The term “DevOps” is a phrase that was coined by Patrick Debois approximately ten years ago. It is used to describe the methodology behind operation and development engineers working together from design to development. Developing a strong understanding of DevOps allows you to experience improvements regarding the efficiency and quality of the development of your mobile application. What does that mean in terms of the future of DevOps? In the coming years, we can expect to see some significant changes.
Mark Debney from 6poin6 writes, “Whilst DevOps culture will be integrated into development teams. For those of us with DevOps in our job title, I see the role evolving into a cloud specialty with a focus on optimising the usage of cloud technologies, working as specialist centralised development teams creating tools to augment and aid the development process, providing guidance and best practice across an organisation’s rapidly changing cloud estate.”
What is DevOps?
DevOps is a combination of software development and information technology operations that enables businesses to deliver applications at a faster pace. It brings together development and operations teams so there are fewer redundancies in the software development process.
There was a growing divide between the product’s creation and its support before the world of DevOps. The silos led to delays in production. Even after Agile methodology got customers, developers, managers, and QA working together, operations, and infrastructure wasn’t addressed. The product’s delivery and infrastructure can be seen as an extension of Agile when looking at DevOps.
DevOps: What is the CALMS Model?
The CALMS model is essentially the framework for DevOps, and it was created by Damon Edwards and John Willis, authors of the DevOps Cafe podcast, in 2010. CALMS is an acronym for Culture, Automation, Lean, Measurement, and Sharing.
- Culture: focuses on people and embraces change and experimentation.
- Automation: is continuous delivery with infrastructure as code.
- Lean: focuses on producing value for the end-user utilizing small batches.
- Measurement: measures everything while simultaneously showing the improvements.
- Sharing: open information sharing using collaboration and communication.
Daniel Greene of TechCrunch writes, “You can visualize DevOps as a conveyor belt, where many checks and balances are in place, at all stages, to ensure any bundle coming down the belt is removed if it’s not good enough and delivered to the end of the belt (e.g. production) safely and reliably if it is.”
What Does This Mean for the Future of DevOps?
One of the critical new standards when it comes to product development is cloud computing. Cloud computing calls for a separation between development and deployment. In turn, it makes a DevOps pipeline crucial to a business for maintaining that separation. As software continues to depend more and more on multiple clouds, it will lead to containerization of software. As a result, traditional functions of DevOps are expected to see a dramatic shift.
For one, as the industry continues making shifts toward software management using standardized frameworks, DevOps professionals will have more time to drive efficient innovations. These professionals will also have more time to tackle the challenges they face regarding managing large clusters of complex applications across technology stacks.
Two, DevOps professionals will need to respond to changing technologies as multi-cloud environments mature and evolve. These professionals will also be responding to the power of these platforms and making adaptations to ensure their software is getting the most benefits out of them. They will also need to understand the cloud platform’s native features and communicate them to their teams. That way, they can minimize the amount of work occurring throughout the deployment.
What Are the Trends Regarding DevOps?
Growing trends are also occurring in the world of cloud computing and it’s relationship to DevOps:
- There’s an increase in diversity of cloud services which are leading to multi-could and hybrid infrastructures.
- Data managers are facing more requirements regarding the emergence of DataOps.
Kit Merker writes, “The emerging methods of DataOps draw directly from the key principles of DevOps — automation to help distributed teams support frequent and continuous integration and delivery. In the same way that DevOps helps developers, quality assurance, and operations to smoothly and securely collaborate, DataOps provides the same benefits to the joint efforts of developers, data scientists, data engineers, and operations.”
When more than one cloud management platform is utilized in a single IT environment, it’s a multi-could accommodation. This occurs for several reasons, including:
- to minimize downtime through redundancy
- reduce data loss and sprawl
- avoid vendor lock-in
- provide versatility to meet a team’s varying project needs
As a result, DevOps teams must work toward meeting multi-cloud needs by becoming more scalable and Agile. It’s possible to achieve this goal utilizing continuous release and integration, as well as automation.
