How can it be managed?
As the DevOps approach has proven its efficiency for businesses of different types and sizes, it is clear why the demand for DevOps services is growing. More and more companies choose this methodology for organizing their operation specialists and developers. But, what can you do if you already have your business, but the inner processes do not correspond to what the DevOps model presupposes? Are there any chances to upgrade your business model without ruining it? Then, DevOps transformation is exactly what you need.
This article explains how you can start implementing DevOps practices and tools in your business processes, what benefits you can get for your company, and how it will be feasible to organize this shift to a new model.
DevOps transformation: What is it, and do you need it?
Before diving deep into the details of a digital transformation journey, let’s focus on the basic understanding of what it is and what this process will include.
As you may have already known, the DevOps culture itself provides a new look at how different company teams collaborate to achieve key business goals. Today, software solutions are an integral part of all business processes. The efficiency of these products and their capacity to address the ongoing business needs are the main parameters that can ensure a company’s success.
Consequently, it is crucial to make sure that software engineers see how their solution is used, what its main tasks are, and how it will help to enhance the business processes. At the same time, those specialists who use this software need to understand the work of developers to provide precise requirements and facilitate software development and modernization tasks. If you want to learn more about this approach, we recommend reading our article, where we explained DevOps benefits in more detail.
Now we can formulate the definition of the DevOps transformation
It is moving from a non-DevOps method of software delivery to the DevOps approach. The final goal of DevOps implementation is to optimize the flow of the idea value that proceeds from the development department to operation specialists who often act as end-users of the provided solutions in the business world. What is essential to understand here is that DevOps should encourage collaboration between departments and change inner corporate culture.
In other words, this methodology helps us reduce the gap between end-users and developers to increase the actual value of the delivered software.
What are the leading DevOps practices?
So, are you ready to initiate your DevOps transformation journey? What to start with? With changing your approaches to software development and deployment! And the following tips will help you to achieve success:
- Bridge communication gaps
Communication is at the heart of DevOps. First of all, you need to ensure that developers and operation specialists have a reliable communication channel and convenient collaboration tools.
- Use automation tools and technologies
You should maximize the application of devices of this type as automation is one of the main aspects that should be ensured. These tools will help to reduce the risk of human errors related to delays in all the procedures and significantly streamline time-to-market.
- Go serverless
With serverless architecture, developers and operation specialists can focus more on creating and implementing solutions and not on infrastructure management issues, as serverless providers will fully handle them.
- Do not try to save your money on the toolset
For ensuring improved performance and productivity of your software, it is essential to use reliable tools that correspond to key DevOps principles.
- Monitor the production environment beforehand
To release your solutions in time, you should ensure that the domain is fully ready for that. Otherwise, it can become a severe obstacle for your DevOps transformation.
- Continuously measure the performance
One of the objectives of DevOps is to ensure faster deployment, but it is impossible to achieve it without continuous tracking of the performance. Therefore, it is crucial to monitor four key metrics: Failure rate, Mean time to repair, Lead time, and Deployment frequency.
- Continuously get feedback
Your software should become user-centric (in this case, it does not matter who your target audience and end-users). It is highly recommended to organize the feedback mechanism in such a way that will allow all stakeholders to timely get access to the gathered information.
- Focus on time-to-market
To stay competitive in the market, it is necessary to make high-quality and fast releases. Moreover, as technologies quickly evolve, the DevOps methodology also includes frequent feature introductions.
How long does a DevOps transformation take?
Well, it depends. It is impossible to name the exact timeframe that you will need to conduct full DevOps implementation. Usually, experts say you should plan that you will need around 12-24 months for this process if you have an excellent DevOps implementation plan.
However, it is essential to remember that some factors may become serious barriers for you. We recommend taking them into account beforehand to set realistic deadlines.
Below you can find a list of the most widely-spread challenges that companies can face:
- A considerable gap between development and operation departments or teams (primarily when you use outsourcing services)
- Lack of timely feedback from software end-users
- No understanding of DevOps principles
- Lack of knowledge of the Agile methodology
As for the factors that can streamline the transformation process, they are the adoption of modern development practices (like serverless-based architecture and microservices) and the usage of the most innovative development tools.
DevOps tools: What are they?
But how can you start implementing DevOps best practices into your business processes? Today there is a wide range of tools that will help you do it seamlessly and comparatively quickly.
For your convenience, let’s divide DevOps tools into categories by the stages of the transformation process when they can be of great use:
Slack, Jira, Confluence.
For DevOps practices, it is essential to break all processes and tasks down into smaller tasks that can be easily managed and organized. These tools will help you not only to plan but also to track the tasks and organize collaboration within your teams.
Production-identical environments: Kubernetes, Docker.
Infrastructure as code: Docker, Puppet, Terraform.
Collaborative coding: Gitlab, Github.
These tools and technologies are designed to ensure efficient collaboration visibility of processes and possibilities to introduce changes quickly and easily.
3. Integration and deployment
Continuous integration: Snyk, Jenkins.
Test: Xray, Mabl.
Deployment dashboards: Jira Software.
Automated deployment: AWS CodePipeline, Bitbucket.
As well as other tools on our list, these are intended for offering development teams the possibility to organize all the processes in the most efficient and streamlined way for continuous deployment. In addition, using these technologies, your developers will be able to track the progress of other specialists and timely introduce all the required updates.
App performance monitoring and server monitoring: Opsgenie, Pingdom, Nagios, Datadog.
Tracking of issues and changes: Jira, Statuspage, Opsgenie.
These tools will help you to track how your software is functioning 24/7. They will provide a complete picture of your software solutions’ “health” and state.
Slack, Pendo, GetFeedback.
The tools that can be used at this stage differ depending on the end-users of your products. For example, if your end-users are your customers, you need to implement external tools to listen to their opinion. In this case, we recommend you not forget about such channels of communication as social media. But if the end-users of your products are your employees, then corporate communication tools will be more than enough to get access to their opinion.
As you see, the DevOps culture has a lot of benefits for your business. And even if the transformation process itself looks challenging, it’s still worth trying, especially if you have reliable experts who will guide you through this journey. The transition to this new methodology requires a deep understanding of the DevOps tech stack and its core principles. That’s why the assistance of seasoned experts won’t be excessive.
Over the years, we’ve gained rich expertise in DevOps transformation services, allowing us to support projects of any complexity. We know how to help your business reach the highest efficiency and prosperity.