HelpSystems Blog

What is DevOps? The DevOps Movement Explained

The term “DevOps” has only been around since 2008, but the chances are you’re hearing it a lot these days. Despite its rapid rise as a software development buzzword, there’s still a lot of confusion around exactly what DevOps is and how it should be implemented.

What is DevOps?

DevOps—a word that combines “development” with “operations”—is a concept created in response to the fast pace of modern business. In the last decade, companies have discovered that they no longer have time for long development and testing cycles. In order to stay competitive, development teams are pressured to deploy code faster and more frequently. This also puts stress on the operations team responsible for maintaining the production environment. Operations wants to support the new pace, but also needs to maintain control of the environment and implement proper testing and monitoring of the code.

From this reality comes the idea of DevOps, a culture of development and operations working together to support rapid delivery of applications and services. DevOps includes new processes, new tools, and new ways of thinking.

Why DevOps?

Almost all businesses have been impacted by digitalization and the growing demand of today’s customers. Slow response times and manual processes are no longer an option. According to research by Enterprise Management Associates (EMA), in 2017 over 80 percent of organizations felt that the frequency of code delivery had increased in the last year. That means that if you aren’t implementing processes to improve your delivery speed and time to market, the competition is pulling ahead.

When done right, DevOps allows businesses to release new features and fix bugs rapidly, which leads to happier customers. Automated DevOps practices like continuous integration (regularly integrating code into a shared repository) and continuous delivery (deploying code in small batches) allow for new releases to be not only fast, but reliable. Monitoring and logging is typically in place to help DevOps run smoothly. DevOps also allows greater scalability and efficiency than ad-hoc processes do.

Unfortunately, if not implemented well, DevOps also comes with some common problems. EMA’s research found that both development and operations teams are spending more time troubleshooting than they did before DevOps was adopted. In 23 percent of organizations, executive complaints are on the rise, and service levels have degraded in 18 percent of organizations.

In other words, a faster pace can cause teams to lose control and end up fighting more fires.

Solving DevOps Problems

To keep up with the quick pace of DevOps without creating more errors, new tools need to be implemented. First and foremost is automation. Automation provides better control over DevOps processes and increases scalability of the production environment. It’s quick, reliable, and much less prone to errors than human operators are.

A good workload automation tool for DevOps will have a library of production-ready building blocks to make automating common actions quick and easy. It will be simple to install and support end-to-end process automation and monitoring.

Another essential capability for DevOps is integration across the entire DevOps toolset. DevOps is cross-functional by nature and can’t happen successfully in siloes. 49 percent of organizations surveyed by EMA felt that DevOps has created a need for integrations across the management toolset. 46 percent said they are now doing more cross-functional (rather than silo-based) tools planning. An application-agnostic workload automation tool is critical for successful DevOps.

Using the right automation and integration tools for DevOps gives both developers and operators the freedom to be more creative and strategic. Your business will be able to respond to the market and to your customers with greater speed and agility.

To learn more about the relationship between automation and DevOps, watch the full webinar with EMA and HelpSystems.