There may be problems with DevOps attempting to keep up by continuing to do the same thing, but quicker. The main reason is traditional DevOps apps are monolithic. Therefore, cloud-based applications are wiser to use. That way, they’re easier to scale, automate, and move.
Recommended Reading: DevOps Best Practices
More Focus on Automation
DevOps is becoming an industry standard for many businesses. According to a report issued by Capgemini, 60% of businesses either adopted DevOps or planned to do so during 2018. Statistics like this one demonstrates that DevOps is a necessary part of your business plan if you expect to respond quickly to the demands of the market, improve your business’s time-to-market, and keep your software solutions updated regularly.
Many businesses wonder if automation can be continuous, on-demand, always optimal, and contextual. Do you know the six “C’s” of the DevOps cycle? Understanding this cycle will help you apply them better between the different stages of automation. Here they are:
- Continuous Business Planning
- Collaborative Development
- Continual Testing
- Sustained Release and Deployment
- Ongoing Monitoring
- Collaborative Customer Feedback & Optimization
Smart implementation of automation means continuous updates of the DevOps structure can occur as developers deliver content to users despite changes. However, it also means a DevOp’s work is on-going. Automation is going to continue taking hold in the future of DevOps. The problem is many organizations are automating too much. As a result, communications are breaking down among teams.
As the industry continues to grow, more DevOps automation tools are going to roll out. That’s where developers will need skills to know which ones possess features that can be automated and which require an engineer. Otherwise, businesses will find themselves implementing what is new and causing problems with automation instead of making it work to their benefit.
These needs will eventually be met by AIOps, which stands for artificial intelligence for IT operations. Organizations must understand that automation has reached a point of inflection regarding adoption and implementation. Because of this it’s not yet subsumed by AIOps. As a result, it makes sense to carefully examine how automation should be utilized to meet demands better.
Torsten Volk, managing research director for containers, DevOps, machine learning, and AI at Enterprise Management Associates, states, “The future of DevOps requires what I like to call ‘continuous everything.’ This means that security, compliance, performance, usability, cost, and all other critical software components are automatically and continuously implemented without slowing down the release process. In short, the optimal DevOps process is fully automated and directly synchronized with rapidly changing corporate requirements.”
Code Will Become a Required Skill
Statistics indicate that, as of 2018, 86% of businesses have either implemented DevOps or plan to do so. As a result, this means organizations must invest in their DevOps engineers. However, due to the quick pace, technologies are changing, it’s challenging for individuals and businesses to keep up with their DevOps skills.
The following three categories will help DevOps professionals gain a sturdy grip on cultivating their expertise:
- Ability: This is the level at which a DevOps professional can perform their tasks. Ability is natural, as opposed to skills and knowledge which are learned. Often, many DevOps professionals currently working in the field possess natural abilities.
- Knowledge: This is something that’s learned. For example, a DevOps professional is born with the knowledge of the inner-workings of Jenkins. Therefore, they must obtain knowledge of it using instruction and personal study. It’s critical for DevOps professionals to continuously learn, review, and understand the latest information regarding DevOps best practices, systems, and technologies.
- Skill: This is something that is learned through experience or training. Ultimately, DevOps professionals are applying what knowledge they’ve obtained to situations they’re experiencing in real-life. These skills can only be further improved by a DevOps professional with practice.
Learning Code: The Critical Need
One of the most significant demands in DevOps is testers who know how to code and automate scripts. They do this to test various cases. If you’re not sure how these skills, the recommendation is that you learn how to code immediately. You’ll find that, when you understand the various tools for DevOps and how to automate scripts, these skills play a critical role in today’s software development.
The expectation is that, if testers don’t learn code within their automated scripts, they’ll perish. Manual testing is time-consuming, and the expectation is that it will become obsolete before 2020. Automation not only ensures the market receives features faster, but it also increases the efficiency in testing.
According to Andrae Raymond, programmer and software consultant at Software Stewards, “When proper tests are in place, you can rest assured that each function is doing what it was written to do. From all stages from development to deployment we can run tests to make sure the entire system is intact with new features.”
