The significance of DevOps in modern startup operations: What is DevOps and its contribution?
DevOps combines two concepts: ’Development’ and ’Operations’. It is a model that connects these processes, thereby enhancing a business’s ability to create products more efficiently. In the context of app development, DevOps services provide the efficient and safe implementation of new features.
However, the term has broadened considerably over the years to such an extent that defining exactly what DevOps is compared to other IT fields has become hard. Nevertheless, let’s try to bring clarity to the concept of DevOps and discuss its benefits for businesses, especially startups and small businesses.
What is DevOps: Understanding the DevOps model
The DevOps model relies on rules and actions that connect the disconnection between development and operations teams. To get rid of a separation, it promotes a culture of working together and providing quick feedback. What is DevOps’ uniqueness though?
Imagine a typical process for delivering a product to the end-user. It starts with an idea, moves to gathering client needs, coding the product, testing it, creating, packaging, deploying, and finally, monitoring.
The DevOps methodology is implemented along similar distinct stages, namely:
Planning. This is the initial step in which the dev team elaborates a comprehensive plan, carefully considering the objectives to be delivered. The team defines requirements and goals, keeping the user experiences in mind.
Coding. The development team works on the base version of the code, along with an additional version. These are stored in repositories, and the version control tools, Git or Merge, are used to smoothly track the changes.
Build. The code dev team has been working hard on is transformed into and executable form It’s prepared for integration into the existing system or application.
Testing. Once the code is executed it should be tested to make sure that it doesn’t have any bugs or errors. This procedure ensures that the code functions as expected.
Deployment. After running the tests and making sure everything works properly, developers transfer the code to the production environment. Nevertheless, it should not affect the working system’s functionality during this stage.
Operation. After deployment, the operations team brings the code to the live or production environment with tools such as Docker, Ansible, and Kubernetes.
Monitoring. In the meantime, the product undergoes continuous monitoring. The aim of the procedure is to check the system’s performance and troubleshoot any issues that may arise.The new cycle starts when the collected data on issues returns to the planning stage. This is how the continuous integration process is carried out. The feedback loop ensures that all user needs are successfully addressed.
Now, looking at the visual, you can see the difference between a linear diagram and an infinite loop of DevOps. The reason for depicting DevOps as an infinite sign is that it doesn’t end with a single cycle. Once the initial launch takes place, there is a need for further improvements and, thus, a repetition of the same steps as in the previous cycle, but with new fixes.
The product thus exists in multiple iterations, creating a cycle of constant improvements, or Continuous Delivery. DevOps serves as a model that makes this process efficient and minimizes the number of glitches and bugs.
What is DevOps’ role in solving the problems of the development process?Manual work
Many software companies still rely heavily on manual performance. For example, some organizations still manually test the product, execute commands, and prepare the deployment environment. However, carrying out processes this way increases the likelihood of human errors.Miscommunication
In companies that have not embraced the DevOps model yet, usually a development team builds a product and hands the documentation over to the operations team for further deployment. Misunderstandings can occur when operations do not understand how the product functions, leading to stagnation and prolonged release periods.Application testing
As we’ve mentioned, tests are quite often conducted manually and by a whole team of quality assurance specialists. In fact, this time-consuming process can be replaced by automated testing.Conflict of interest
If the processes are divided between two teams, each team follows their own objectives, which may lead to friction. Thus, the dev team aims to implement changes as quickly as possible, while the operations team concentrates on the stability of the production environment.
DevOps helps to eliminate these roadblocks that slow down the release speed by removing manual intervention. Actually, DevOps is not only automation or a set of tools, it is a culture and practices that streamline product development and release processes. However, does DevOps contribute to the business processes of startups?
What is DevOps’ significance for startups?
For sure, implementation of DevOps can positively impact growth of a startup. Here’s a look at some of the ways startups can benefit by adopting DevOps practices:
Automation. A vital upside of DevOps is its automation capability. It provides a unified platform to swiftly transition application builds from development and testing environments to production. This automated process eliminates time-intensive manual labor, leading to faster product release and enhanced customer satisfaction.
High-quality software. The DevOps processes ensure rigorous testing and inspection of development processes. This reduces errors and guarantees high-quality end products. Accordingly, when contrasting the quality of products from different companies, those employing a DevOps mechanism stand out.
Quicker return on investment (ROI). Return on investment simply means that all the investments have been paid back and exceeded by the revenue generated. How does DevOps help it? Well, the model provides a startup with error-free deployment making the time to market shorter and makes the overall process more effective.
Enhanced collaboration. If DevOps tools did not provide better collaboration between teams, it wouldn’t be considered the best philosophy for continuous delivery and continuous improvement. The latter are impossible without fostering communication within the organization.
