DevOps philosophy permeates the modern world of software development. The DevOps culture is a practical implementation of the Agile methodology and nowadays it is the most efficient approach in software development. Thus said, every business owner wants to implement DevOps for the seamless software development lifecycle. There are a few main DevOps principles and multiple tools to accomplish them.
DevOps Principles and Tools
DevOps as a methodology provides the automatization of routine software development processes. It can be realized by many tools and technologies. There are some main principles of DevOps implementation. For better understanding, let’s talk about these principles and tools for the implementation of every principle.
DevOps methodology presents the whole environment as code. This is called Infrastructure as Code or IaC. Such an approach is accomplished by manifests. These are files written in descriptive language, that allow changing the environment for deployment by changing a few lines in the manifest. DevOps engineers create the manifests and developers can change them for every test or any other infrastructure operation. Before the DevOps methodology, there were a lot of additional actions and mandatory presence of Quality Assurance engineers. There is an opinion that IaC is based only on CI/CD – Continuous Integration and Delivery but there are many more components. Thus, IaC enables the other following principles:
- Configuration Management
- Version Control Management
- Code Review
- Continuous Integration
- Continuous Delivery
- Monitoring and Logging
Let’s define each of them in detail.
1. Configuration Management: This point is based on making a stable, reliable and mobile environment for code deployment. With the right approach, Configuration Management allows transferring projects between teams very quickly. The environment is packed in a Docker container and can be deployed in any other place. This process is provisioned by Ansible, Chef, Puppet, Salt and other instruments.
2. Version Control Management: The most popular instrument for version control is Git. This is a distributed version control system, an open-source tool that allows you to store all the changes in your software and go to the previous version if needed. This is an invaluable tool for development and DevOps because you can control every change in the development process. The most popular Git instruments are Github and Gitlab.
3. Code Review: Github, Gitlab is useful for this point too. Code review is the process of checking the code, new functionality and comparing it with previous versions.
4. Continuous Integration (CI): CI is perceived as the basic DevOps principle. Continuous Integration allows to test code automatically and add new features to the main code as fast as possible. Practically, DevOps engineer configures the system in the way that the developer writes code and it’s tested automatically and after successful testing can be used in the main software. In general, such an approach allows making releases very fast. If an application needs some updates or adding new features, CI allows to provide it without wasting time like in the Waterfall model, for example. The most popular instruments for CI are Gitlab CI, CircleCI and Jenkins.
5. Continuous Delivery (CD): CD means you can deliver your software to end-users as fast, as possible. Before the DevOps methodology introduction, new versions of the software were delivered very slowly and rarely. Every small change needed a lot of time for implementation. CI/CD pipeline automates this process and allows to deliver new features quickly. the same tools are used for CD implementation as for CI.
6. Monitoring and Logging: This is an important point in the DevOps lifecycle. You should monitor the infrastructure performance and remove bottlenecks for uninterrupted work and updates. It’s quite difficult to do it manually, so there are some tools for logging and monitoring in the DevOps – Amazon Cloud Watch, Carbon, Prometheus, Grafana, Icinga, Google StackDriver, Kibana, ElasticSearch, Logstash, and others.
7. Analytics: At this step, DevOps engineers need to analyze the information collected from previous steps. The main way is to understand patterns and eliminate errors. This step uses the next tools – Splunk and SumoLogic.
8. Messaging: This point is accomplished by RabbitMQ and Amazon SQS. Messaging allows to store all the changes and deliver the information between system components.
Which tools are the best?
As you can see, there are multiple tools for different goals. It is hard to choose the best tool because every case is individual and might need its own set of tools. Also, we have discussed only the open-source tools, but there are a lot of proprietary toolkits too. Almost every tool has detailed documentation and FAQs, thus you can find out what is best by yourself. But still there are lots of tools and it is really hard to understand what will suit your project most.
The best way to choose the most appropriate tools is to consult with the experienced DevOps Engineer. You might hire such a specialist in your team or remotely or even hire a dedicated team that will implement DevOps methodology to your company with the best-fitting tools.
How to find the DevOps team?
It is really hard to study each and every one of them. Usually, an average DevOps engineer studies how to work with some toolkit and tries to use it in every project. This will work but this is not the most efficient way.
High-level DevOps engineers have deep understanding of the most part of tools and have practical experience in their implementation. So, for a DevOps engineer is important to work with different projects and technologies and don’t get stuck with one project for years. You can find such talents in the dedicated teams from Managed Service Provider (MSP) because work with MSP allows engineers to get a different experience and use different tools. As a result, DevOps engineers can find out what tool will suit any particular situation better and don’t get stuck with one toolkit.
If you want to find such a team, you should refer to the reliable MSP. Experienced MSPs have good reviews from previous customers, can show you successful cases and will politely answer all your questions. You can look for these companies in the worldwide ratings, for example.
Wrap up: is there one best tool?
Well, the best of the best tools is some kind of myth because the tool can be appropriate or not. Something can be great for one project and doesn’t suit others. So, the best way is to make a strategy before the implementation of tools and analyze what will be the best solution. The experienced DevOps engineer will help you with these actions.
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