Coding Creates Security Barriers
DevOps engineers can also write and deploy secure code quickly. In doing so, they’re protecting businesses from unwanted attacks. They’re also ensuring applications and systems have a defense mechanism in place to protect against the most common cybersecurity vulnerabilities.
Engineers will find that coding is an on-going process that undergoes many changes and updates. Therefore, a DevOps engineer must have flexibility. What that means is they’re continuously integrating and developing new operations and systems into code. While doing this, they’ll be utilizing flexible working skills and adapting to the code’s changes.
It’s also vital that engineers are comfortable with moving from various areas of a software construction to another. No matter if it’s deployment, integration, testing, or releasing–they must be able to move seamlessly.
Because code is continuously changing, engineers are also required to make on-the-spot decisions. They’ll be fixing incoherent code elements and, as a result, quick decisions are required. These coding changes must occur rapidly to ensure development and deployment can occur. It’s this kind of confidence that makes a successful coding engineer.
Security Implementation Will be a Driver
Security plays a significant role in the world of DevOps. The more automation occurs, the more problems can arise. That means, the more connected we become, the more exposure we also create.
What are the Benefits of Security Implementation?
- Improvements in the effectiveness and efficiency of operations.
- Teams across the company experience healthier and stronger collaborations.
- Security teams experience stronger agility.
- Quality assurance and automated builds have a more conducive environment.
- Easier to identify vulnerabilities for applications and systems.
- More freedom to focus on high-value projects.
- The cloud experiences improved scalability.
- An increase in the company’s ROI.
Make Security a Priority
Because DevOps practices are driven by (CI/CD) integrations and deployments that occur continuously, big releases are replaced by faster, agile release cycles. It’s possible to address your customer’s needs and demands daily by using the CI/CD pipeline to employ rapid changes. Because it’s possible to automate the CI/CD pipeline, security must be a priority. Therefore, it cannot be thought of as an add-on feature. Instead, it must be included in the software’s design.
Anthony Israel-Davis writes, “As with prevention, DevOps is uniquely positioned to take advantage of detective controls. In traditional IT environments, detection tends to be a runtime concern, with DevOps, detection, correction, and prevention can be wrapped into the pipeline itself before anything hits the production environment.”
Even though DevOps and security have always worked in conjunction with each other, you must ensure your developers are using the same software packages, dependencies, and environments throughout the software development process. The expectation is that, as DevOps continues growing in the world of IT and being adapted globally, more focus will be placed on it in the fields of cloud computing, IoT, and security.
Expect Some Challenges
Despite solving many challenges throughout the software development process, DevOps security does introduce new ones. According to a survey conducted by SANS, fewer than 46% of IT security professionals are “confronting security risks upfront in requirements and service design in 2018–and only half of respondents are fixing major vulnerabilities.”
As a result, environments end up with an uncoordinated, reactive approach to incident mitigation and management. Under many circumstances, this lack of coordination isn’t apparent until incidents occur, and a system attack or break occurs.
Security breaches can reap havoc on systems that have long-term effects. One example of a massive breach is Uber’s in late 2016. Two hackers broke into the company’s network, stealing personal data, including names, email addresses, and phone numbers of 57 million Uber users. During this breach, the hackers also stole the driver’s license numbers of 600,000 Uber drivers. According to Bloomberg, they used Uber’s GitHub account, which is where Uber’s engineers track projects and store code, to obtain the username and password. Then, they were able to access Uber’s data that was stored in one of Amazon’s servers.
Security is Everyone’s Responsibility
Jayne Groll, co-founder, and CEO of the DevOps Institute states, “DevSecOps basically says security is everybody’s responsibility with security as code. We need to start testing security much earlier in the cycle rather than making it a downstream activity. I think the security community is starting to embrace that from a tools perspective and for their personal future. I think two years from now we are going to see security as code being the norm.”