Therefore, it is clear why DevOps is an important factor in the success of modern startups. It increases customer trust, reduces the time it takes to produce and develop products, improves product quality, reduces time and cost expenses, and improves delivery speed.
Example of DevOps impact on startups
In the history of startups there have certainly been unicorn companies who pioneered in adopting DevOps methodology. Among those certainly were Google, Amazon, Netflix, and Etsy. They overcame the common problems and risks each startup faces in the beginning of their journey by fundamentally transforming their architecture and culture, finally achieving great results through their implementation of DevOps principles. Let’s delve into the question: "What is DevOps?" within the context of current industry giants.
One of the most remarkable examples in the streaming industry is Netflix’s DevOps journey. The company recognized early on that the key to maintaining a seamless user experience and rapidly innovating was revolutionizing their development and operations processes. So, what is DevOps’ role in the journey of Netflix?Early challenges
At first, Netflix heavily relied on physical infrastructure and faced frequent service disruptions and difficulties with scaling. This led to the necessity of making significant changes to their development and operations methods.Shifting to the cloud
Netflix understood the benefits of cloud computing quite early and made a decision to move its operations to Amazon Web Services (AWS). In 2022, Netflix built a cloud-based VFX (stands for the Visual Effects) studio using AWS to allow artists to collaborate remotely. As a result, by using AWS Local Zones, they were able to reduce delays in their applications, creating a smooth content-creation experience and promoting collaboration among artists.Creating the Netflix culture
Netflix encouraged a culture of freedom and responsibility, promoting autonomy and accountability among its employees. This culture encourages trying new things, taking risks, and always learning, which are important principles for a successful DevOps approach. The approach was well described in the 2020 book "No Rules Rules".Implementing microservices architecture
Netflix splitted its application into smaller microservices for easier management. This fastened development and deployment cycles, as well as enabled independent scaling and fault isolation.Establishing a continuous delivery pipeline
Netflix invested in building a robust continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline that automates the entire software development lifecycle. CI/CD allows developers to release code changes as frequently as possible, enabling them to frequently deliver new features to end-users and provide them with the best possible experience.Embracing сhaos engineering
Netflix pioneered the practice of Chaos Engineering, where they intentionally introduce failures and disruptions into their systems to test their resilience. This approach helps identify weaknesses and ensure that the system can gracefully handle unexpected issues.Disaster recovery and resilience
Netflix places great emphasis on disaster recovery and resilience. They employ a multi-region strategy, spreading their infrastructure across multiple AWS regions and Availability Zones, ensuring high availability and fault tolerance.Monitoring and data analysis
Netflix has a robust monitoring and analytics platform that provides real-time visibility into system performance and user behavior. This enables them to proactively identify and resolve issues, optimize resource allocation, and improve the overall user experience.
2009: Netflix transfers its infrastructure to AWS
2010: Chaos Monkey, a tool for testing resilience through intentional failues
2012: Simian Army, another set of tools for checking fault tolerance
2013: The "Netflix Culture" formulated as we know it now
2014: Spinnaker, a continuous delivery platform for releasing changes
2015: Full Cycle Development, an approach that spreads responsibility to each development team and by so combines development and operations processes.
2018: Netflix formulates the principles of Chaos Engineering which helped to test the resilience of the Netflix microservices
Netflix’s story highlights the importance of DevOps for any company starting its journey. Connecting development and operations right from the beginning can help to improve scalability, user experience, and streamline the overall processes. DevOps enables startups to adopt technologies such as cloud computing, leverage automation, and establish robust CI/CD pipelines.
Until now, we’ve been discussing the approach and didn’t name the tools that are needed to implement it. So, what is DevOps equipment?
Essential tools for DevOps
When speaking about DevOps implementation, the authors of Effective DevOps Jennifer Davis and Ryn Daniels, suggest keeping in mind four principles.
Asides the criteria, special attention should be paid to the tools. DevOps is nothing without tools assisting in automation, enabling continuous integration, and streamlining operations. These fall under various categories:
CI/CD tools. CI/CD, which stands for continuous integration and continuous deployment, is done using a set of tools such as GitLab CI, GitHub Actions, and ArgoCD. They automate the release process and help developers find and fix problems early in the development cycle.
Version control systems. This involves such platforms as GitHub and Gitlab. With them developers can control changes to the product. These tools are convenient for version management and seamless collaboration within the team.
Monitoring and visualization. For monitoring and visualization, Prometheus, Loki, and Grafana are used. They collect and visualize metrics, providing real-time insights into application performance and system health.
Infrastructure automation. DevOps includes tools such as Docker, Terraform, Helm, and TerraGrunt to automate setup, automate management, and monitor server and network resource teardowns. It also helps save time and minimize human errors.
