DevOps: Embrace the Culture and Speed App Development and Deployment

The past decade has seen some tectonic shifts in how application software is developed and deployed.

Traditional waterfall methods, which siloed teams and produced apps that mostly worked well (until they didn’t), gave birth to Agile, a fresh new way of including the various design, development and production teams in a holistic way while creating a lean operational approach.

iStock-607969272 DevOps: Embrace the Culture and Speed App Development and Deployment

 

Going Further with DevOps

While Agile spelled out a new, far more efficient way for teams – and clients – to work together to produce an app, DevOps goes one step further1. It recognizes that development and operations teams must also work efficiently with each other, because the full end-to-end life-cycle of creating, testing, rolling out and improvement are inextricably linked. A well-integrated DevOps environment can deliver the highest customer experience levels.

It’s all about evolution, and Optimus Information has embraced the concept of DevOps, putting it into practice earlier this year.

 

Taking a New Approach to Project Development

“Lean” was pioneered by Toyota in Japan at the end of the Second World War, where its principles of reducing waste and Continuous Improvement have influenced software development methods.

Khushbu Garg, Optimus’s Senior Technical Lead at the company’s office in Noida, southwest of New Delhi, refers to DevOps as a culture. It’s a way of approaching and working a project, she says, and should be the path that every new organization should follow.

“By ‘new organization’,  I mean a new company trying to make a name for itself to attract customers. The only way to do this is to deliver fast, with A+ quality in the work. You want to gain the trust of your customers and this is the only way to do it,” she explained.

The net result of using the DevOps approach, she says, is a significant increase in the speed of development, delivery and deployment time while dealing with issues and scaling up the application.

 

The Five Stages in the DevOps Process

Organizations, new or otherwise, can’t simply plunge into DevOps and expect it to work straight out of the box. There is a process that must be followed before success can be achieved.

It begins with delineating the stages:

  • Define your business logic and plan around that.
  • How will you build the solution, where will you place the coding, where will you put the configuration?
  • This is where you ensure the quality of the build through regression testing, acceptance testing, etc.
  • Package the app, release it and configure it.
  • Monitor, to be certain the app remains functional.

DevOps is not an outgrowth of the Agile methodology; it stands on its own. But the two share similarities in approach. Agile allows fast development and rapid bug fixes so deployment occurs in production as soon as possible – you test fast and release fast. The DevOps approach allows this to occur smoothly, especially within the CI/CD pipeline, where automated testing using the Optimus Test Harness can pay huge dividends.

 

Technology Considerations of DevOps

When faced with a new project, Khushbu points out, it’s important to determine if it will be easy to implement DevOps for that project. Then, an organization needs to consider which technology will be used. At Optimus, numerous projects are running at any given time and the company makes use of a variety of technologies, both cloud-based and open source.

“Currently,” she says, “we’re using Jenkins, an open source technology. Jenkins works well for us because it supports almost all the technologies we use, like Node, Angular, C# and Java. Also, there’s no cost to Jenkins because it’s open source.”

Her team in India uses pipelines for Continuous Integration and Continuous Development because the pipeline method requires very little developer knowledge – which contributes to fast app development.

She then tasks her team with researching which technology will work best. Once the project is underway, a great deal of testing occurs smoothly with the DevOps method:  unit testing, deployment stage testing, automated testing, and so on.

 

The Critical Role Played by the Customer

A hallmark of Agile app development is how the client, and sometimes the customer, is involved at every point in the project. That’s no different with DevOps, Khushbu explains.

“In fact, we place great emphasis on email notification of all stakeholders whenever a stage is deployed. Even here, we get granular: how many emails we send, what information we include, what test reports are pertinent, even what template we use to convey the information and which developer is working on which stage.” The result of this care and attention to communications means the stakeholder can identify how the project is progressing and contact the appropriate developer to offer input, if needed.

By putting the DevOps culture to work, through the step-by-step process that Optimus has implemented, the client is always up to speed because of the collaboration that occurs. “We don’t need a separate IT person to deploy our builds, we don’t need IT infrastructure time, and we can quickly share a build with a customer and give the development team any feedback needed,” said Khushbu.

