Time and quality - these are two parameters that every development cycle revolves around. The timely delivery of a software product, with the highest quality, shows that the development cycle is more than successful. The introduction of DevOps made this process as graceful as possible.
As the name suggests, DevOps is a combination of software development and IT operations. It is a set of continuous practices that automates the processes and establishes an agile relationship between development and operations team.
In most cases, DevOps is not just a set of practices. Instead, it's a cultural change that aids in shortening the development cycle and delivering high-quality products. Let's look at how the DevOps lifecycle came into existence.
The Origin of DevOps
Before DevOps, software applications used the waterfall model or the AGILE model. In theory, the waterfall model breaks down a project's activities into several linear sequential phases in which each stage is reliant on the deliverables of the previous step. It means a period in the development cycle can begin after the preceding stage's completion.
In the AGILE software development model, the requirements and solutions evolve throughout the Software Development Life Cycle (SDLC) with collaborative efforts of several self-organising and cross-functional teams.
As expected, these two development models have their flaws - the waterfall model's linearity and the AGILE model's cross-functionality weren't as effective as in its principles to timely deliver high-quality solutions. As a result, the concept of DevOps came into existence and so far, still reigns as a development model which offers continuous delivery of quality applications with a shorter SDLC.
By incorporating DevOps methodology into software development, the development lifecycle witnessed several changes such as:
- Agile operating environment
- Faster delivery
- Improved collaborative efforts
What is DevOps Life Cycle?
The DevOps cycle is a continuous process, aiming for excellence. From development to deployment, a software application gets tested and perfected. Let's look at the seven phases that constitute the DevOps lifecycle.
In the first phase of the lifecycle, the software application is thoroughly discussed to understand the essence and vision of it. Once the concept of the application is clear, the development of the source code starts.
Out of the SCM tools discussed, GIT is suitable for even complex projects with a large number of contributors. Using GIT, several versions of an application gets developed and tested, until a stable version exists. Developers may also package the source code into .exe format using tools such as Maven or Garden.
The source code has frequent changes, either due to the addition of features or changes in functionality. As a result, in the continuous integration phase, the changes made are reflected and updated in the existing code.
To facilitate changes in code and make sure it's bug-free, developers perform code review, unit testing, integration testing, compilation and packaging. The continuous integration of updated code ensures that the end-users would experience the changes as well.
Following the updates in an application's code, the continuous testing phase can be repositioned around the DevOps lifecycle. In this phase, the software application gets continually tested for bugs. This step needs tools like TestNG, JUnit or Selenium.
As testing is automated, developers save a considerable amount of time and effort. Using the report generated from automated testing, analysis of failed test-cases is more straightforward than that of manual testing. After automated testing, the code undergoes User Acceptance Testing (UAT), which further leads to Quality Assessors (QAs) for parallel testing. Once the code is bug-free, it gets sent to the continuous integration phase for updating changes in the source code.
The improvements made in the testing and integration phase is analysed in the continuous feedback phase. The developers who analysed the upgrades and the customers who tested the application can input their valuable feedback in this phase. The key points from the feedback collected are gathered and reflected in the app as updates in code.
Continuous monitoring helps in determining and solving recurring errors in an application. In this phase, the developers continuously record data on the use and functionality of an app as a proactive step to resolve the mistakes that may arise.
Continuous monitoring ensures the sustenance of the services offered by an application. Along with that, the security issues concerning an app are automatically detected and resolved.
In this phase, the IT operations team are more involved than the development team. Tools such as Sensu, NewRelic, Splunk and ELK Stack are used in this phase to monitor the performance of a system, its production server and ultimately the application. If the IT operation team detects significant issues with the functionality, the application is re-run through all the previous phases of DevOps lifecycle. This process makes the identification and rectification of errors faster.
Generally, continuous deployment takes place before the phase of constant monitoring. However, this phase is active throughout the DevOps lifecycle, especially if the application is live and is receiving high volumes of traffic.
As the name implies, in this phase, the code of the application is deployed into the production servers. One of the crucial processes of this phase is the configuration management which implements the application's code on all servers. Tools such as Puppet, Ansible and Chef are used for this purpose. These tools ensure the code is released to all servers and schedule updates to take place smoothly.
Along with configuration management tools, containerization tools like Vagrant are also used to ensure the deployment remains a continuous process. To eradicate production failures tools like Docker is used. These tools ensure the application runs smoothly on different types of computers or intended devices by replicating the respective software couplings from development, testing and staging phases.
The final phase of the DevOps life cycle, although crucial, is least complicated and consumes the shortest amount of time. This phase, known as the continuous operation, is mainly aimed at automating the systematic release of an application, followed by its updates. As this phase is crisp and less complicated, developers can reduce the delay in an application's release and significantly cut down its time-to-market.
What Are The Benefits of DevOps Lifecycle?
As DevOps has a continuous set of processes, the quality of an application is heightened, and the timeframe for delivery gets shortened. As this lifecycle promotes complete automation and continuity, the end-product is the best version just as envisioned during the planning phase. Given below is a list of benefits of adopting the DevOps lifecycle:
- Easy and early detection of errors
- Faster development cycles
- Cultural transformation focused on speed and quality
- A better collaboration of different teams
- Quality and timely delivery ensure enhanced customer experience and satisfaction
- Report generation brings more transparency in SDLC
- Automated testing produces valuable insights, which helps in improving code quality
- Workflows are organized with the SCM tools
- Even minute changes in the code are reflected in the product stage
- It is easier to make changes, verify it and integrate it into the source code
- Critical information (username and password) are protected and has limited access
Wrapping It Up
As you can see, DevOps is an astonishing development cycle to follow, especially if your primary intention is to deliver high-quality software applications, and that too, within a short period.
As discussed, the adoption of DevOps is not restricted to the development cycle of an application. It is a cultural change, within an organization, that would ensure better collaboration of teams and ultimately enhance productivity.
If you want to learn about DevOps Life Cycle do enroll for the DevOps Online Training
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