The problem with this security breach is Uber paid off the hackers to keep them quiet. However, it wasn’t long until the data breach was eventually discovered. At that point, it became a nightmare regarding public relations. Dara Khosrowshahi, Uber’s C.E.O. at the time of the hack, indicated in a statement, “While I can’t erase the past, I can commit on behalf of every Uber employee that we will learn from our mistakes.” Khosrowshahi remains on Uber’s board of directors.
When a DevOps environment is running securely, it’s operating on different policies, processes, and tools to facilitate secure and rapid releases. Use the Uber example, there needed to be a final scan to ensure there were no credentials left embedded anywhere in the code. When these pieces come together, they provide a bulletproof security system throughout the development, release, and management phases of the application.
That’s where DevSecOps comes into play. DevSecOps is a combination of both security and privacy. It’s where security is implemented into the design lifecycle of software development. In doing so, there are fewer vulnerabilities. These security features also help bring security features closer to meeting business objectives and IT standards. Use of these models helps ensure everyone is responsible for security.
Protection Against New Risks
DevSecOps offers protections against the new types of risks found when introducing CI/CD within the testing framework of DevOps. Security checks are now integrated into the process while building the code. DevSecOps covers the analysis of code, automated security controls, and post-deployment monitoring. Because DevOps professionals remain engaged throughout the process, they’ll find and mitigate issues before launching.
As a result, the development process is a more cohesive experience, as well as an improved user experience. Thanks to the improvements in the delivery chain, users receive feature updates quicker, more secure software, and they no longer have to deal with technology that lags.
Microservice Architecture Will Increase in Demand
Lately, microservices and DevOps are synonymous with each other. When you need an architectural approach to building applications, microservices provide this solution. Because microservices provide an architectural framework that is loosely coupled and distributed, the entire app won’t break when one team makes changes. One of the most significant benefits for using microservices is that it’s possible for development teams to build new components of apps rapidly. That way, they can continuously meet the ever-evolving business market.
Adam Bertram of CIO writes, “Microservices is especially useful for businesses that do not have a pre-set idea of the array of devices its applications will support. By being device- and platform-agnostic, microservices enables businesses to develop applications that provide consistent user experiences across a range of platforms, spanning the web, mobile, IoT, wearables, and fitness tracker environments. Netflix, PayPal, Amazon, eBay, and Twitter are just a few enterprises currently using microservices.”
What are the Benefits of Microservices Architecture?
The expectation is that companies are going to move to use microservices architecture as a way of increasing their delivery efficiency and runtime. However, you mustn’t be making these changes because other companies are making this move. Instead, have a firm grasp of the benefits of microservices architecture. They include:
- Embracing automation and DevOps.
- There’s a reduction in writing long, intricate lines of code.
- Communication will improve among testing, QA, and development teams.
- Finding and addressing bugs becomes quicker and easier.
- Lightweight servers create faster startup times.
- Independent scaling is available for each service.
See Problems Before Going Live
The cloud-native and microservices with DevOps means testing and production are integrated into the app lifecycle. Therefore, before going live, you can see problems by testing and troubleshooting. Organizations should keep in mind that, even though there is a multitude of benefits regarding microservice architectures, they’re not the ideal solution for all companies. The main reasons are they’re complex, require cultural changes, are expensive, and pose security challenges.
That doesn’t mean, however, microservice architectural frameworks doesn’t come with a set of benefits. For example, their design is such that they address the limitations found in monolithic architectures. Microservice architectures work toward modularizing an application into unique services to increase granularity.
Here are several benefits of using microservices architecture:
- Companies can perform onboarding easier.
- There’s less risk when microservices are implemented.
- Microservices offer flexible storage for data.
- Polyglot programming is enabled with microservices.
- The reduction of clutter occurs.
- There’s an increase in fault isolation and tolerance.
- Companies experience an increase in the speed of deployment.
- Scalability is available.
- Security monitoring is simplified.
One of the most significant features of microservice architecture is that it’s scalable. You’ll find that it’s possible to scale each microservice independently. For example, if you need more power for one specific function, you can add it to the microservice providing that function. As demand changes, computing resources can automatically be increased or decreased as the changes in demand occur. As a result, it’s easier to maintain the infrastructure supporting your application.
