This article is a part of our DevOps blog series inspired by our DevOps bootcamp live streams available to watch on our YouTube channel.
What is DevOps? Civo DevOps Bootcamp 2021
The process of building and deploying an application involves many steps. Development and operations both play a vital role in the complete deployment. This article will discuss the set of practices that combines software development and IT operations, also known as DevOps. We will look at the architecture and the components that made DevOps one of the practices that developers follow while developing and deploying an application. Let's start!
What is DevOps?
DevOps is fast paced, easy to adopt relationship between development and operations. Moreover, it combines cultural philosophies and tools that helps in quick delivering of products and services. DevOps practices result in the improvement and evolution of the products.
The fast pace helps a company or an organization compete effectively by inheriting customers and improving productivity.
The architecture of DevOps consists of several components, and we will discuss them in this section. The different elements of the DevOps Architecture all work together to accelerate the building, testing, monitoring and developing an application. The architecture uses agile development to ensure integration and delivery can be in sequence. Let's take a brief look at the various components that create the architecture:
- Plan - Planning is the first component of the architecture related to the development part. As DevOps uses an agile methodology, it helps in planning the development. With the development and operations team in synchronization, the productivity of the organization increases.
- Code - With good practices such as Git, you can use the code accordingly. Also, you can track changes along with getting notifications between the actual and expected output. Again, you can arrange the code in files, folders, etc., with the ability to reuse it.
- Test - The next component of the architecture is the test. The test is a vital part of the development of an application. With testing, the application will be ready for production. Manual testing takes a lot of time to move the code to the output, whereas automated testing is much faster as with automation, you can automate the scripts, which will remove the manual steps.
- Build - Build is a mechanism that helps control the resources or capacity required for an application. It includes the usage of the cloud, sharing of resources, etc.
- Release - Release helps in the release of the deployed application in the production environment. Also, automation helps manage the many processes involved in the release management, which lessens the impact on the customers.
- Deploy - With deployment dashboard, the cloud management platform helps capture insights and analytics and optimize scenarios.
- Monitor - Monitoring helps in effective tracking of the system, helping check the health of an application. It also helps reduce the risk of failure, as with monitoring, you can check the log data effectively.
- Operate - Operate helps in operating collaboratively between the development and testing teams to participate throughout the service lifecycle actively. The operation team also plays a vital role in interacting with the developers to create a monitoring plan that helps serve IT requirements.
Lifecycle of DevOps
DevOps has several lifecycle phases which have their own importance. These phases indicate a specific process from the building of the application to the deployment in the production. The whole idea is they feed to each other and influence the steps that come after them. Let's take a look at those:
Continuous development can be seen as the first phase of the DevOps lifecycle. It refers to the planning and writing of the application based on business requirements translated into code. The planning helps in deciding the project's vision and integrating feedback from various sources such as operational monitoring. Developers write code to satisfy these requirements.
Continuous Integration or CI is fundamental to quick changes delivered fast, but it's part of the bigger picture. In this phase, developers commit small changes in the code after reviews quite frequently, and every time new changes get committed, testing takes place.
Finally, after that, the building gets started, which helps early detection of problems in the application. Building a code not only involves committing the code but also involves unit testing, integration testing, code reviewing, and packaging.
After building the code, testing and staging take place. Finally, with the deployment, the continuous integration phase comes to an end.
From building to deployment, CI pipelines maintain the whole process. A pipeline contains all the required tasks for running automated tests and integrations. It also includes tasks for the compilation and release of the deployed application.
Many tools and services offer this. The most notable ones are Gitlab CI/CD, Travis CI, Jenkins, Circle CI, etc.
Continuous Testing involves rigorous testing of the software for helping in the detection of bugs. This phase includes thorough testing of all components of the application to ensure it functions flawlessly. For most cases, analysts use Docker containers for simulating the test environments.
Automated testing helps generate the reports, which helps in detecting bugs. In addition, they are faster than manual testing as it helps in automating the scripts. Hence, the testings will be less time-consuming. After testing, the code gets integrated with the existing codebase.
Tools like Selenium helps in automated testing and generate test reports that help evaluate failed test cases. Selenium is a web testing framework. It can be useful for website testing, but each language will have its own testing framework and solutions. There may be multiple testing frameworks running in parallel for the various components of an application depending on what language they are written in.
Monitoring is the phase of the DevOps lifecycle, which helps identify the problem areas by recording and carefully processing important information about the use of the software. However, it also involves the operational factors of the entire lifecycle. In most cases, the operational capabilities of the software include monitoring.
Monitoring with some of its features helps in maintaining the software's security and availability and also detects system errors such as server faults, low memory, etc. In addition, continuous monitoring helps generate log reports in documents or large-scale data about the application parameters.
Improvement in application development comes from analyzing feedback from the software operations. In addition, constant feedback between the operations and development helps release an updated version of the software.
After developing the application and building the code, we need to deploy the application to see the functionality. The Continuous Deployment (CD) phase involves deploying code to production servers.
Containerization plays an essential part in the deployment phase. It helps produce consistency across development, staging, testing, and production environments. Also, it helps in scaling up and down instances softly. Some notable tools that help in this process are Docker, Vagrant, and Kubernetes.
The containerization tools help in packaging and replicating the same dependencies that had their usage in the development, staging, and testing environment. Hence, it produces no errors in the production environment, making an application easy to run on different machines.
Configuration management also plays a vital role in the deployment phase. As deploying the new code happens continuously, it helps in executing tasks frequently and quickly. Configuration management tools like Chef, Ansible, Saltstack, etc., helps in the process.
Continuous Operations is the last phase of the DevOps lifecycle. This phase helps in the complete automation of the release process with the continuity of the DevOps operations. It helps an organization to accelerate the overall time to market continuously.
From all of the above discussions, we can conclude that continuity is one of the critical factors of DevOps, which helps remove several unnecessary steps that make a fast-paced development and production of an application. We have talked about what DevOps is, its architecture, and its different components. Also, we have seen the several phases of the DevOps lifecycle and have understood how it can make a product efficient and increase its customer count. I hope you have enjoyed this article and learned from it. See you in the next one.