DevOps is one of the most talked about phenomena in the tech market in recent years, and vacancies with this prefix have become ones the most expensive. At the same time, numerous businesses do not thoroughly master what DevOps signifies, how to operate with it, and where it can be applied. We talk in detail about how the service approach to IT differs from the product one, about the practices of using DevOps, the culture of implementation and technologies that will make the interaction of development and operations engineers much more effective.
What is it and what problem does DevOps solve?
It appeared in 2009 when companies that are engaged in product IT development realized that they could not do this within the framework of service approaches to IT that were formed in the industry at that time. It became clear that this service story does not work in business processes when developers work separately from administrators who support systems in their classical sense. DevOps is exactly the connection between development and operations.
Patrick Debois, listening to John Allspaw’s talk on product development at Flickr on how things work, said the main challenge was bringing developers and administrators together. As a result, DevOps as a service came from this problem: it is about how to properly organize product development within the company. When a team makes a product, not IT systems that simply support business processes.
This is about the general formation of an approach to product development. The key point here is the formation of the practice of joint co-creation.
In the service approach to IT, this co-creation was not necessary, there everyone focuses simply on supporting individual business functions. Now the whole community is looking for approaches in the formation of creative product development — in the combination of production and creativity.
What practices are included in DevOps?
Organization of teamwork, organization of collaboration tools, organization of transfer of experience between different specialists in a team, engineering practices for continuous software delivery. Plus, these are observability practices — not monitoring and logging, but rather understanding what is happening with the process and how the user interacts with the product.
In the case of DevOps, all stages of product development go simultaneously and as quickly as possible, because the structure of all communications and development is aimed exactly at this. It would be correct to say that DevOps is not the ultimate clearly defined goal, it is a movement along which the whole company is moving. This is the way to develop software. DevOps is when people, technology and processes come together for one mission — customer focus.
How does business start using these practices?
First, the company needs to understand that the IT direction is not a service history, but the main production function. It is necessary to transfer IT from a supporting history to an earning one. This is the first step at the level of business mentality. DataArt can be very helpful on any stage. Next, you need to understand what competencies you lack for this, look at other companies that are already playing this game. For example, take a look at Google and Facebook, and see how they build their workflows, compare with the manufacturing processes in your company.
After that, those competencies that, in principle, are lacking in the company and in the product that it makes, will become visible. They will have to be rebuilt for each company individually: how the software delivery process is organized, how the team is organized around it. These are the tasks that each company solves only independently. In fact, the solutions to these problems cannot be simply taken and copied — such a model came from a service approach that needs to be changed.
What is the future of DevOps?
The past year has clearly shown that the transition to online and digital transformation for many companies is not only inevitable, but vital. This means that rebuilding on DevOps rails as part of digital transformation is only a matter of time, and those who master it will remain and survive.