During the last couple of years, we’ve seen how DevOps has exploded and has become one of the most competitive differentiators for every organization, regardless of their size. When talking about DevOps, we refer to agility and collaboration, keys that unlock a business’s success. However, to make it work for your business, you have to first understand how DevOps works, and what skills are required for adopting this agile business culture. Let’s look over this in more detail.
Leaving the benefits aside, here are the three basic principles of a successful DevOps approach:
- Well-defined processes
- Enhanced collaboration across business functions
- Efficient tools and automation
DevOps skills you need
Recently, I came across an infographic showing the top positions that technology companies are struggling to fill, and DevOps was number one on the list. Surprising? Not really. If we’re looking at the skills required for a successful DevOps methodology, we will understand why finding a good DevOps engineer akin to finding a needle in a haystack. Besides communication and collaboration, which are the most obvious skills that a DevOps engineer must have, here is what draws the line between success, or failure.
- Knowledge of Infrastructure – whether we are talking about datacenter-based or cloud infrastructure, a DevOps engineer needs to have a deep understanding of different types of infrastructure and its components (virtualization, networking, load balancing, etc).
- Experience with infrastructure automation tools – taking into consideration that DevOps is mainly about automation, a DevOps engineer must have the ability to implement automation tools at any level.
- Coding – when talking about coding skills for DevOps engineers, I am not talking about just writing the code, but rather delivering solutions. In a DevOps organization, you need to have well-experienced engineers that are capable of delivering solutions.
- Experience with configuration management tools – tools such as Puppet, Chef, or Ansible are mandatory for optimizing software deployment and you need engineers with the know-how.
- Understanding continuous integration – being an essential part of a DevOps culture, continuous integration is the process that increases the engagement across the entire team and allows source code updates to be run whenever is required.
- Understanding security incident response – security is the hot button for all organizations, and one of the most pressing challenges to overcome. Having engineers that have a strong understanding of how to address various security incidents and developing a recovery plan, is mandatory for creating a solid DevOps culture.
Beside the above skills that DevOps engineers should have, there are also skills that companies need to adopt:
- Agile development – agile environment is the foundation on which the DevOps approach has been built. To get the most out of this innovative approach, your team needs to have strong collaboration capabilities to improve their delivery and quality. You can create your dream team by teaching different agile approaches such as Scrum, Kaizen, and Kanban.
- Process reengineering – forget everything you knew. This is one good piece of advice. The DevOps approach has been developed to polish and improve the traditional Software Development Lifecycle but also to highlight and encourage collaboration among teams, so an element of unlearning is required.
The DevOps approach has changed the way people collaborate with each other, and improving not only the processes, but their products and services as well. Here are the benefits:
- Ensure faster delivery times – every business owner wants to see his product or service on the market as soon as possible, and the DevOps approach manages to do that. Moreover, since you decrease the time-to-market, you will increase your ROI; what more could you ask for?
- Continuous release and deployment – having strong continuous release and deployment practices, the DevOps approach is the perfect way to ensure the team is continuously delivering quality software within shorter timeframes.
- Improve collaboration between teams – there has always been a gap between the development and operation teams, a gap that has disappeared once DevOps was born. Today, in order to deliver high-quality software, the devs and ops are forced to collaborate, share, and revise strategies together, acting as a single unit.
Bottom line, DevOps is an essential approach that has changed not only results and processes, but also the way in which people interact with each other. Judging by the way it has progressed, it’s safe to assume that it’s here to stay.
About the Author
Rick Blaisdell is an experienced CTO, offering cloud services and creating technical strategies, which reduce IT operational costs and improve efficiency. He has 20 years of product, business development, and high-tech experience with Fortune 500 companies, developing innovative technology strategies.