DevOps is crucial to your cloud-native


DevOps is crucial to your cloud-native strategy


Published on by Roshan Jonah

DevOps role in becoming a cloud-native software provider

COVID19 has changed the way we do business all around the globe and taught organisations the importance of resilience and adaptability. As we provide DevOps consulting, we’ve found that companies needed to quickly react and respond to many challenges during this pandemic that changed the landscape their businesses operated in forever. Many companies struggled during this phase as they were not cloud-native application providers. Their information systems didn’t support their business operations during a time like this. Lack of cloud adoption meant their applications and services were not agile and scalable. They couldn’t respond quickly enough to meet unforeseen challenges and support their growth during these unprecedented times. The pandemic has primarily driven faster cloud adoption and shift towards cloud-centric IT infrastructure provisioning.

Cloud-native and Agile Software Development Approach

The world of technology is changing rapidly, and so is the way software is developed, maintained, and updated. As a result, the traditional software development lifecycle (SDLC) phases of analysis, design, development, testing, implementation and maintenance are only somewhat relevant. The adoption of DevOps practices gives businesses a far more competitive edge through incremental development, acceptance of dynamic changing requirements, and higher flexibility for developers. This results in improved time to market, higher levels of automation, and responsiveness to business needs. The cloud-native approach to software development refers to this concept of building and running applications that take advantage of distributed cloud computing systems offered by the cloud delivery model. The developed software exploits the scale, elasticity, resiliency, and flexibility the cloud provides. It achieves this through containerisation, microservices, horizontal and vertical scaling, and service meshes. It is primarily API-driven, utilising service discovery and delivery pipelines through policy-driven resource provisioning.

As part of our DevOps consulting firm’s discussions with clients, we phrase it this way - the software applications that aren’t cloud-native simply cannot deliver maximum business value. A lift and shift from on-premises infrastructure to the cloud don’t help either since the applications themselves need to be capable of fully utilising the power of the cloud. Instead, it involves strategically analysing your application landscape on their dependencies to either search for cloud-native applications or develop software from the ground up to ensure they are. The benefits not just stretch to your customers but also your teams. They can quickly deploy and scale apps to address changing requirements, add features, build artifacts, run tests, and test across various environments before pushing to production without causing any company-wide downtime.

The benefits of deploying agile, resilient, cloud-native applications

  • Business edge as your organisation can collaboratively conceive ideas, build software, and ship to your customers rapidly through DevOps automation and software delivery processes.
  • Higher customer satisfaction leads to faster business growth since your software development centres around faster turnarounds for addressing your customer concerns through quicker bug fixing, speedier feature development, and undisputed push to market.
  • Cloud-native apps also enhance your customer experience, driving you towards a mobile-first approach and seamless performance.
  • Significant profitability from reduced infrastructure costs as cloud-native apps run on open source platforms like Kubernetes - containerisation technologies, achieving highly scalable, pay-per-use computing, and easy handling of dynamic workloads.
  • Broader revenue streams as your organisation can accelerate the transformation to improve efficiencies, introduce the breadth of services due to ease of development, and reduce operating costs.

How does DevOps pave the path to succeeding in a cloud-native business environment?

The DevOps model combines cultural philosophies, practices relating to SDLC, and powerful tools to enhance an organisation’s ability to respond to customers' demands, offer quality software, and reduce costs. We provide cloud DevOps consulting services to a wide range of industry clients. The aim is to enable these organisations to rapidly deliver their products and services and compete effectively in their respective markets. In addition, the methodology helps align an organisation’s development and operation functions with a significant focus on automation, continuous improvement, and creating a highly collaborative environment. There isn’t much to dictate in terms of the application to software development itself but rather on the change in culture and people, use of tools, and revisiting development processes and practices. Under this model, the development and operation teams work in cohesion to develop, test, deploy and operate. An excellent example of this is code deployment from development teams on infrastructure provisioned by the operations team. Adopting these DevOps practices helps organisations innovate faster through highly streamlined and automated software development and infrastructure provisioning processes.

Automation

A couple of practices support automating the software development lifecycle - continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD), commonly referred to as CICD pipelines. CI is a software development practice of merging code changes into a central repository (Eg. Github), after which automated builds and tests occur. The idea here is to address bugs faster, improve software quality, and reduce the time to market by releasing incremental builds. Traditionally this was a time-consuming process as team members would only merge their code when they finished making changes. Slower process in this area meant longer wait times before customers got to experience the latest and greatest version of the software or see the bug fixes. With CI, the process works seamlessly where multiple team members could push their code and have automated tests run in the background before deployment. As a result, successful code commits would make it to the production environment much quicker than it would have with the traditional method.

Continuous Improvement

From years of offering DevOps consulting, we say a few practices tie in with continuous improvement of building cloud-native software. First, after pushing the code changes and running the tests, developers can confidently rely on automated build artifacts that are production-ready. The automation of these standardised tests means the system would verify the running of the software application across multiple dimensions through UI testing, load testing, smoke testing, integration testing, API reliability testing and more. It also means various runtime environments can be created and used for testing multiple aspects of the software application. Finally, the organisations can choose what works best for them - automatic approval and deployment or manual approval (continuous delivery). Building microservices is another practice that aids in continuous improvement in the development and delivery lifecycle. They are architected as a set of more minor services instead of a monolithic application - each service specialising in fulfilling a business process or role. The design of these services are API-centric, light-weight and built around business capabilities' fulfilment. They are highly scalable, relatively easy-to-setup and design, and highly cost-effective. Developers can use the programming of their choice, which further extends and constantly improves your business services offered to your customers.

Highly Collaborative Environment

One of the primary goals of development operations (DevOps) is to break down ingrained organisation structures by promoting collaboration across various business teams from development to operations. The practice does this by physically bringing together the workflows and responsibilities of these different teams. In addition, they must work closely to share information and facilitate communication to achieve shared objectives of delivering new capabilities to their organisation quickly and efficiently. It is possible through chat applications (Eg. Mattermost, Slack etc.), issue and project tracking systems, and wikis. Using these communication channels can better meet the end users' needs and work cohesively towards meeting business goals and targets. One good example of nurturing a collaborative environment is the fast feedback from sales and marketing teams through the development phase.

If they had a say in upcoming features, the marketing teams could market it better to existing and potential customers. They can also give quality feedback as they are likely to understand the customer demands, what works in their market, and better analyse competitors' feature sets. Likewise, the sales teams have hands-on experience with potential customers on how they would like to use your product and how they can see it working within their organisations. It’s beneficial for organisations to take advantage of the immense wealth of expertise from people that work for them. For instance, a product manager might see a business opportunity. A designer might see a better visualisation of data for ease of use. An engineer might see a more straightforward way of achieving a particular function. All this is great feedback that the development team would miss out on without cooperation. Ultimately, the cultural change in organisations will enable them to take advantage of everyone’s expertise and become leaders in their respective fields.

Become automation-driven cloud-native organisation

We can help your business reduce your infrastructure costs, automate software development lifecycle and infrastructure provisioning, set up CICD pipelines, migrate your applications to the cloud, provide cloud DevOps consulting services etc. Enquire more about our managed DevOps offering.

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Roshan Jonah

I am a Son, Brother, Husband, Friend, Jesus Lover, Entrepreneur, Blogger, Software Developer, DevOps Engineer, Cloud Architect & Designer. I work under Jonah & Associates. I love simplicity & creativity. I am a big fan of technology and I am fascinated about Artificial Intelligence!

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