DevOps Journey at Loves Cloud

The word DevOps is made of two words – Dev for Development and Ops for Operations. DevOps is the practice of developing and deploying software where the Developer and the Operations Staff do not work as separate departments but as a single entity. A company has to continuously cater to the ever-changing needs of customers by coming up with new products and services. DevOps significantly reduces the time to implement new features, updates, bug-fixes thereby increasing the productivity of a company.

DevOps Phases:

DevOps is indeed a journey. There are many stages and only after crossing those stages can a company claim that it has developed a DevOps culture among its employees. These DevOps phases are listed below:

Continuous Development – To remain relevant in the market, new features and updates of a company-software have to be rolled out quickly. Hence, improving the software as a whole is not practical anymore. The software is updated after breaking it into small chunks. Continuous development is achieved through the use of continuous integration, continuous testing, and then deployment and delivery. Agile system is the keyword in continuous development. In order for a company to implement DevOps successfully and effectively, it needs the help of cloud. So, an agile delivery system that is transitioned to a full DevOps culture and the power of cloud can speed up the productivity of a company phenomenally. The work of a company has to pass through the below mentioned phases after which it can proudly say that it has DevOps culture in place:

Continuous Integration – After a developer writes code to update a particular aspect of the software, he integrates the code into a central database. Earlier, developers working on a software were needed to submit their code to the main branch after they complete the whole process. This made updating a software a cumbersome process and allowed many bugs to remain hidden until the final testing. With continuous integration, developers frequently integrate their code in a central repository like Git. These codes are then built and tested in an automated way to ensure their quality is satisfactory and that they will not allow the software malfunction. A practice of continuously integrating the software changes in a shared repository multiple times a day can save a lot of time for a company. The problem of bugs creeping into the codes can also largely be minimised with continuous integration.

There should be a proper connection between Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment. This connection is called Pipeline and it is imperative that this pipeline is duly followed. The pipeline looks like this:

  • New code entry in shared repository
  • Triggering of build and test chain. (Build and test are automated processes)
  • Notification of the result of the build.
  • Test begins
  • Notification of test results.
  • If the test is successful and if the code proves to be satisfactory, it is then released to production via either continuous delivery or continuous deployment

Continuous Testing – Earlier, after a team of developers built software, another QA team would test it. This was a time-consuming process. In the DevOps journey, after code is integrated, it is automatically built and tested to see if there’s any bug. If the test fails, the build does not go further and the developer corrects the code to push it again into the repo.

Continuous Deployment – In an organization where DevOps culture is followed religiously, there is no need for a test-passed code to be checked for deployment to production. Hence, in these companies, deployment is also done in an automated way.  You just need to figure out if company needs a gatekeeper before deployment or it can allow continuous deployment

Continuous Delivery– Sometimes whether a code should be passed on to the production department is decided by the Operations staff. In this case after the code is tested and checked for bugs, it waits for that ‘push of a button’ to be delivered.

Continuous Monitoring – Since development and deployment has become automatic, monitoring the software to judge its integrity and security must be automatic too. In DevOps journey, software is monitored in a smooth automatic way using tools like elastic search, kibana etc. As we already mentioned that AWS is slowly becoming a viable DevOps service provider, you can use Amazon CloudWatch to monitor your infrastructure and applications, use your resources in optimal way. With tools like Botmetric, App Dynamics, Dynatrace – you can monitor your cloud spending and manage app-performance which ultimately goes a long way to support DevOps.

Continuous Feedback – Feedback from customers is an important and oft-overlooked aspect of DevOps. Feedbacks can help developers identify any shortcomings of the concerned software.

Continuous Optimization – With feedback from the real-world customers, developers can optimize their code to improve the software. Thus we are back to square one. Optimizing a software means to update the software to meet the needs of the customers. The updated piece of code moves through the same phases as described above.

Scope of Work for DevOps

  • Migrating to Cloud From On-Premises: This is the age of cloud. Migrating your data from your on-premise infrastructure will ultimately reduce operations cost significantly. Cloud services are also more secure than your infrastructure security policy. All big players offering DevOps services are serious about cloud offerings. AWS, Azure and even GCP allow more flexibility if your data is shifted to their respective cloud storages.
  • Cloud to Cloud Migration: IT businesses keep changing continuously. You might find a cloud service that was once viable to be too expensive now, or maybe a competing cloud is providing better security for your data. This is where Cloud To Cloud migration can come in handy.
  • Legacy to Container Migration: Containerized applications are more in line with DevOps culture. Containerized applications are supported by a wide range of platforms including Azure and AWS, CI/CD, rolling back updates etc are done easily when the applications are containerized.
  • Serverless Computing: Since cloud computing is proving to be cost effective, companies are looking for more options where they do not have to manage any servers and their teams can focus on the development of new features, Serverless gives them just that.

