Understand IT: DevOps and Cloud
If you are starting to build a business then you need to understand modern technology. Every business is in the technology business these days and an arms-length approach places you at a disadvantage. On top of this, technology and the way we deliver products and services is evolving rapidly. Cloud is something you may be familiar with already; but now DevOps has slowly crept into discussions and terminology. So what is DevOps all about? And what are its benefits in relation to the Cloud?
We can start off by saying that DevOps is not a tool or product. Its more of a collaborative and Agile culture of development and operational teams working closer together to deliver software faster, safer and efficiently. Traditional technology teams used to be very segregated. Operations teams (who performed support functions for live services) sat on one side and developers (who changed software for business benefit) on the other. The result was an unhealthy tension between the two teams with limited engagement and collaboration. Software was developed with low care for how it would run and be operated in a production environment. This led to higher failures when releasing software, increased service disruptions and generally low code quality.
The good news is that problematic relationship has been solved with a DevOps approach. Teams are no longer silo’d but now united in the software delivery process. Furthermore, the aggressive use of automation tooling and the streamlining of processes means products and services get into live quicker, safer and cheaper. Some of the key advantages are listed below:
- Automation – Relentlessly automating everything to provide a consistent experience, efficient delivery of services and cost efficiency.
- Culture – The removal of traditional barriers within technology teams. Everyone is involved in projects with a mandate for continual process and product improvement.
- Customers – Product and service development is performed with greater and continual interaction (and feedback) with customers.
- Measures – Measures and metrics in software and hardware to ensure performance and health can be monitored and drive data begins usage and improvements.
- Feedback – Teams sharing ideas about new services and improvements creating a vital crosse-team feedback loop within product delivery.
There is a lot more to DevOps than the few hundred words within this article can portray. We are often asked where people can read more online to go deeper. Puppet (who make tools used within typical DevOps teams) produce some excellent insight and learnings in an easily digestible format. Find out more for free at https://puppet.com/resources.
The Cloud has been with us for some time and is now a very mature and feature-rich platform to build products and services on. At its most basic, the Cloud capitalises on virtual server technology to bring the benefits of scaleable resources, increased resiliency and cost efficiency. You can read more about the cloud and its benefits within a great article from Sales Force.
DevOps teams use cloud technology as their platform of choice. Aside from the intrinsic benefits of cloud technology, DevOps teams create code which makes deploying infrastructure automated and hands-off. This is done utilising Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS) and creating code to perform the work (Software Defined Infrastructure). No more manual processes and error-prone building of environments to run software. Now, quite literally, a few clicks are required to create a server, update the operating system, install a service and make live on the internet. What took hours (or even days when the implementation was complex) now takes minutes and can be repeated (with predictable results) time and time again.
What does this all mean?
When you are building your business, DevOps and Cloud may not mean a whole lot to you. After all, you just want your web service or product to be available on-line so customers can make a purchase. However, now you are armed with the above knowledge you can ask questions to ensure that your technology partner is building your services using efficient ways of working and scalable technology.