It’s also possible to develop and deploy microservices independently. In doing so, development teams can focus on small, valuable features and deploy them. These deployments can occur without the fear of breaking down other parts of the application. Thanks to their small set of functionality, microservices are more robust and easier to test.
DevOps professionals know that every customer comes with a unique set of needs. Therefore, they commonly have configurations built in to meet those needs without separate applications deploying. Because microservices are separated and designed by functionality, it would be simple to toggle a feature on, allowing users to disable or enable particular microservices. When microservice architecture is designed correctly, it can be highly configurable without any worry of other parts of the application be affected.
CI Pipelines Will Become Obsolete
Currently, organizations and government entities are utilizing open source, and it’s the focus of their software development stacks. However, it wasn’t that long ago that open source was considered high-risk. With the recent acquisition of Red Hat from IBM and GitHub from Microsoft, which are homes of a variety of open source projects, this shows the general populace feels comfortable with open source. There will be increasing importance regarding DevOps and open-source practices. Specifically, DevOps teams will be using it in their Continuous Integration (CI) practices.
When you’re viewing a CI pipeline, it’s possible to see your app’s complete picture from its source control straight through to production. Now, CI isn’t your only priority. You also have to focus on CD (continuous delivery). What that means is, it’s time for your organization to invest its time and put effort into understanding how to automate your complete software development process. The main reason is that the future of DevOps is shifting away from CI pipelines and toward assembly lines.
What are CI Pipelines?
For those who don’t have a firm understanding of what a CI pipeline is, CI stands for Continuous Integration. Over the last few years, Continuous Integration has evolved tremendously. Initially, it launched as a system to automate the build and unit testing for each code; however, it’s evolved into a complex workflow. For example, the classic CI pipeline involved three steps, including build, test, and push. It’s evolved into other workflows, including CI pipelines that include forked stages, escalating, and notifications.
What are DevOps Assembly Lines?
DevOps Assembly Lines focus primarily on the automation and connection of activities several teams perform. These activities include CI for devs, config mgmt for Ops and infrastructure provisioning, deployments for multiple environments, test automation for Test, security patching for SecOps, and so on. Under most circumstances, an organization utilizes a suite of tools to automate specific DevOps activities. However, achieving CI is a challenging task because the DevOps toolchain is fragmented and difficult to glue back together.
Many teams adopt one of the following methods:
- Gluing silos together using cultural collaboration.
- Triggering one activity from another by writing ad-hoc scripts.
The second approach is better because it doesn’t introduce unnecessary human-dependancy steps or inefficiency. However, it only works well when working with one application using a small team.
Ultimately, DevOps teams solve this problem using Assembly Lines to address it by focusing on gluing together each activity into even-driven, streamlined workflows. These workflows can share state, as well as other information, easily across activities.
“There are significant benefits for companies to automate their software delivery process.” Manish Mathuria, CTO of Infostretch, explains, “advanced software development shops can put releases into production multiple times a day.”
What’s the Difference Between CI pipelines and Assembly Lines?
The CI pipeline features one activity in the entire Assembly Line. When breaking the project down into a chain of blocks, you can see a pipeline full of various activities. Each activity fulfills a specific need regarding configuration, notifications, runtime, tools integration, and so on. Different teams also own each pipeline, but they need to interact and exchange information with other pipelines.
Therefore, DevOps Assembly Lines are ultimately a pipeline created for pipelines. That means they must support:
- Workflows across a variety of pipelines while quickly defining them.
- Reusable and versioned workflows.
- The ability to enable scaling for and rapid changes of microservices and (or) multiple applications.
- Integrations with every source control system, artifact repository, DevOps tool, cloud, and so on.
- Run-time to execute all pipelines.
- Playbooks and Accelerators for standard tools and pipelines.
- Manual approval gates or automatic triggers between all pipelines.
