What is DevOps?
The term DevOps is a combination of two words ‘development’ and ‘operations’. It’s an approach and methodology of the development process, in which programmers, testers, and system administrators can work together on a product for faster and efficient delivery.
The approach helps to reduce errors when transferring a project from developers to testers and system admins. It’s because the development, testing, and operation of digital products become a single, seamless, and cyclical process when implemented using DevOps.
The DevOps topic itself is quite voluminous. This is the automation of the processes of preparing the infrastructure for both development and testing of the application, as well as for its operation. It also includes deployment automation and monitoring.
Many software development firms have already adopted the DevOps model by either developing their own DevOps team or outsourcing to professional DevOps service providers.
DevOps is most vividly revealed when developing an application using microservice architecture.
What’s a Microservice Architecture?
A variant of a service-oriented software architecture focused on the interaction of small, loosely coupled, and easily changeable modules is microservice architecture.
Custom development of web applications isn’t without its caveats. A few of the most common challenges and problems developers face are discussed below and we’ll break down how each can be addressed using a DevOps approach.
Challenges When Working Without DevOps
A software product goes through several stages before reaching users. The developer writes the code, QA tests it, after which the system administrator uploads the application to the production server.
Require a lot of actions when submitting for testing
The developer installs everything necessary on his machine: the programming language, database, and server. For example, PHP 7.0, a database, MySQL 5.7, and Apache. The operating system, version of libraries, and dependencies to install on the server remains unknown.
After the implementation of the application’s required functionalities, it needs testing.
The programmer packs his code, a copy of the database, information about the software, and instructions on how to install everything necessary for starting and running the application. After that, he transfers the archive to the tester.
The QA specialist installs everything you need on the test bench, deploys the application, and starts testing.
If a new development version appears during testing, then you have to repeat the procedure. The developer needs to create the archive again, transfer it to the tester; who then deploy the application again.
As a result of such repetitive procedures, errors are layered, and the QA specialist has to double-check the same bugs.
Version incompatibility in the test environment and on the customer’s server
After successful manual testing and the decision to move the application to the production server, the system administrator prepares a new or existing server. The programmer uploads the application there, and then the problems begin.
For instance, the version of the programming language may differ from the one in which programmers carried out the development. Database versions may vary. And even the database management system itself may be different.
Add to the fact, the paths to files and directories in the application’s code itself are different since the application on the production server is in a completely different place than on the developer’s machine.
As a result, when using another web server in production, you have to configure the application again. And this takes extra time.
How DevOps Improves the Development Process?
At InvoZone, DevOps engineers set up the processes in such a way that the assembly of the project, the launch of auto-tests, and the deployment to the test server occur automatically, and to production – semi-automatically. If any of the stages fail, the developer will receive a notification.
These technologies are suitable for the development of web applications, proprietary services such as corporate portals, and transaction accounting services for online stores.
To prepare servers, we use tools like Ansible. They allow you to quickly set up the environment in which the application will run automatically. It takes several minutes, not several hours.
For consistency of the environment, we use the Docker tool.
After the developer has made a certain functionality, he sends the code to the repository. Then comes a process called Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (CI/CD).
If the build and automated testing process are successful, they deploy the application to a staging server, where the QA specialist conducts manual testing or testing using tools like Selenium to automate the actions of a web browser in case of a web application development.
If there are any errors during manual testing, the developer quickly makes edits and rolls out the update. Even if they need to repeat a procedure, it happens quickly. After successful testing, they decide on the release, which only requires pressing one button.
The variety of DevOps tools is incredible, so I will list just a few of them that are commonly used:
- Server configuration management: Ansible, Chef, Puppet.
- For continuous integration and delivery (CI / CD): GitLab, Jenkins, TeamCity, Drone.
- Data collection for monitoring: Prometheus, Telegraf, LogStash.
- To display collected data: Grafana, Kibana, Zabbix.
- Error monitoring: Sentry, Rollbar.
Ansible is a configuration management system written in Python using a declarative markup language to describe configurations.
It’s preferred for its low entry threshold. After a couple of hours, you can write a working configuration.
GitLab is a version control system with a built-in CI / CD. Chosen because you can deploy on your server and use it for free. Has great functionality and integration with many third-party services.
To monitor the server load, a fairly popular stack is used: Grafana + InfluxDB + Telegraf.
Grafana is an open-source platform for data visualization, monitoring, and analysis.
InfluxDB is a database for storing collected statistics.
Telegraf is an agent that is installed on the server and sends metrics and logs to the InfluxDB database.
How DevOps Implementation Benefits You?
- For Developers: It will allow you to concentrate on the application code and not think about the infrastructure that will be in production.
- For Testers: Provides more scope for testing the application on different system configurations and with a distinct set of libraries.
- For System Administrators: Will remove from them the work on the deployment and monitoring of the application.
- For Business in a Digital Environment: It will help you quickly adapt the product to market demands, release recent versions, and improve the customer experience.
DevOps implementation can help streamline business processes and speed up updates. If you are looking to implement DevOps to streamline processes in your organization, Hire Dedicated Development Team.