At the turn of the century, the world of software development was introduced to a revolutionary new concept—AGILE! No longer were organizations stuck using the time-consuming and inflexible waterfall model to develop quality software. Software’s brightest minds began to champion this radical new method of product development for all its many benefits. It was a way to work fast, embrace changing requirements, produce deliverables frequently, and encourage close collaboration, all while focusing on technical excellence, good design, and customer satisfaction. With such glorious qualities, agile was all we needed, right?
Agile is certainly essential. For good reason, it is embraced by top software companies as the best way to build modern, innovative software products in today’s fast-paced, digital age. Development organizations are able to churn out excellent software at a rapid rate in the hopes of keeping their business at the forefront of their market.
However, even with all this, there is something agile lacks in the software production lifecycle. When a development organization is finished with their agile process, the software is still not done. It’s not immediately ready for final release, but instead heads over to the operations department to be prepared. Even though agile does so much to speed up software development, the benefits of that speed often are never fully realized since the software gets stuck in deployment limbo while operations makes it production-ready.
It would be easy to blame the operations department for this delay, yet the holdup is not usually either side’s fault. It’s really just an inherent part of the challenge of creating product software, as it is built in one environment and then deployed in another. A lot of time must be spent to ensure that all the code written in the development environment fully translates over into the production environment. Moving thousands of files at once, given all the intricacies and complexities of modern product code, requires great attention and multiple eyes to get everything in working order, so it’s no wonder this is a time-consuming process.
Unfortunately, with delay comes frustration. It’s often easy for one department to point the finger at the other, leading to mistrust between the two groups. Developers pour their hearts and souls into creating awesome software that runs flawlessly on their machines, but once it heads over to operations, they are no longer responsible for it. The operations guys are tasked with getting the software into production and making sure it runs properly. They assume the code they’re receiving works, but they often find out it breaks in production. Their systems get frazzled, and it can take them forever to recover. Operations puts up barriers, feeling they can’t trust the developers’ software. More hurdles are put in place, and it can take many long months back and forth between development and operations to actually release the software.
This presents a challenge to businesses – How do I streamline this process so we can get software out the door as fast as we can build it? It does no good to build software quickly using agile to have it sit for months as it’s prepared for release.
These frustrations around development and delivery have created a revolutionary movement combining not only infrastructure automation, configuration and deployment, but also combining people from Dev and Ops, known together as DevOps. The essence of these DevOps efforts mirrors those of agile development, as it seeks to produce results quickly and increase communication across all teams involved. What agile is for development, DevOps is for deployment.
Eureka! We’ve finally found the missing piece for creating an all-around speedy cycle of software production. Embracing DevOps means increasing the cooperation between Dev and Ops, incenting both sides to get software out the door more quickly.
The operations team has to get involved with the development team from the start, giving their advice up front. This allows the developers to broaden their focus and really see and understand the ecosystem in which their software needs to fit while they’re building it.
Automation tools help in creating development environments that more closely mimic production environments, giving the developers the right place to test things from the start.
Processes of continuous build integration and automated migration help to automatically compile code and move it into production so nothing gets lost and the quality of what’s created stays high.
All of these tools and collaborations allow software products to move much more quickly into final production. With this new swiftness and collaboration between development and operations, DevOps is finally fulfilling the speedy software promise that agile development boasts. Delivering new software is completely streamlined, as cleaning up this transition relieves many headaches and frees up time for your top talent to get back to what you do best – delivering outstanding products and services to your market.
Look out for our next blog coming soon in this series on DevOps!
OFS, as a forward-thinking software engineering firm, decided to invest in DevOps several years ago, seeing it as a way to help our customers bring speed to the production side of their software, just as our agile methods do for the development side, enabling shorter time-to-market. Along with our expertise from two decades in software product engineering, we help our clients automate the provisioning, configuration, build, test, deployment and monitoring of software systems using the best DevOps tools available.