Serverless Technologies Will Provide Agility
One of the most significant problems DevOps teams had when working in earlier years is they worked separately in silos. These conditions led to a lack of transparency and poor teamwork. In many cases, DevOps teams need to merge, consolidate, and work together during the application’s lifecycle. Many times, this occurs right from development to deployment and throughout testing.
Delivering capabilities by leveraging functions as a service is the goal of DevOps professionals who have masters operating containerized workloads in complex ways. They’re achieving this goal by optimizing and streamlining this delivery. Throughout the next year, the depth and breadth on the focus of these functions will likely deepen. The main reason is that more professionals will recognize the benefits of working with serverless technologies as they become more comfortable leveraging containers in production.
“With the serverless approach it’s virtually impossible (or at least a bit pointless) to write any code without having at least considered how code will be executed and what other resources it requires to function,” writes Rafal Gancarz, “Serverless computing can be used to enable the holy grail of business agility – continuous deployment. With continuous deployment, any change merged into the code mainline gets automatically promoted to all environments, including production.”
Why Are Serverless Technologies Beneficial?
Some of the most significant ways serverless computing is providing benefits and agility to DevOps include:
- better start-up times
- improved resource utilization
- finger-grained management
However, despite these benefits, future DevOps professionals will become skilled at determining use cases whereby serverless computer and functions as a service are appropriate.
Agility and DevOps can work in conjunction with each other seamlessly without creating a hostile environment. The reality is the two working together create a holistic work environment by filling in the weaknesses each possess. In many workplaces, the future of DevOps is likely to compliment instead of supplanting Agile.
Creation of Modular Compartments
Often, Agile breaks down projects and creates modular and compartmentalized components. When there are more significant, organizational structures, this often leads to a lack of communication between teams and missed deadlines. Using DevOps deployment means internal structures of Agile teams that are kept in one place.
When thinking about the use of serverless computing, that doesn’t mean there aren’t any servers in use. Instead, machine resources are allocated by a cloud provider. However, the server management doesn’t have to be on the developer’s radar. That frees up time for focusing on building the best applications.
The cloud provider does everything else. When handling resource scaling, they make it automatic and flexible. Organizations are responsible for paying for only the resources they use, as well as when resources are used by applications. If organizations aren’t using resources, there’s no cost. Therefore, there’s no need for pre-provisioning or over-provisioning for storage or computing.
Serverless computing provides business agility because it makes it possible to create an environment whereby there are continuous developmental improvements. When organizations become agile enough for rapid decision-making, agility occurs and will lead them to success. Companies utilizing serverless computing to achieve DevOps will ultimately achieve greater agility.
Experience Changes Regarding IT
Organizations will also find that serverless computing doesn’t end with a path toward DevOps. It also leads to changes regarding IT, as well. For example, companies will be viewing the cloud differently. What that means is, because serverless computing relies heavily on the cloud, many long-standing IT roles will be redefined. Examples of these roles include architects, engineers, operations, and so on.
Traditional IT roles in a serverless computing world become less important. However, if that IT professional has a good working knowledge of the cloud and platforms, that becomes more important. That means this professional can accomplish more with the platform in comparison to a developer with expertise regarding their specialty, making it essential for organizations to have IT professionals who are skilled regarding the cloud.
The Future of DevOps: Conclusion
According to Grand View Research, “The global DevOps market size is expected to reach USD 12.85 billion by 2025.” These statistics demonstrate the rising adoption of cloud technologies, digitation of enterprises to automate business processes and soaring adoption of agile frameworks. These statistics also point out how, when IT teams improve, it enhances the efficiencies of operations.
The future of DevOps is something that can be seen as a cultural shift. It can also be seen as something that brings conventionally disconnected components in the development, deployment, and delivery of software into a single loop. Organizations are finding that DevOps is replacing their traditional IT departments. Not only are the titles changing, but the roles are changing, as well. Some of the roles have been eliminated, while others have been multiplied by the scale of microservice architectures.
The execution of successful DevOps relies on teams communicating clearly with each other. The future of DevOps means reduction of manual approvals, since automation is a huge part of the DevOps cycle.
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