When to Rely on DevOps-as-a-Service
See how DevOps workflows and processes can help speed up the entire development cycle and lead to a better product.
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It is a popular misconception that DevOps workflows are centered around automating daily operations with the cloud infrastructure. Quite to the contrary, DevOps services can do so much more...
The main reason for ordering DevOps-as-a-Service from the very beginning is obvious — time and cost savings on cloud computing resources involved in software development. This gives DevOps teams more time to design and implement the required infrastructure and use it in all the stages of software delivery. More importantly, it allows experienced DevOps engineers to predict future system bottlenecks and design the cloud infrastructure to avoid them.
Here is a simplified scheme of the software development lifecycle:
Idea polishing and creation of specifications
Website/apps mockups creation and functionality feedback collection
Minimum Viable Product development in sprints and code testing
Beta-testing before a release
Release to production and creation of CI/CD pipelines for maintenance and further updates
Ongoing app monitoring, logging, and updates in production; infrastructure optimization
While the most common approach lies within spending as little as possible on DevOps (namely, ordering DevOps services only to put the app in production and support it there), using DevOps tools and capabilities from the get-go is hugely beneficial. Let’s take a closer look at these stages.
How Can DevOps Practices Help From the Very Start of the Project?
When customers think of their future product or service, they can (usually) clearly imagine its functionality and design features. However, based on our experience, startups are usually not well acquainted with the specifics of running their apps in production and the corresponding issues. To be precise, they can’t usually define how their app/website/service should behave under heavy workloads.
The most common answer is “scale!” but the exact mode of scaling is not so obvious. Should it be vertical (by adding more cloud computing resources to a single instance of the app) or horizontal (by launching multiple instances of the app)? If we choose the latter variant, how should the load be balanced between these instances? How should they be synchronized, backed up, restored, and updated?
The answers to these questions greatly influence the structure of the app and the infrastructure it will use, so these details should be known on the very first stage of creating the specifications. Frankly, lots of startups don’t have a clear vision of their working product in mind and leave the solution of this questions to the pre-release stage. Quite often, this results in incorrect app structure that is unable to scale well and has to be rewritten extensively or requires much more computing resources to run smoothly. From our experience, we have seen some projects costing nearly 200% of the estimated budget due to errors in app structure planning.
DevOps engineers can apply their experience to predicting the possible bottlenecks the app will face in production and plan the infrastructure accordingly. This input will be invaluable in creating a resilient app, scalable by design.
Using DevOps for Functionality Feedback Collection
The next stage of the software delivery lifecycle involves mostly the design testing. If you prefer to see your website page prototypes created using the tools like Bootstrap, you will need to deploy at least one development environment for it. Knowing how the app should work in production means knowing when some functionality does not work right.
This, in turn, leads to rebooting the development environment to make the changes and adjust the functionality. This takes little time once, but as such reboots have to take place multiple times, the resulting time investment becomes essential, and the customer has to pay for the work hours and the computing resources spent.
When such environments are deployed using Docker containers and CI/CD DevOps tools, building them takes a few seconds and one command, opposite to several minutes and a manual checklist of actions if prototyping is done the conventional way. What does it mean for a customer? Instead of hearing that the prototypes will be ready in 3 days, you might as well hear that all the feedback will be applied in 5 hours — and it will be so.
How Can DevOps Workflows Help With Code Creation?
This is one of the most widespread areas of DevOps services application, actually, as a huge chunk of DevOps tasks is aimed at creating CI/CD pipelines.
CI stands for Continuous Integration, meaning all the new code is committed to a central git repository and is continuously tested against an automated unit testing codebase. Each little code commit automatically becomes a new sub-build and tested to make sure it works well. This helps cut the time for bug fixing by nearly 56% and shift all the security and compliance testing to the left automatically.
CD stands for Continuous Delivery, meaning every new app release is pushed to production using Kubernetes rolling updates, in-app updates on reboot and other kinds of seamless updates, which ensure uninterrupted end-user experience and product availability. Developing your app intensively, updating it regularly and having no downtime — how much is this worth for you? Such an approach helps cut the code development time by nearly 40% without compromising on its quality.
Final Thoughts on the Right Time to Order DevOps Services
As you can see, we did not even come to the release stage yet, and the benefits of ordering DevOps early are already obvious. Enabling the CI/CD pipelines for further app updates, as well as performing cloud monitoring, logging and data analysis are the routine DevOps tasks many customers order regularly. However, using DevOps-as-a-Service from the very beginning of the software development process can yield much greater benefits.
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