Software development and IT operations, collectively known as DevOps, play a vital role in the development of modern applications. DevOps is built on a set of continuous delivery principles to create a repeatable, reliable software release process.
The concept of DevOps has been around for almost ten years. However, it is only in recent years that it has gained wide popularity. There are still many companies that have not embraced it, mainly because change is difficult and can be risky, but the benefits generally turn out to be worth it. I’ve talked to companies that have seen software implementation times cut by a factor of 10, while change turnaround times are several orders of magnitude faster. Appdev groups that don’t embrace DevOps hold their businesses back and will eventually fall behind their peers.
Best practices can reduce the evolution of DevOps
There are DevOps best practices that organizations can follow to ensure they release software with quality and speed, which can reduce the risk of adoption. Deepty Chauhan, site general manager of Keysight’s Atlanta Software Design Center, shared some of those best practices and the company’s own experience with DevOps in a recent webinar, which was part of a larger webinar, “Optimizing DevOps with Keysight’s Continuous Testing Bootcamp.” .
Almost everything about software development is changing due to the need to innovate quickly, reduce risk and deliver a perfect customer experience. DevOps is an opportunity for organizations to consistently deliver value to customers, Chauhan said. The key to successful DevOps is getting ideas into production quickly, getting regular feedback from customers, and then repeating the process.
CI/CD is critical to DevOps success
DevOps requires continuous integration and delivery/deployment (CI/CD), typically with ongoing automation and continuous monitoring throughout the software lifecycle. CI is the automation process for developers while CD refers to changes developers make at further stages of the pipeline. Continuous testing (CT) is also an important part of DevOps to ensure that bugs and issues can be fixed quickly.
According to Chauhan, developers should run tests every time a build is run, including unit tests and integration tests. Organizations that still have manual processes struggle with fast software delivery and can’t keep up with the pace of modern app development. Today, software needs to scale to hundreds of customers, not just one customer at a time.
Chauhan gave an example of how Keysight implemented DevOps in its software products to address integration, testing, and elasticity building issues. One of the products had 15 million lines of code and nearly 400 components. Through DevOps, Keysight was able to automate 85 percent of the tests. It reduced build time and cycle time by 30 and 40 percent, respectively. In addition, more than 160 components were migrated to CI/CD pipelines.
DevOps and agile methods lead to success
The perfect recipe is to combine DevOps with agile methods, Chauhan said. Agile is a comprehensive approach to different phases of the DevOps lifecycle, including planning, development, delivery, and operations. DevOps evolved from agile and other disciplines such as waterfall, a traditional approach to developing software in phases. When DevOps is implemented effectively, it results in faster, more reliable software releases.
“DevOps is a journey, not a destination,” concluded Chauhan. “The main focus should be the customers. While the leadership must be committed to making this possible, it is a shared responsibility. Every developer and every team needs to feel that they have a part in the DevOps transformation.”