Using DevOps in the Cloud for Improved Productivity
Research shows that DevOps is dictating cloud development. See how the two work together to revolutionize software development.
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Think about the last time you visited your bank’s physical location to transfer money or stood in the long, spiral queue for a railway reservation.
A majority of us will have to think really hard to answer these questions. The reason is simple; technology is bringing everything to our fingertips, be it banking, grocery shopping, or travel booking. Consumers now expect better quality and feature-rich products which are simple to use. They judge the brands based on how user-friendly their app or website is and how seamless digital transactions are. To keep up with such demands, IT companies can’t afford to continue with the old-style application development cycle which is time-consuming, inefficient, and rigid. They need to keep looking for better technology and adapt it quickly.
As a result, the IT industry is going through a series of disruptions. DevOps and Cloud are the latest buzzwords. Along with stability and efficiency, companies are looking for agile and cost-effective ways to accelerate the product development process. DevOps and cloud computing are the means many companies are embracing now to meet market demands and to beat the competition.
Let's get deeper into it and find out how they are helping companies build such amazing products so efficiently.
DevOps: What the Buzz Is All About
DevOps is a practice followed by organizations for software product development and release. It is not a tool that you can deploy or title for people working in an organization. It instead is a philosophy and method used to deliver applications or services at a rapid pace. It integrates software development and operations into a single process with a focus on automation and streamlining. The aim of DevOps is to have multiple small enhancements continuously instead of periodic big releases. So, DevOps is neither a technology nor a tool but a process to follow to produce better quality software products efficiently and seamlessly. It is also a company culture to facilitate effective communication, collaboration, and integration between developers and operations teams.
Simply put, the main advantages of DevOps are
- Continuous Integration
- Continuous Delivery
- Application release automation
- Infrastructure automation
- Faster delivery of features using Agile
- Faster problem resolution
What About Cloud Computing?
Cloud computing is a technology which provides on-demand computing platforms to individuals, companies, and governments on a subscription basis. It allows organizations to move away from upfront capital expenditure to pay as you go model which helps in minimizing costs while allowing to rapidly grow computing resources as needed. Customers have access to a full-fledged virtual cluster of computers available all the time via the Internet. Some examples of cloud computing platforms are Azure, Amazon Web Service, and Google Cloud. Companies big and small are embracing the cloud as it provides many advantages like flexibility, cost saving, agility, and simplicity.
For instance, say your company needs a windows server with 4GB RAM and 1TB disk size. You can order this from any cloud platform, and it would ready for you in minutes. Later on, you find out that the configuration you requested is not enough. No problem, a couple of clicks and a few minutes is all it takes to increase or decrease the capacity. It’s that simple!
And to top it all, companies get the needed infrastructure without the usual hassle of shortlisting, ordering, and maintaining it. Gone are the days when IT companies had to invest heavily in production as well as backup infrastructure.
How Are DevOps and Cloud Related?
As seen above, both DevOps and Cloud have their own benefits, but when combined together they multiply each other’s strengths to create a more compelling offering overall.
Clouds are designed and built in a way that allows them to take advantage of DevOps methods. The cloud provides tools for centralized deployments and have DevOps services built into them.
For example, if there is a particular way using which DevOps team should assemble the components and need to deliver, then the advanced automation tools available in the cloud can streamline that process and make it distinctly repeatable.
In fact, according to David Linthicum, Chief Cloud Strategy Officer at Deloitte Consulting, DevOps is now dictating cloud development.
How Can DevOps in the Cloud Improve the Application Development Cycle?
DevOps and the cloud, when combined together, can significantly accelerate the software development cycle. According to research conducted by CA Technologies in March 2017, companies employing DevOps in cloud reported 81% boost in software delivery performance. As part of this study, 900 plus IT professionals across the globe were surveyed on how they were achieving success. The results were astonishing:
- Those who used DevOps alone reported a 52% boost in performance.
- Those who used Cloud alone reported a 53% boost in performance.
- Those who used both DevOps and Cloud reported 81% boost in performance – this lot was nicknamed “Delivery Disruptors.”
Apart from software delivery performance, these “Delivery Disruptors” also outperformed others on predictability, quality, user experience, and cost control.
Let us dive deeper to find out what are the factors which result in such outstanding performance.
1. Cloud-Centric Automation
Automation is the key for DevOps to be efficient. Most cloud platforms provide advanced automation tools for DevOps processes such as continuous development and continuous integration. Jenkins, CircleCI, GitLab, Travis CI are examples of such tools used for continuous integration. Such tools provide consistency, speed, and less human interaction, resulting in fewer errors.
2. Centralized Platform
Cloud provides a standard and centralized platform to companies for testing, deployment, monitoring and operating the production workloads. Compared to the distributed nature of legacy systems, DevOps process is seamless and smooth when used in a cloud environment.
3. Scalable Infrastructure
Using cloud makes it easy to upscale or downscale infrastructure as and when needed without spending a lot of time and money on systems. This scalability makes the DevOps very efficient and saves time and money.
4. Agile Development Environment
Cloud can provide multiple staging and testing servers, so DevOps teams don’t have to wait for servers to become free and available to continue their work. Using DevOps in the cloud encourages experimentation as builds are faster. DevOps teams can quickly provision the servers they need. For example, Commonwealth Bank reduced the provisioning of an Oracle database from three months to two minutes.
5. Focus on Stability and Uptime
As cloud providers focus on stability and uptime, they take care of all the maintenance and management of the platform. Instead of worrying about these issues, IT companies can focus on product development resulting in improved product performance, better user experience, and faster time-to-market.
DevOps methodology in the cloud improves collaboration between teams, saves time and money, and makes the application development cycle more efficient. This, in turn, leads to better product quality and user experience.
Published at DZone with permission of Shakti Rathore. See the original article here.
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