One of the trending topics today in Agile Web Development & Operations is DevOps. Endorsed by movements such as the DevOps Days and DevOps Meetups, DevOps has really picked momentum during the last two years.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is the culture / discipline that diminishes the gap between Developers (Dev) and Business Operations (Ops) by employing a layer of collaboration to simplify the app or service development life cycle. Hence the portmanteau “DevOps”.
No longer is it a relay race, with handoffs, but a competitive sprint with both teams expected to hold their own with open communication. – Dice.com
Developers and the DevOps Culture
There tends to be intermittent friction between the two aspects of business, since they’re cut out for different roles altogether; developers strive for continuous innovation and product enrichment through experimentation and customer feedback, whereas the Ops department oversees up time, costing, delivery and business continuity.
1) DevOps is meant to unify the aggregated goal of both players i.e. to deliver the entire project on time while keeping infamous excuses like “it works fine on localhost” and “everything was fine before that change” at bay. Unlike traditional approaches where developers might get away with just handing over the code, the ‘DevOps synergy’ empowers developers to deliver a turnkey solution through coded operations and automation by utilizing tools such as Puppet and the esolang Chef.
2) Since all the elements are programmable on the Cloud, DevOps is able to provide full control and access to developers for writing programs on a platform they own and can manage adeptly. Once the dev team and Ops are on the same page, this results in improved distributed and scalable systems.
3) DevOps and developers go hand in hand when developing enterprise services on the Cloud. On a traditional model these services (be it PaaS or SaaS) offer great productivity and features; however they’re unable to retain core control in the absence of devops, which is crucial for customization. Here’s a comprehensive post by Adrian Cockcroft who talks about DevOps and how it fits in with current dev practices at Netflix: http://perfcap.blogspot.co.il/2012/03/ops-devops-and-noops-at-netflix.html
4) The quintessential characteristics of a SaaS environment are redundancy, scalability, automation, incremental changes, security and performance. This is why many vendors are now considering to embed DevOps from the initial phases of development. Cost is another major factor in service oriented models hence developers have to be smart with resource management in order to maintain topnotch performance e.g. for provisioning new virtual machines (VMs). The other recent development we’ve seen is the growing number of industry stakeholders mentioning DevOps with reference to SaaS best practices.
5) It is also important to highlight that in order to get the most of, and be successful in the DevOps arena, being a good developer will not suffice. Apart from code, developers need to be knowledgeable in Ops, security and architecture.
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