Getting Started with DevOps Automation: Best Practices

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DevOps is not a new term anymore; most IT enterprises are already using this agile development methodology. It has gained immense popularity in the last few years by allowing companies to scale their IT operations. On one side, where most businesses are still unaware of DevOps’ business value, other IT industries have moved on to learn how to implement it in the best way possible.

Thus, there is an increasing demand for best practices to implement DevOps automation. Although most businesses have successfully implemented it in their development processes, some IT companies are still finding the best way to do it. But what is DevOps, why businesses need it, and how can it be implemented successfully to scale the business’s processes?

In this article, we will put some light on the DevOps concept and the best practices that can be utilized to implement it successfully.

What DevOps Stands for?

The name speaks for itself; DevOps stands for development and operations, which offers multiple processes and philosophies to drive a cultural shift to any organization by promoting effective collaboration between the operations and development teams. It consists of four key components, including collaboration, practices, culture, and tools.

As a service, it is a new discipline that enables organizations to build and deliver high-quality applications, speed time to the market, boost productivity, and reduce operational costs. It even allows you to release software quickly, solve critical issues, and manage projects effectively.

There are multiple practices and principles of DevOps that can be followed to achieve effective collaboration amongst development and operations teams.

Best Practices for DevOps

Although learning the best practices is crucial to effectively implementing DevOps, following a successful implementation strategy is more important than that. Now, as you have a basic understanding of DevOps, let’s have a look at the best practices for it.

1. Understand the Strategy for DevOps Infrastructure

In order to get the maximum from DevOps, you need to come up with a standard tools strategy that enables you to collaborate across development, testing, and deployment. Though finalizing an automation tool is also crucial, having a strategy in place is more important with the following areas:

  • Communications and collaboration planning
  • Processes
  • Continuous integration tools
  • Continuous development tools
  • Testing tools
  • Continuous deployment tools

With a common strategy in place, you can move on to execute and accomplish your business objective with DevOps. However, selecting a tool is not compulsory at this point; the tool selection can be made at a later stage. The common strategy should cope with your business objectives while offering seamless integration and collaboration between tools and team members. The primary purpose of having a strategy is to keep everything in order and execute the steps accordingly.

2. Implement Test Automation

To get the most out of a software product, it’s crucial to test it continuously. DevOps allows you to test your application during the development stages, enabling the developers to identify and resolve them. This way, you don’t have to wait for the product to be finished to find the bugs.

Manual testing takes a lot of time in executing test cases, as well as; it cannot be implemented during product development. To improve your software development life cycle, it’s crucial to implement automation testing in your DevOps operations. You can apply test automation to most of your project processes, such as database and networking changes, code development with regression testing, middleware configurations, and load testing.

However, the problem arises when it comes to selecting an automation testing tool. There are plenty of automated testing frameworks available in the market; selecting the best among them is a bit challenging. Make sure the tool you choose meets the expected criteria of your testing project. For instance, LambdaTest is a great automated testing tool that can help you scale your DevOps operations with continuous testing.

3. Focus on Continuous Integration/Delivery

Continuous integration and delivery are the two essential DevOps practices, which involve updating the code regularly in the repository. Continuous integration enables developers to perform integration on the DevOps cycle frequently. And with the help of CI tools, you can find the integration challenges quickly and resolve them before the final product release. Continuous integration helps in improving collaboration between the development teams and helps in building a high-quality product.

On the other hand, Continuous Delivery helps deliver the product releases quickly by fixing the errors in the code. It enables the development teams to build, test, and release the application to the market faster and frequently. Besides, it is advised to use a left-shift approach for the continuous integration/delivery practice. It will not only improve your product quality but also reduce manual work while minimizing the risk of failure during production.

4. Use a Centralized Unit for DevOps

DevOps involves using multiple tools and techniques for developing software products quickly, such as Splunk or Jenkins. However, most developers don’t have a centralized unit for their DevOps lifecycle. Having a centralized unit to create these tools and operating techniques will help you implement agile practices in the development cycle.

Besides, the team having control of the centralized unit will be able to maintain the tools and create multiple programs for implementing DevOps in your organization.

5. Focus on Continuous Deployment

The continuous deployment consists of multiple processes, including code creation, testing, versioning, deployment, and post-deployment. These sub-processes allow you to quickly deploy the code in the production environment after successfully passing all the test cases. Continuous deployment releases the code in multiple versions instead of deploying all of them at once.

However, continuous deployment is only feasible with automation. There are multiple tools in the market that can be utilized, from staging to your product’s production. And it doesn’t even require much human interaction.

6. Execute Acceptance Tests for Deployment Tools

Acceptance testing is a part of the deployment process, which includes the levels of acceptance for the infrastructure, applications, data, and test suites used in the product deployment. However, the tools you use for DevOps deployment also need to define the acceptance tests to ensure that they meet the acceptance criteria.

The acceptance tests can change at any time by the development or operations team. Besides, with every change in the application, there comes a need for acceptance testing. For instance, you’ll need to perform a test against the compliance issues associated with protecting certain data types to ensure that your organization meets the service-level agreement.

7. Use Automated Dashboards

Using an automation dashboard could be a bone for DevOps engineers; it not only offers data but also detailed reports and insights about various operations being carried out during the product development, including the number of tests, success, and failure of tests, etc. An automated dashboard allows team members to review setup changes to the databases while providing deployment records across the system.

By getting real-time insights into different data, you’ll be able to select the right tool for testing. Besides, you’ll get a holistic view of these changes with the automated dashboard that provides different graphs, metrics, and logs.

8. Provide Continuous Feedback to the Development Teams

Providing feedback to your team members will allow them to focus on the product development more prominently. It will enable the tests to communicate with each other to find the relevant bugs that can slow down the software product’s performance. Using an automated tool, you can even identify the artifact’s issues that make it easier for developers to understand why it occurred and when it occurred.

With continuous feedback in the DevOps development, you’ll be able to keep track of the changes in the product as well as the teams working on it.

9. Take DevOps as a Cultural Change

Most businesses haven’t adopted DevOps because they think of it as a too big deal. However, DevOps is not a new change in development; it should be considered a cultural shift that is here to revolutionize software development processes.

Though adopting DevOps is a challenging activity, it requires the entire team to work on it and find the lags in the process. And adopting DevOps is the best practice for both the development teams and the organization.

Wrap Up

Adopting DevOps is a new cultural shift that can transform the ways your organization work on software development. It consists of various practices and techniques that help in improving the software development process. This article focuses on some of the best practices to help you get started with DevOps automation. If you find this information useful, let’s know about it in the comments.

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