Applying DevOps Tools and Practices

In this piece, we are going to share a few suggestions on applying DevOps tools and practices we use internally for our clients projects in your own company. 

The use of modern technologies and methodologies has been part of our company’s culture since its founding and one of such examples is how we use DevOps tools and practices like continuous code integration and delivery to help us facilitate our team’s work and enhance results. 

Follow this link to see a case study of how we helped transform a client’s project and met their goal mainly by using DevOps principle as a solution. 


What is DevOps and how does it work?


The following is a perfectly illustrated image and quote from Amazon Web Services on exactly what DevOps is:  

DevOps Pipeline

Image credit: AWS

DevOps is the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity: evolving and improving products at a faster pace than organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes. This speed enables organizations to better serve their customers and compete more effectively in the market.

The idea behind the practice of DevOps, and applying DevOps tools and practices, is to increase a company’s ability to deliver applications and services quickly and efficiently and the way to do that is through setting up several software development tools and infrastructures that help engineers and product custodians to continually deliver improvement to a product. 

For instance, in our company, Gitlab is used as a code repository and as the base ecosystem for almost all of our entire development process; it contains our continuous integration and delivery tools. 


How DevOps differs from traditional IT operations


Traditionally, development and operations teams were isolated from each other but the approach often limits their ability to collaborate and scale. 

Nowadays setting your team up with the DevOps approach means getting more done quickly. Teams that consist of both development and operations in a single unit spend more time improving things and releasing applications more than twice as fast as Traditional IT teams. 

For us at Alabama Solutions, we use the DevOps practice of continuous integration, which means that some predefined task is executed on our code infrastructure (Gitlab) every time one of our developers uploads code to their branch. 

Then when they decide to merge with the main working branch and send a merge request, verification is done to confirm that the origin branch successfully passed its CI pipeline test before the request is approved. 

The moment the code is merged the code quality indicators are verified before it is deployed in our test environments (Openshift) and all of these steps must be successful before the software or feature is finally deployed. 

If your wish is to automate manual and repetitive tasks to help your team manage complexity and scale easily, and your workflow requires you to do the following listed points, then you should consider setting up your team to use DevOps approaches:

  • Testing and smoothly deploying to the production environment
  • Constantly deliver product updates
  • Monitor software performance

In-house, we also use another DevOps practice of monitoring and logging and setting up of automated early alerts and recording of the main changes in our systems. 


Benefits of using DevOps


Typically, what constitutes transformation is different from company to company. The thing in your company that needs to be transformed to make it noticeably better for your customers depends on the type of business that it is and how it operates. 

Regardless, kickstarting a digital transformation effort in your company is not so hard. It just means adopting a culture that provides constant and iterative value enhancement for the products or services your company offers.  

In most cases, initiating digital transformation in your company typically begins with having a hypothesis about your product’s value to those customers. Then identifying their arising needs, and constantly exceeding them with newer solutions. 


Digital transformation examples


There are several benefits to applying DevOps tools and practices which includes: 

  1. Speed: DevOps practices let you go from zero to testing a new product features quickly and that can sometimes help to improve your product faster and build competitive advantage.
  2. Reliability: Since DevOps ensures the quality of code updates in form of the various tests before  changes to currently functional code is merged, you can reliably guarantee a positive end user experience. 
  3. Improves collaboration: The idea behind the DevOps model is for developers and operations teams to collaborate closely for efficiency as a single unit. 
  4. Security: Using DevOps practices like monitoring and logging of your application’s performance often helps improve security as it does with reliability. 

In our case, the use of DevOps approaches has yielded these benefits and more. The integration of the different tools has made carrying out the cycle of developing, testing, validating and deploying simple. 

It allows us to have very short delivery time for new functionalities and quickly meet project deadlines. Our team members do not waste time on routine and repetitive tasks that are susceptible to several human errors.

Using DevOps practices and tools in the software development process brings multiple benefits which is the reason why many companies  in recent years have adopted it. 

In general, it is based on setting up a multifunctional team that is responsible for the entire software development, implementation and support process and we think your company should adopt it too.