DevOps is as much a discipline as it is a culture. Optimus has adopted DevOps for all our projects and we’ve already seen great success with it. We know it works because it’s inclusive when it’s deployed properly.

We invite you to contact us to learn more about this evolutionary approach to app development. Our job is to stay at the leading edge of software technology and our goal is to provide our clients and customers the benefits that such technologies bring. So, get in touch with us today!


More Resources:1 https://theagileadmin.com/what-is-devops/

Evolution or Revolution? The Power of Microservices in Azure PaaS

Constant business pressures are demanding more and more from software developers, and they are responding with some remarkable new technologies.

As always, necessity is the mother of invention. Developers are pioneering new architecture that can break down apps into small, independent components, allowing those individual parts to be updated when necessary with speed and reliability, all without impacting the integrity of the overall application while it’s running.

This new app architecture is known as “microservices”.

Traditional app architecture typically has three layers:

  • The front end, which is linked to a website
  • The middle layer, where the business functions occur
  • The back end, typically where the database resides

Restrictive App Design Can Impact Business

This was the style of design used for applications that were static in size and made to suit specific hardware. However, the style did not lend itself well to updating, let alone scaling up; if one component of an app needed improving or modifying in some way, the monolithic design necessitated that the entire app would have to be modified and then tested before going back online.

As recently as a few years ago, many people would see “site under maintenance” messages when they tried to access their banking website or their insurance company’s website, for example. That is no longer acceptable for any business.

So, the time was ripe (and the pressure was ratcheting higher) for a better way forward.

iStock-871030872 Evolution or Revolution? The Power of Microservices in Azure PaaS

Seamless Updates Are the Norm

Microservices provide developers with the means to refresh a single area of an app without taking down the entire site to do so. Likewise, a problem arising with one area doesn’t result in the entire app going down.

“Microservices is very fluid,” says Gurinder Singh-Mann, an Azure architect at Optimus Information. “You have multiple teams working on different areas of an app, with each team ‘owning’ their component and knowing it inside-out. If I’m a business owner with a promotions page on my website that goes down, I don’t want the entire site going down; that would really impact my business. And when I refresh, I want to be able to refresh just that component.”

An app designed with this approach has each of its elements – or microservices – independent from the others to allow for updates, repairs and security improvements specific to that microservice.

The net result is an app that is ready to be scaled, altered or updated in any manner necessary without incurring downtime.

Faster Database Access

Another important characteristic of microservice apps lies with the database. Recall the earlier description of a three-tiered architecture, with the database being the third tier at the back end of the app. Using the microservice approach, each individual microservice can have its own database, pertinent to just its function. Once again, an update or change can be made without impacting the app’s overall function, something not possible using a traditional approach with a single database at the back end.

There is also a dramatic improvement in the time it takes an app to perform a function– from several minutes down to as little as a second, in many cases.

Azure: A Tailor-made Platform

Like so much in technology today, microservices have come into being largely because the cloud is offering developers endless opportunities to innovate. In the case of Azure Cloud, it’s also reducing workloads and saving time.

Every website hosting an app needs to be monitored in real time. It’s important to know how the site is running in different geographic regions, explains Gurinder Singh-Mann, as well as how many instances of the site are running and whether there is an emergency and a need for disaster recovery.

These tasks would ordinarily fall to developers to deal with. They would have to write appropriate code, test it and then deploy it – added steps that extend the time to get an app to market.

Azure takes that major headache away from the developers so that they can focus simply on building out their code for the app. “Azure is pretty remarkable. It can take care of tuning your database and even takes care of disaster recovery automatically,” says Gurinder.

Power Your Business with Microservices on Azure PaaS

Azure and microservices create a powerful combination that allows businesses to maintain a problem-free web presence at all times, along with the ability to alter or update an app seamlessly in real time.

Optimus Information is actively using microservices architecture for our clients. We are experts in Azure cloud migration, optimization, management and support.

Today, over 60% of new apps are using cloud-enabled continuous delivery for faster innovation and business agility. It’s worth contacting the people who know how to make this happen.

Contact us today and we’ll be happy to share our expertise with you and show you how the combination of Azure and microservices can power your business.


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