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What is DevOps, Why a Startup Needs It?

In Today’s world technology is changing is so fast, the technology companies want to deliver their product as soon as possible in the market to make a big amount of profit and solve the problem of many people. Every technology product organization needs a very good development team to build its product and a very good operation team to deploy, manage the product, and the end-user.
Before understanding the DevOps, it is very important to understand what the Dev or Software development is and What is Ops (Operation).

What is Software development:

In technical terms, the software is the set of instructions written in some programming language to solve end-user’s problems. Using these instructions, we can create a solution and products which will impact many people life.

The cycle is used to build software called the software development life cycle (SDLC). There are many phases of the software development life cycle (SDLC).

  1. Planning
  2. Requirements Gathering
  3. Design
  4. Development
  5. Testing
  6. Deployment
  7. Operation & Maintenance

So similarly, in software development, the first step is planning when the planning is accurate and clear then we can find the solution accurately.

Once we have completed the planning then the requirement thing comes into the picture. Requirement gathering is the process to exchange information between customers and Stakeholders. In software development, Stakeholders gather requirements and provide it to developers and developers convert that requirement to computer understandable language and develop the software of the product.

Design and Development are the heart of software development and in this phase, the developer gives a shape to the product like how it will look and all. After development it is very important to test the product otherwise the faulty product will be delivered to the end-user and it will impact many people's lives so it is very essential to choose a software development life cycle for your project whether to adopt SDLC or Agile Development Lifecycle.

After all of the above steps, the deployment is the final step so once the customer or end-user is happy with the test version of the product then the customer will provide the approval to move the code to the production environment and the development team move the test environment code to the Production environment.

In the final step, when everything is going great, and the product is life in the production environment now the operation team comes into the picture and this team helps the customer to provide support related to the product and update the new release of the product on time.

What is Operation (Ops):

In any large software company once the software develops and deployed to the customer environment then the operation team takes handover and manages the software issues and provides a resolution of it to the customers.

Operation is a team of people who work on standard operating procedures in a large organization. It manages Application, Technical Management, and service management

What is Operation Teams do?

The Information Technology Operation teamwork on ITSM (IT Service Management), ITIL (IT Infrastructure Library), and agile Model. IT Operation perform below duties.

Roll the Solutions: Once the software solution being developed, it run by IT operations. This team applies to fix on productions, perform database backups, restoring the systems, Database monitoring, and many more things.

Infrastructure Management: If any application running slow and need to upgrade the hardware or any software so all these things are performed by IT operations.

Configuration Management: if any new database is provisioned in the customer environment then the configuration of the database manages by the IT operation team.

Manage Disasters: If any disaster will occur with a country or state where the Data Centre resides then the IT operation always takes backup of every active system and create the nearest recovery centre.

What is DevOps?

In the above lines as I mentioned two separate technology and teams which work individually and there are some challenges with it. To overcome those challenges and for faster product or software delivery the modern IT has the concept of DevOps.

By merging the Development team and Operation team the new team came into the picture. This set of people are skilled to develop the software and manage the IT operation together, which will provide very fast and accurate delivery of the product and support.

The main advantage of DevOps is to do automation of repetitive processes and whatever deployed to production manage it timely and effectively.

Phases of DevOps – Used in Development:

 

  1. Inputs from Developers and Performa coding- DevOps people are trained on developing skills and the ability to understand the programming language and code written by some developers. In this phase whatever written by the developer, they will take it and perform the below activities on it.
  2. Building the code
  3. Testing the code
  4. Incapsulate or perform packing on existing code
  5. Releasing the versions
  6. Configuration
  7. Support and Monitoring


DevOps is Automate the repetitive process and we used the below tools for DevOps Automation.

  • Infrastructure Automation: Earlier Large Organizations generally used to store the data on Premises and spend big dollars on Servers, Storages, and Networks but using Infrastructure automation all things are replaced by Amazon Web Services (AWS), GCP (Google Cloud Platform), or Azure.
  • Chef: This tool is used for configuration management. We can call this tool as One to Many, it means whatever configuration changes required on many servers using this tool, we can apply the change in one place, and it will reflect on all servers.
  • Jenkins: This tool is used for Deployment automation, whenever changes come it integrate and test the issues once the build is deployed.
  • App Dynamic: This is part of performance monitoring and it tracks the real-time performance. It is also collecting the performance data and help the development team whenever issues come.
  • Splunk: This tool is used for log management. Every application is designed to generate different levels of logs. Collecting, Sorting, and Analysing the logs in one place using this tool.
  • Nagios: This is an infrastructure monitoring tool, whenever any kind of infrastructure service is down or not working this tool notifies a specific group of people and help to find the exact problem.


