This year, many businesses have seen tremendous digital transformations because of the prevailing pandemic. As organizations were forced to adjust their ways to deliver their services to the customers. The pandemic pushed enterprises to realize how important it was to invest in and fully adopt DevOps automation. The IT world saw an evolution in the technology platforms, practices, and methods to fulfill their customer’s needs. The demand for DevOps and automation has increased so much that organizations now depend more on their DevOps practices to cover up the gaps created during this time.
What is DevOps automation?
In simple terms, DevOps automation is the involvement of automation to simplify the processes by taking over all the repetitive operations in the software development life cycle. This also means that DevOps automation has reduced the need for human assistance to perform tasks. It enables teams to provide frequent updates quickly and makes the whole system highly reliable. DevOps automation has helped extend the focus beyond product delivery. Now, DevOps and automation are not just about delivering new features and updates but more about providing value to the customer.
In the year 2021, the organizations are following DevOps automation diligently to match how quickly the app development is improving and to stay consistently competent. DevOps and automation go hand-in-hand in agile development. But automation is not as easy to achieve as it may sound. The decision involves choosing the right automation testing platforms and answering the questions like what to automate, how to automate, and how much to automate, considering the available infrastructure. Automation in the DevOps context boosts the development and deployment of the software while maintaining and improving the quality. It replaces manual intervention and amplifies team performance by enabling them to perform only the important tasks instead of repetitive ones.
Why should you automate DevOps?
From a software development perspective, DevOps automation enhances the performance of the engineering teams with the help of top-notch DevOps tools. It encourages cross teams to work together by removing organizational silos. The reduced team inter-dependencies and manual processes for infrastructure management have enabled the software team to focus on frequent releases, receiving quick feedback, and improving user experience. From an organizational point of view, DevOps automation reduces the chances of human errors and saves the time used for error detection with the help of auto-healing features. Additionally, it minimizes the time required for deploying new features significantly and removes any inconsistencies caused due to human errors.
What should you automate?
Enterprises should first focus on the areas where they face the most challenges. The decision on what to automate depends on their organizational needs and technological feasibility. The DevOps automation teams should be able to analyze which areas of the DevOps lifecycle needs automation. The processes that they can consider automating can be:
Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery pipeline including the code commits, software builds, application deployment in concerned production environments.
- Infrastructure management involving initial setup, configurations, and maintenance with minimum or no human intervention
- Automation Testing in DevOps is another crucial component that can be achieved using a suitable automation testing tool like Selenium which can automate any type of DevOps tests like Unit, UI, Smoke, integration, acceptance testing, etc.
- DevOps automation also automates the monitoring of the changes in the processes. Overall, the DevOps team can keep track of Infrastructure availability, performance and security issues, etc., by creating monitoring rules to activate alerts.
- Every application generates a myriad of logs that contain critical information that can be utilized to identify issues. Through DevOps and automation, the log analysis performed can quickly point out the issue-causing factors with the help of log management tools.
How to automate DevOps processes?
To answer this question, what comes to mind instantly are the most suitable and efficient tools to solve the automation problem. The engineering team should always make a logical decision on the selection of the right tool. It should consider the following factor before selecting a tool:
– Rollout cost involved,
-Maintenance effort involved,
-Tool reliability and support system,
-Tool’s ability to adapt to the current system, and additional benefits it provides.
The tools should be flexible enough not to only solve the prevailing problems but also handle any upcoming challenges. There are DevOps tools like Jenkins, GoCD, etc., that build code and deploy the software. Every organization should acquire CI/CD tools that automatically perform quality checks and feature flagging and create a deployment pipeline.
Why is DevOps Automation important in 2021?
In modern times, DevOps and automation have become inseparable. Automation not only replaces manual interventions but also facilitates efficient DevOps lifecycle workflow. DevOps, powered by good automation, leads to high-class software and makes quick releases possible without affecting the end-user and organization. Let us understand why DevOps is the most needed strength in present times, below:
Rise of Hybrid teams
The prevailing mix of Remote and in-office teams has created a need for online training and upskilling. Now, when the products and services are sold online on e-commerce websites, apps, and other SaaS platforms, the role of product and engineering teams is often shared. This has nurtured the cross-functional and hybrid team culture within the organization. It brings together different teams to become the base for delivering value to the customer.
Focus on Cloud-native Security
The Chief Information Security officer now focuses more on adopting DevSecOps (Development, Security, Operations) methodologies and embracing serverless, cloud-native technologies. Since businesses are moving on the cloud, it is absolutely necessary to embed security in DevOps automation practices. This is a cultural shift that will help deliver new features quickly and frequently. The security teams have to introduce new tools and processes to ensure safe and fast deployments.
Application Security is no more a second option
DevOps is adopted by many organizations today. The application teams choose to take responsibility for application security along with the shifts in budgets. It encourages the teams to adopt DevSecOps entirely and make the best use of DevOps and automation. This results in the continuous optimization of the processes.
With the help of DevOps automation, the teams can quantify the value achieved by adopting the DevOps Strategies. Based on these financial-based metrics, the finance team can calculate the return on investment and take the right decisions. Evaluation usually involves working around optimizing the teams, increasing the sales, or reducing the expenses. If the teams know about the issues sooner, they can reduce the chances of potential risks. DevOps automation can help create alerts in the application whenever the algorithm identifies an error triggered by factors like revenue, prices, etc. This can avoid any loss of customer or loss of sale by alerting about the issue.
DevOps Automation also closes the gaps between different teams for better financial monitoring by encouraging collaboration in app development. It creates a communicative environment that helps to avoid the cost-involving mistakes in the initial stages of app development.
The rise in Artificial Intelligence Operations (AIOps)
It is tough to make sense out of so much data available today without the help of monitoring, observation, and analytical tools. This information overload can be daunting for any DevOps engineer. Artificial Intelligence Operations come in as a savior for them, enabling them to decide what is normal and what is not while focusing on deployment. Modern Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning helps organizations find the deviations easily and since AI/ML is backed by powerful DevOps support, it can ease the pain of decision-makers in a complex decision-making situation. With the growth of Kubernetes, even the technical barriers are removed in such a way that anyone from the development or operations team can deploy to Kubernetes and run DevOps workloads easily.
The changed role of the Developers
The pandemic has changed the way businesses look at technology. With the rapid advancement in the software world, business priorities have changed and the demand for software skills has increased. Now the developers are involved in the business teams, rather than just the technology. The sudden wave of technological experiences they have gone through has offered them a much important seat at the table. The technology officers of the organization depend on their DevOps team to contribute to data strategy making and providing technical direction and guidance based on their experiences.
Businesses that embrace DevOps automation and adopt DevOps best practices and tools can handle any business complexity and fulfill customer needs effectively. By adopting DevOps automation, organizations become productive and innovative in creating new products faster, offering value to the customer. The year 2021 has witnessed many organizations shifting towards DevOps and automation. By welcoming DevOps automation, enterprises invest more in software-driven innovation approaches; adopt micro services-oriented architecture and new software development methodologies. DevOps automation has increased business efficiency by supporting a collaborative environment. It has improved the pace and stability of software development, delivery, and deployment. It has encouraged team collaborations, improved customer experience, and optimized the whole business. Organizations have seen cultural, people, and process shifts this year, and DevOps has proved to be a game-changer in handling this dynamic shift.