Tools to Streamline your DevOps Journey

Following tools are suggested for smooth functioning of the DevOps pipeline:

  • GitLab For Continuous Integration – Like Github, GitLab is a code repository. It provides Continuous Integration service. It is used to store, build, test, and deploy the codes. If you hate too much plugins and need a one stop shop for all our pipeline needs, GitLab CI is for you.
  • Jenkins – If you are GUI lover, you must train your team to use Jenkins for continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment. Since Jenkins has numerous plugins, it can be customized in a great way. Most importantly, Jenkins does not have a steep learning curve. It is an open source tool which is why it remains constantly updated and is rich in features.
  • Azure DevOps Services – Just like Jenkins, Microsoft’s Azure provides great CI/CD support. Azure Pipelines is used to continuously build, test, and deploy to any platform and cloud. With Azure Pipelines, Microsoft has begun to offer unlimited CI/CD minutes in addition to adding a new app to the GitHub Marketplace and refreshing a number of experiences to help you get started.
  • AWS CodePipeline -Amazon’s AWS CodePipeline is giving Jenkins, GitLab CI, and Azure a tough fight. Setting Integration within CodePipeline can be done quickly. You can combine AWS CodePipeline to use Jenkins in it’s workflow if required. AWS CodePipeline can integrate with  majority of SCM provider, such as: Github, Bitbucket, AWS CodeCommit.

What We Do on DevOps?

We at Loves Cloud offer consulting services and solutions with regards to DevOps. We have helped many companies take the leap from legacy work culture to the whole new DevOps culture. What’s more, we are proponents of open source software and show how these software can be used to make the DevOps journey smooth for you.

  • We offer consultation on how to implement a deployment pipeline. After a developer completes his code, it has to be stored in a remote repository. Since we advocate open source software, we can help get started with  use of Jenkins to build and test software. Jenkins is a great tool to maintain the CI/CD Jenkins is particularly useful as the pipeline can restart from saved checkpoints.
  • Jenkins is the most popular (and great as well) tool for automation and continuous integration. You can take this further by converting your Jenkins Pipeline as Code with Jenkinsfile and groovy script. With a groovy script, you can automate Jenkins and schedule the test timing, and fix the test procedure in Jenkins.
  • Leveraging its cloud offering, Microsoft offers Infrastructure as a Service (IaC) and Platform as a service (PaaS) Companies can build their IT platform leveraging the cloud offerings of Microsoft.
  • Your operations team do not need to fret over going into uncharted territory as we help integrate your CI tools with the tools your development and deployment teams use.
  • use Terraform, Cloud Formation, Puppet, Chef, etc to treat your physical servers, databases and other infrastructure as software. This allows companies to set up servers without much head scratching.
  • Since infrastructure is seen as a code, it needs to be versioned when there is any change in them, and we can use tools like Ansible and Chef to achieve this version controlling.
  • Since continuous integration, testing, and deployment is the buzzword of DevOps, it is essential to containerize your applications, minimizing downtime of your app. We help companies familiarise with Docker to achieve this task. As we also have expertise in cloud, we can show you how dockerized applications can be best managed when they are connected via the cloud.
  • We help companies reduce cost by combining cloud service with DevOps. At the same time, we balance your IT assets to cut operations cost. This is called Right Sizing. You can automate building and testing of your codes with GitLab CI, Azure tools and CodePipeline. Since cloud is the future as opposed to on premises infra of today we advocate usage of GCP, AWS and Microsoft’s cloud services.
  • We have expertise in containerizing existing monolithic applications. Again, it really helps if you can dockerize your applications to run as containers while in the deployment stage. LovesCloud advocates this dockerization to solve compatibility problems and resolve the confusions of system admins.
  • We can train your employees and instil in them the DevOps culture. With our expertise in automation, cloud services, CI, we can make your employees future-proof.
  • DevOps is a culture and we can instil in your employees DevOps best practices. From CI/CD to Microservices, from Infrastructure as Code to automate monitoring and testing- we can help you in every phase of your company’s DevOps journey. Communication and Collaboration are the keywords of DevOps and Loves Cloud can bring this awesome culture to your company.
  • Loves Cloud can guide you on how to use central repositories like GitHub with proper integration and use tools like docker and Jenkins to automate the process. Since the codes are stored in a central repository, both the developer team and the operations team can see the results of testing and can give suggestions to improve the code.

How Our Clients Can Benefit Through DevOps?

  • Operations team crave stability. We help consistent automated deployments of software. Since automated tests are done too in the CI/CD pipeline, there is very little chance of bugs creeping up in the production.
  • With DevOps in place, developers can write small chunks of code and deploy it frequently with the help of automation, they can add more features to an existing application without consuming much time.
  • Since DevOps bridges the gap between developers and operations staff, there is very little chance of misunderstanding between them.
  • Because DevOps increases the communication between developers and operations staff, bugs do not creep up much after a developer completes a code. This allows the developers to concentrate on adding new features to the software
  • As productivity increases with DevOps, so does the quality of the application and the service that it offers. This converts into happy customers.

Despite being in its infancy, DevOps has a promising future. After further tuning, DevOps would become the most followed software development process. But you don’t have to wait for the future to come. Loves Cloud is here – the future looks interesting from our side.