IT DevOps

IT DevOps Challenges and Best Practices

What is IT DevOps?

IT DevOps is a software engineering culture and practice that endeavors to unify Software Development (Dev) and Operations (Ops) throughout the application delivery pipeline that results in new features for end users. It represents the blending of traditionally separate development and operations teams, with IT DevOps Engineers participating in the entire software development life cycle, from design through the live deployment of the application or service.

The purpose of implementing IT DevOps practices is to develop high-quality, production-ready software by software engineering teams, with operations implementing Agile-learned techniques and automation tools to enable effective, low-risk software delivery and change management.

Guiding principles for IT organizations moving to DevOps software development include:

  • Build a microservices driven application architecture
  • Develop and test new features against production-like systems
  • Configure and deploy with repeatable, reliable processes
  • Monitor and validate operational quality monitoring to ensure timely feedback to the development process
  • Enhance feedback loops across all organizations

Challenges Facing IT DevOps

The goal of IT DevOps is not to eliminate errors and downtime, but rather automate manual tasks and create repeatable processes with greater transparency and traceability. These application lifecycle management goals minimize the level of manual intervention and help organizations attain a stable and reliable IT infrastructure in the face of application modernization, with the goal of ensuring uninterrupted business continuity and continuous deployment. This presents IT DevOps teams with some challenges when transitioning from legacy software development practices:

  • The Culture: IT DevOps culture needs to be characterized by increased collaboration between DevOps engineers and system administrators throughout the application delivery process, decreasing silos, shared responsibility, autonomous teams, and the quest for improving quality, valuing feedback and increasing automation.
  • Test automation: Automating tests to ensure the success of continuous application delivery.
  • Cloud computing: The transition to cloud-based SaaS applications creates a mix of resources that are both internal and external that need to be seamlessly integrated.
  • Open source: Integration of open source software requires testing to ensure overall application scalability and reliability.

IT DevOps Best Practices

IT DevOps helps organizations keep pace with the incredible demand for application development, especially for mobile and cloud environments. Organizations of all sizes should adopt the following best practices to manage successful software development projects over their entire life cycle.

  • Continuous integration: the software development practice of adding new code to a centralized repository.
  • Continuous delivery: the use of automation for code changes, testing, and release is at the heart of efficiency in the world of IT DevOps. Automated configuration management can save time by making key processes faster and more repeatable with less IT operations hands-on management.
  • Continuous monitoring: Gain operational insights for both app development and operations from the constant flow of information through the IT DevOps process. Active application monitoring is a practical approach to specifically monitor processes and applications to gather useful data on performance and benchmark usage.
  • Continuous testing: A combination of automated and hands-on testing is critical to comprehensive software testing. All agile development process testing mechanisms should extend to include micro-services, version management, middleware installation and the application itself.

ThousandEyes addresses many of the challenges associated with the pursuit of IT DevOps agile software development best practices. To assure optimal performance in an increasingly Internet-centric production environment, IT DevOps teams need detailed and accurate visibility from the app layer correlated with network paths and Internet routing. Using ThousandEyes monitoring test data as part of the acceptance criteria for new developments ensures that production behavior will meet user experience objectives.