Tools that we use
At Ronas IT, we harness a wide array of these tools to facilitate efficient and reliable DevOps practices. What is DevOps for us? Following an in-depth analysis of over 300 projects, we identified a blend of methodologies and technologies that enabled us to fully automate our DevOps processes. This approach helps us acquire ready-to-develop environments within merely 5-7 minutes. Here are the technologies that constitute our DevOps model:
Kubernetes (K8s). K8s is a container orchestration system. Its main purpose is to automate the deployment process. This helps scale and manage containerized applications across clusters, making the deployment process smoother and ensuring project scalability.
Terraform. This is infrastructure as a code tool. Simply put, it is used by DevOps professionals to automate infrastructure tasks. Terraform helps you provision cloud resources and manage servers, even if they belong to different providers. In general, describing your infrastructure in a single code with Terraform is like thread tying beads together — it allows you to work with servers in parallel.
Helm. We utilize Helm, the package manager for Kubernetes, to simplify the deployment of applications. Helm charts package up related Kubernetes resources into a single deployable unit, making it quicker and easier to install and upgrade complex applications.
GitLab CI. In our infrastructure, we adopt GitLab CI as our Continuous Integration platform. As we use GitLab for all our projects, GitLab CI harmonizes perfectly, allowing us to seamlessly automate the pipeline of building, testing, and deploying applications, increasing our speed and productivity.
Thus, these technologies, when leveraged together, significantly streamline our DevOps processes, ensuring we rapidly achieve ready-to-develop environments.
The collective use of these tools enables us to streamline operations, automate repetitive tasks, improve deployment frequency, and decrease lead time for changes, thereby embracing the essence of DevOps and delivering robust solutions effectively.
While the effort and resources required for implementing DevOps may initially seem daunting for emerging businesses, the long-term benefits, as we’ve outlined, are invaluable and highly sought after. The solution here is to go for DevOps as a service.
Curious to know what DevOps is like at Ronas IT? Don’t hesitate to tknow more about our tech stack via TechRadar.
Introducing DevOps as a service
DevOps as a Service (DOaaS) presents a golden opportunity for startups to unlock the power of automation and streamline their delivery processes, all without the need to hire an in-house specialist. Even though the service seems to be promising, it doesn’t come without pitfalls, so let’s have a look at both sides of the coin.
- Starting operations without a long setup process;
- Quick time to market as a result.
- Support and maintenance are performed by a single provider;
- Which results in efficient development cycles and fast issue resolutions.
- Save costs associated with HR: hiring, professional training, and retention of personnel;
- educed investment due to provision of infrastructure and tools by the service provider.
- DevOps tools and solutions optimized for the vendor’s environment;
- Uncertainty in performance and scalability in the customer’s environment.
- Lack of compliance measures and documentation;
- Barriers for startups operating in regulated industries.
- In case of different vendors working on DevOps it might reduce insight into code and security processes;
- External validation and extra expenses might be needed.
Despite these drawbacks, DevOps as a Service is a transformative trend in product development and operations, enhancing delivery speed and quality. At Ronas IT, we offer various DevOps services, partial and those that guarantee 99% uptime for any environment.
Contact us today to explore how our DevOps services can benefit your startup.
What is DevOps as a service capable of?
Patrick Debois, who formulated the concept of DevOps in 2008, believes that DevOps is primarily a human challenge. This implies that every organization develops its own distinct DevOps culture, which is tailored to the individuals involved in it. However, to give you a better understanding of what DevOps is, we will briefly describe what we provide to our clients.
Development environment. Our team of engineers can create a workspace for our or your developers. This environment allows engineers to experiment and make changes without the fear that users will suffer any inconvenience.
Staging environment. There, our customers can watch development progress and get a real sense of how the product will perform. This allows for productive feedback and avoids misunderstandings.
Production environment. Once the software is ready, we release it to the production or live environment. As a separate service, we offer DevOps services to monitor and support infrastructure to ensure smooth application operation.
When it comes to working with a team, we have two options:
Ronas IT development team. Our team takes care of setting up the IT infrastructure needed for development, including testing, error tracking, and monitoring. This saves you time and ensures a smooth start to your project.
Customer’s development team. If you already have your own development team, we provide the necessary infrastructure and support for their development process.
Startups are an excellent fuel for progress, and who else, if not them, should adopt the best automation practices to push progress further. With the right set of tools and assistants in hand (hopefully right in front of us, but we’re not insisting), aspiring entrepreneurs can gain a competitive advantage by scaling quickly and iterating efficiently. We are always ready to help you along this path, just let us know by clicking the "Get in touch" button at the bottom of this page.