Working of DevOps:

CI/CD – In DevOps, the full for CI/CD is Continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) but what does mean continuous Integration and continuous delivery? To understand this, we will take the example of the Chips factory.

To produce good quality of chips we need raw material and that raw material is a good quality of potatoes. To produce the chips, we put raw potatoes on the factory assembly line in a fast, automated, reproducible way. Similarly using DevOps automation tools, we create a Software delivery assembly line that takes source code as raw material and produces releases in a fast, automated, reproducible way. The overall process through this we generate the releases called continuous delivery and the process of providing sources code to software delivery assemble line called continuous integration.

Apart from CI/CD we also use two other terms which are called continuous testing and continuous deployment.

Continuous testing - is the process to ensure the quality results and the process that provide releases to end-user called continuous deployment.

Continuous meaning - Here the continuous meaning is not it will always be in the running mode instead It means that the process is always ready to run.

In the continuous model, we follow the below practices and these practices are define the meaning of continuous.

  1. Speedily Processing: Using the continuous approach increases the frequency of software releases. Using continuous processing whatever changes occurred on the source code side it reflects the final release very speedily and efficiently.
  2. Processes Automation: Using the continuous approach handle the software production phases in all aspects like Build, Test, Version control, etc.
  3. Continual Processing: Whenever we provide the same type of inputs to the process it generates the same results again and again which makes this continual process and when we enter the same code input, we get a similar output.
  4. Non-Stop releases: The non-stop releases make the process accurate and produce good quality results. The frequent releases could be daily, monthly, or weekly it depends on individual teams and the users.


Continuous Integration - In the above line we have seen the best practices for Continuous integration but what is continuous integration in DevOps is still a question.

Whenever the developer writes the code for any product and deploys it on production after that the DevOps team and tool automatically identify, extract, build and test the source code until the source code does not change. The DevOps team does continuous integration to build a good code of the product.

Change Detections: There are few key points for Integration change detection and these points are very useful in any DevOps team. Generally, the DevOps team uses Jenkins’s application for watching or capturing the changes and it has source management and target management facility.

  • Electing the changes: As mentioned above using the watch management app we can set the source management systems and whenever any change comes it will pick those changes and start all processing steps.
  • Time Interval: The watching tool can be sent periodically to capture the changes so whenever change comes in a particular time frame it will reflect built and create newly built.
  • Pushout: Using the Webhook tool whenever a new code is pushed by the watch application it sends a notification through the internet and it starts monitoring the process.


Why a start-up needs DevOps?

A start-up is a small company which started its business after creating and selling their products and services. Every year many start-ups come into the picture and out of those start-ups, only 10% of the new start-up gets success. The question is why they fail? So, the answer is, approach to sell their product and services.

Here approach I mean what is their marketing model and is that product worth it in the market and how much cash that start-up contains and how much they have invested in the technology.

To understand it better I will take an example of a company “ABC” which is an E-commerce start-up and recently company ABC has launched its product in the market. Initially, the sales are good, and they can make some profit from it but slowly the userbase has been increased, and the application or the product is needing some upgrades. The CEO of that company is not much interested to upgrade the product and services and slowly customers find issues with the product and it started losing the trust of the customers.

So, if we see the above example the technology plays a big role in any small or large organization and those organization which does not spend on technology, they are not able to sustain long in the competitive market.

Role of the DevOps in a start-up:

We will take the above example to understand better, if the above E-Commerce company did not have the DevOps team, it will be very difficult for them to alter the existing product. if something changes in the market then the start-up will not be able to compete with the other competitors.
DevOps can play a very important role in start-up, if the start-up is capable enough to invest it and make a separate team for it then it will give them flexibility and agility. It also gives the power to sustain in the market and compete strongly with other competitors.

Advantages of DevOps in a Start-up:

There are few advantages of DevOps for any start-up:

  1. Increase Team Flexibility: If the start-up has a DevOps team then it will help the product development team a lot and provide adequate flexibility to them.
  2. Automation: In a start-up, the budget always remain the primary constraint and it can’t afford people or processes for repetitive things or tasks, hence using DevOps provides them a mean of implementing certain tasks via automation, which ultimately help them to keep the cost under check.
  3. Continuous Integration: This option helps software developers to integrate their code at its current state into a shared repository at any number of times. This helps them counter and fix any adverse issues before proceeding with next phase of development.
  4. Less Problems: The DevOps team works in such a way that it ensures all things work in autopilot mode, that helps an organization to keep its focus on their core business. It will also ensure the number of complexities and problems remain low and even if they exist, the count remain almost negligible.
  5. Continuous Deployment- It allows developers to deploy the code continuously into the production after successful testing. In this way, the end-users get the direct and uninterrupted access to the code, along with the availability of the latest version.
  6. Continuous Monitoring – This step helps developers to address most of the failures the moment their arise, it also provides an opportunity to prevent occurrences of such errors in the future. It also helps us to enable the Automation alerts for error instances, that helps us to trace the potential bugs in the code.
  7. Automated Backup – This is an extremely helpful utility, which helps us to keep out data secure with utmost integrity. It offers an automated data backup and restoration process, that could be added to our staging process to prevent any data loss issue at the first place, and even if any such incident happens, it helps us to restore the back from the existing snapshots and recreate the data.
  8. Better understanding of Product – The biggest challenge for development teams is to have a common understanding of the product they are developing. I traditional model, sort of limited information about the product is provided to the different teams. But in case of DevOps, different teams work together to execute different tasks, which makes it really easy to understand the product information and it also allows different teams to have additional information about the product beyond their specific and limited area of expertise. For instance, a developer can access the information about the performance of the product at end-user’s end, which can help him to devise the strategy to make an improvement on certain aspects like scaling, user interface, availability etc.
  9. Improved Customer Satisfaction – It is a customer centric world, and there is most important constituent of any system or process, and they are the ones who are indeed the deciding factor for success of any business or organization. DevOps helps us to engage the customers and make them an integral part of the business improvement process, by taking a regular customer feedback via a reporting mechanism.
  10. Continuous Improvement – the most important challenge developers encounter is making any sort of changes in the product at later stage, as this incur more time and cost to the organization. At later stages, or past implementation, performing any sort of change in the product may pose a threat to the business continuity. Any wrong direction from the redressal mechanism can jeopardize the entire product and its reputation. Here due to its flexibility and usage of Agile practices, the DevOps can make all this happen without any challenges, which can easily drive the business continuity.
  11. Enhanced Communication - For success of any business, the communication is a key, especially when multiple teams are engaged and working towards achieving a common objective. Here DevOps scores big, as it offers its core principle of enhanced communication among different set of resources and teams. This indeed improves the productivity of the teams by removing any sort of communication barriers, while keeping the opportunity of continuous learning open and make employees happy.


DevOps tips to avoid failures for Start-Ups

  1. Always Embrace Cloud – we all know that Cloud computing has complete changes the software delivery process model, and there is no looking back now. Cloud is not a luxury anymore, every organization, irrespective of its size must embrace the Cloud wither today, or many be in near future.
  2. DevOps as a Service: DevOps as a service offers multiple centralized, standardized, and personalized templates so that there is a uniformity among all the teams. An organization can create a small team which can manage the DevOps process in dedicated manner. This team can offer DevOps as a service, by providing several services like CI/CD, monitoring, backup, cloud, release automation, orchestration etc. This strategy will help the developers to keep their focus on solving the complex problems for business.
  3. Center of Excellence methodology – Most of the organizations are implementing this approach and shifting from their existing approval board model to the Centre of Excellence methodology, that is a more consultative approach. Start-up can also keep their focus on community of practice or setting up a common platform where all the technical teams can share the best business practices and roll out DevOps in an effective way.
  4. In Built security: Security has been a major concern these days, and DevOps is something which always keep Security as an important constituent of software delivery pipeline.
  5. Back-end Operations - The backend operations have become a crucial part of the software delivery process, and that cannot be ignored. Most of the organizations are preoccupied with the client-facing enhancements and engagements only. However, in reality, it is the backend operations that enables the organization to run effortlessly.
  6. Failing is certainly not an option – Failure is again an important aspect, and recovery from the failure matters more. The software develop teams should simulate the probable failure and issues during the software delivery process, in order to understand and implement a better strategy for recovery, detection and restore.


Conclusion

 DevOps has been a revolution in last couple of years, it has become a method to run our business in much efficient way. It also pushes a congenial culture of free and fair communication and enhanced collaboration, that can easily adapt to the Client’s needs. Sometimes DevOps seems challenging to implement, but it provides a long-term benefit when you are through it. It always gives an upper hand to your Start-up over companies where DevOps is not implemented, or it is not completely integrated into their business. Having an exceptional DevOps team might cost you more in early stages, but at later stages, it may prove to be a gamechanger for you. Don’t you think, it is worth taking the pain or cost to implements DevOps in our organization?

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