walls that separate colleagues and opening up two-way communication between colleagues whose work depends on others. The effect speaks for itself. 

What Are the Components of Good Devops Practice?

While everyone’s DevOps implementation will look different, there are essential components not to be missed.

Automated Quality Assurance Lifecycle

This is a set of automated tests-including unit, integration, smoke, acceptance, regression, integration, and security tests-that determine whether what you’ve deployed in a new or existing environment works and ensure that you haven’t broken anything. You’ll also need the ability to roll back the system in the event of a failure. This is critical automation because waiting for someone to perform quality control manually is too long, and waiting for user complaints is not an option.

Continuous integration practices

As developers commit code, there should be an automated build process that compiles and packages code into an individual feature or product branches, combining code from multiple developers or teams and ensuring it works together as often as possible. Suppose you delay integration between multiple code branches to the end of an iteration or project. In that case, you risk creating additional technical debt and reducing the quality as well as the speed of the team.

Automate the process of deploying the results of the build process to the application environment. In the past, operators manually built domains and databases, plugged in clusters, and configured other necessary components for application development. True DevOps should be sophisticated enough to create these environments or at least update the configuration of these environments on the fly. This allows teams to dynamically provision virtual servers or any environment components needed to run the application, which speeds up the process.

Application monitoring system

It’s crucial to implement telemetry in the environment to monitor and check the application’s overall health- to ensure it’s free of errors due to programming flaws or misconfiguration. Even if applications or components can pass the initial unit, acceptance, and integration tests, they may still not perform as expected in the natural environment. This could be anything from a bug that prevents the system from functioning correctly to a race condition between two components overriding each other’s data updates.

These four components are the building blocks of a robust DevOps implementation. But you may be questioning whether automation is right for you.

How can leaders help their teams embrace DevOps? 

They should start with their employees. Employees have been trained in a certain way, and their daily actions become automatic. Leaders can break this cycle with ongoing training. You can engage the team and avoid resistance by helping development and operations teams understand the benefits of working together.

Another factor affecting implementation is skill sets. Some team members don’t have the necessary skills to implement these changes. This may indicate the need for a more radical culture change. While dealing with company culture can be difficult, automation is worth the effort.

Why Should You Automate?

When was the last time you typed an unedited email? It was a long time ago unless you sent a thumbs up. The thing is, people, make mistakes. And when you’re analyzing lines of code of indeterminate length or hundreds of entries in an application configuration file, the likelihood of error increases exponentially.

Automation eliminates human errors and increases the speed of software development. The level of complexity of modern systems is high. People make mistakes, forget process steps, etc. Add to this the time it takes to learn the code of modern systems.

Automation reduces manual labor and the risk of human error. Its value is obvious, but implementation requires support from your organization. How can you measure progress and prove the return on investment in DevOps?

How Can You Measure the Progress of Devops Implementation?

Organizations use many metrics to measure DevOps, such as release rates, bug counts, and project turnaround time. We could devote an entire article to discussing metrics. 

As a business leader, you are interested in results. DevOps must help your organization achieve its goals. Just like reading a map, your goals are the destination, and you measure progress by checking the current state of affairs against the goal. To do this, you can measure DevOps in three steps:

  • Clearly define the goal of implementing DevOps.
  • Decide what metrics will be measured to determine success.
  • Constantly measure metrics and improve your process to move toward the goal.
  • These steps will allow you to stay on target and understand the ROI that DevOps creates for your organization.
  • Continuous measurement will allow you to improve your process, and with that comes more automation.

Why Do Devops Initiatives Fail?

DevOps initiatives fail. This can happen because of cultural reactions, disconnected departments, and losing sight of business objectives. But the prevalence of failure doesn’t mean your implementation is doomed. Learning what ruins the efforts of others can equip your organization for success.

Failure to change company culture. It’s easy to think of DevOps as technology change, but that’s only a small part of the picture. When companies overlook culture change, they lose implementation support. Get support, talk to your employees, and train your team. You’ll be surprised what your team can implement if you get them to participate.

Departments remain isolated. The point of DevOps is to increase transparency and communication. Some organizations believe they can implement DevOps and still stick to traditional development methods. This goes against the principles of DevOps. If you want to succeed, you must fully embrace the openness that DevOps gives your team. Some people forget their goals along the way. The goal of DevOps is to help you achieve business results. Whether it’s improved efficiency and profitability, speed of customer service, or something else, devOps involves technology and processes, but if you focus too much on those, you can lose sight of the big picture. Businesses should continually evaluate how their efforts are helping them achieve overarching goals.

Rely on bad processes. If processes are unstable and people don’t support them, that’s the key to a failed initiative. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t implement it. Start by stabilizing the quality of your processes and then move on to automation.

There are other reasons why DevOps can fail, but these are the most common. Take action and strengthen your company to overcome these obstacles. This will help you automate faster, smarter, and more innovatively than you initially thought.

Putting DevOps automation into practice

We’ve talked a lot about automation in the DevOps space, so is DevOps all about automation? Simply put, no. Automation is an essential means of getting this work done efficiently between teams. If you’re new to DevOps or transitioning from another set of automation solutions, testing new tools on a small project or process is a great place to start. This will lay the groundwork for scaling and standardizing automation across your organization, including how to measure performance and move toward your goals.

Regardless of which set of tools you choose to automate your DevOps workflow, assessing your team’s current workflows and the information you need to get the job done will help guide your tool and platform choices and lay the foundation for success. 

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