Innovate faster with DevOps

DevOps is firmly in the mainstream today and it’s one of the key trends in software development to emerge recently. The genesis of DevOps comes from an increasing need for innovation on the systems side of technology work. In 2009 there were some important presentations about the developer/operations collaboration. On one of them Patrick Debois from Belgium and Andrew “Clay” Shafer from the US met in Ghent, Belgium and coined the term “DevOps”, and then it was popularized through a series of “DevOpsDays”. The concept, now that it had a name, started to be talked up more in other venues.

The term “DevOps” is emerging from the collision of two major related terms. “Dev” is used as shorthand for developers in particular, but really in practice it is even wider and means “all the people involved in developing the product,” which can include Product, QA, and other kinds of disciplines. “Ops” is a blanket term for systems engineers, system administrators, operations staff, release engineers, DBAs, network engineers, security professionals, and various other sub disciplines and job titles.

In this transformational view, DevOps aims to reduce conflicts that arise when developers are focused on meeting business demands to add functionality and improve the usability of applications whereas operations teams are traditionally more focused on the stability and security of the computing environments. It tries to educate developers on operational responsibilities and educate operations teams on how to serve business needs smarter and faster.

Meanwhile, the term “DevOps” is also being used in a different way. In its most broad meaning (as I mentioned before) – DevOps is an operational philosophy that promotes better communication between development and operations. However, in its most narrow interpretation, DevOps describes the organizational structure, practices, and culture needed to enable rapid agile development and scalable, reliable operations.

DevOps is about the culture, collaborative practices, and automation that align development and operations teams so they have a single mindset on improving customer experiences, responding faster to business needs, and ensuring that innovation is balanced with security and operational needs.

The DevOps movement inherits from the Agile System Administration movement and the Enterprise Systems Management (ESM) movement. DevOps is simply extending Agile principles beyond the boundaries of “the code” to the entire delivered service that includes close collaboration of customers, product management, developers, and (sometimes) QA to fill in the gaps and rapidly iterate towards a better product. What DevOps hopes to bring to Agile is the understanding and practice that software isn’t done until it’s successfully delivered to a user and meets their expectations around availability, performance, and pace of change.

DevOps also places emphasis on empathy and encourages developers and IT operators to understand each other’s roles better so they can adjust their work to easily accommodate the other party and collaborate more effectively. Companies that practice DevOps have reported significant benefits, including:

•   significantly shorter time to market,
•   improved customer satisfaction,
•   better product quality,
•   more reliable releases,
•   improved productivity and efficiency,
•   increased ability to build the right product by fast experimentation.

But there are still a lot of unsolved problems around the delivery of software and maintenance of services and making it fast, reliable and secure. If someone wants to use what they’ve learned from DevOps to go to be a larger scope corporate consultant that’s fine, but most people involved in DevOps are technical practitioners who are looking for better ways to do their job, not someone else’s. DevOps has already been derided for putting too much of a burden on developers, for raising unrealistic expectations about “dev” and “ops” finally getting along, and so on.

As DevOps is a truly cross-functional mode of working, there is no single “DevOps tool”: it is rather a set (or “toolchain”) of multiple tools. DevOps tools tend to fit into one or more of these categories, reflective of key aspects of the development and delivery process:

•   Code — code development and review, source code management tools, code merging;
•   Build — continuous integration tools, build status;
•   Test — continuous testing tools that provide feedback on business risks;
•   Package — artifact repository, application pre-deployment staging;
•   Release — change management, release approvals, release automation;
•   Configure — infrastructure configuration and management, Infrastructure as Code tools;
•   Monitor — applications performance monitoring, end-user experience.

Tools are essential for organizations to streamline their software development. To help your DevOps process, I have searched for the best tools for DevOps engineers available on the market today. These tools must include relevant and useful features, support several languages and operating systems, and be known for their reliability and security.

  1. Jenkins is automation server that supports developers as they build, deploy and automate their projects. Users can employ Jenkins as a continuous integration (CI) server or leverage it for continuous delivery (CD). Easy to install and configure, the platform is customizable with nearly every type of CI and CD utility via plugins. Jenkins also allows users to distribute their work across multiple machines.
  2. Chef is a platform designed to help organizations manage their infrastructure. The Chef Server stores an enterprise’s “cookbooks” or repositories which houses information about the desired state of a customer’s infrastructure on which the Chef client runs and obtains configuration information. Chef helps organizations manage all their on-premises and cloud environments as well as accelerates the process of enterprises adopting the cloud.
  3. Ansible is an automation engine that enables IT admins to automate parts of their daily tasks. Enterprises that use Ansible stand to benefit from increased accountability and compliance in their IT environments as well as innovation and collaboration among their employees. Organizations can also take their Ansible deployment one step further with Tower, which adds control, security and other capabilities that enterprises can monitor with a UI and RESTful API.
  4. Docker is an infrastructure-neutral platform that integrates into any environment and provides full stack portability for apps. The framework comes with certified containers that enterprises can use to build secure, safer applications. Organizations may choose the Enterprise Edition, which streamlines app development and production across locations running Windows and Linux.
  5. Puppet technology helps organizations know what’s in their infrastructure and learn how those assets are configured in their data center, virtualized and cloud infrastructure, and containers. The tool helps enterprises remain compliant while allowing them to make changes while their business needs evolve. For instance, organizations can automate with Puppet to scale up or down into the cloud while preserving the desired state of their infrastructure and applications.
  6. Git is a version control system (VCS) tool, which helps developers manage their projects with speed and efficiency. It’s free and open-source, which means anyone can use it. One of its signature features is a branching model that allows developers to create multiple local branches, or pointers to a commit, that are independent of one another. Developers can then merge, create, or delete these branches as their infrastructure evolves.
  7.   The focus of JIRA is to streamline the collaborative efforts of software teams. Teams can use the tool to distribute tasks to each and every member. They can then leverage JIRA’s real-time, visual data to track their goals and improve their overall performance. Additionally, JIRA provides software teams with an out-of-the-box solution for shipping out software as well as the opportunity to create their own custom workflows.
  8. Visual Studio is an integrated development environment (IDE) created by Microsoft that allows enterprises to create computer programs like applications and services for machines running Windows, Mac, Android, iOS, the web, and the cloud. The IDE platform covers the entire software development and production lifecycle, empowering developers to write their programs, debug and test them, collaborate with one another, and release the software to the market.


Over the past eight years and more than 27,000 State of DevOps survey responses, it’s been found that DevOps practices yield remarkable results for IT teams and organizations. DevOps helps them embrace a “go fast” mode of IT while modernizing classic infrastructure.

DevOps is often said to be more of a philosophy or a collaborative IT culture rather than a strictly-defined job description or skill set. Because the area is so broad, DevOps positions may be more suited to IT generalists than specialists. Most entry-level DevOps jobs require a degree in computer science or a related field that covers coding, QA testing and IT infrastructure components. Higher-level positions may require advanced degrees in systems architecture and software design. Actually at Altabel Group we have wide experience in providing our clients with such kind of specialists.

And finally I would like to note, that there’s not one path to DevOps – there’s just what works in your organization. Therefore it’s hard to give a generic playbook for how you can get it implemented. Observe how other popular things in your organization have arisen and gained currency and try those same channels.

Thanks for reading!