What Is DevOps? (Definition, How It Works, Pros and Cons)

By Indeed Editorial Team

Published 26 April 2022

The Indeed Editorial Team comprises a diverse and talented team of writers, researchers and subject matter experts equipped with Indeed's data and insights to deliver useful tips to help guide your career journey.

DevOps is an acronym for development and operations. It's a set of processes that combine production, quality and software services into one continuous set of procedures. Understanding what DevOps entails can help you increase production, security and reliability during software development. In this article, we define what DevOps is, discuss how it works, provide its advantages and review explanations against this practice.

What is DevOps?

To understand DevOps, you can review the practices that software designers and IT technicians combine to achieve it. This approach enhances an organisation's capacity to design applications effectively and execute them in a single process. The DevOps technique can also strengthen team building and improve technological advancements in a company.

Related: What Does a Software Developer Do? (With Skills and Salary)

How does DevOps work?

The primary goal of DevOps is to manage the entire lifecycle of software engineering projects. This system combines developers, designers and operation technicians to ensure that applications meet company standards. These teams can employ the following practices and properties to help them achieve their goals:

DevOps toolchain

The DevOps toolchain incorporates open source and tools from various companies that function together to measure, test and manage software and systems as a single entity. It can also allow large development teams working on the projects to cooperate and address essential DevOps elements. Companies can create their DevOps toolchain by using the following options:

All-in-one DevOps toolchain

This approach offers a comprehensive solution that may or may not interface with third-party technologies. The technique can be ideal for companies beginning their DevOps journey or small development and operation teams. The disadvantage of this method is that technicians cannot configure it to serve personalised functions.

Customisable DevOps toolchain

Companies can also customise a DevOps toolchain that suits the needs of their teams. This method allows developers to include their preferred technology into the larger DevOps toolchain. Sharing data between tools using this method can be challenging and it requires an experienced technician to operate it.

DevOps tools

DevOps tools are practices that a team can use to tackle the primary phases of a software lifecycle. These tools can work with third-party programs to optimise, shorten and automate the various steps of software delivery workflow. The list below shows the different operations that technicians can use during the execution of a project:

  • Plan: This phase aids in the definition of company values and necessities.

  • Code: This stage encompasses developing an application and creating software code.

  • Create: DevOps teams can use this phase to supervise and monitor software developments and upgrades.

  • Test: The test stage entails constant manual and automated code testing to certify optimal quality.

  • Distribute: This phase may contain systems that aid in the management, coordination, scheduling and automation of application releases into the market.

  • Control: Control may entail managing and operating software during production and execution.

  • Supervise: This phase requires evaluating and gaining data regarding issues with a particular software release currently in production or operation.

DevOps fundamentals

Development and operation toolchains and tools help software development technicians handle these DevOps fundamentals. These basics comprise practices that reflect the concepts of steady improvement and automation. Some of these fundamentals may include:

  • Continuous integration: This approach combines configuration management (CM) tools with specific development and testing tools to check how much code is ready for execution. It may entail rapid feedback from these two departments to discover and resolve code errors quickly.

  • Process improvement: This technique stretches the DevOps lifecycle's software planning and coding phases. Companies may also apply local, centralised and version-control approaches to ensure continuous development.

  • Continuous testing: This technique incorporates automated and continuous application code tests. The practice can accelerate the production of quality software and applications.

  • Steady delivery: The approach automates the distribution of code updates to preproduction or intermediate environment after testing.

  • Constant monitoring: Constant supervision entails a continuous assessment of both the running code and the supporting system that reinforces it.

  • Steady distribution: This procedure automates the launching and deployment of new or changed code into production.

  • Infrastructure as code: Infrastructure as Code (IaC) controls computing servers, storage space and data infrastructure in networking centres. IaC can make large-scale configuration, installation and management significantly simpler.

Related: What Does a DevOps Engineer Do? (With Roles and Requirements)

DevOps security

DevOps security, also known as DevSecOps, can be an active part of the software development life cycle (SDLC) when technicians integrate it into their work. It draws on the fundamental DevOps practices and can ensure that applications are safe from hackers and malicious applications. This practice can also add security audits during testing and iterative processes to guarantee that the code runs as intended. The following unit security tests can be essential:

Static analysis security testing (SAST)

SAST is a white box testing method that offers solutions in the integrated development environment (IDE). These code scanners can detect security flaws in a developer's code and potentially unsafe libraries that they may import. A SAST scanner can work more efficiently if compatible with the software's coding language.

Dynamic analysis security testing (DAST)

DAST is a black-box test that can be critical in producing software code. It allows software technicians to install and assess security flaws in subsystems. DAST scanners can be suitable for any programming language since they evaluate an application externally.

Advantages of DevOps

DevOps can offer functions where a developer focuses on a specific tool without comprehending the complete toolchain. DevOps also has several benefits, as shown below:

Sustain work environment

A healthy and positive work environment can enhance motivation and job satisfaction, reflecting on teams' decision-making and problem-solving. The DevOps practice can involve significant teamwork between the development and operations departments. This cohesion can enhance interactions and improve communication if these teams implement it correctly.

Automate repetitive tasks

DevOps provides automation benefits since its toolchain allows faster detection, testing and correcting problems than the old and agile independent systems. Automation can offer a DevOps team more time to innovate and execute new projects. Software operators can automate their processes by creating a plan for continuous integration, sharing coding responsibilities and employing the idea of infrastructure as code (IaC).

Reduce the cost of production

DevOps can aid in the reduction of administration and production costs in software engineering departments. Since maintenance and new updates become a single entity, this cost reduction can occur. The company can use the extra amount to ensure quality or increase wages.

Ensure quick deployment

Collaboration between departments can make the DevOps software development lifecycle shorter. It means that technicians get the chance to distribute applications to their clients and consumers according to set deadlines. This fast deployment can offer companies a competitive advantage.

Ensure higher productivity

Software teams that use the DevOps practice are likely to improve their productivity rates. They can show better production by developing upgrade versions and new applications that fit the client's recommendations. This advantage can give the company a reputable name and increase profits.

Offer clear software vision

One of the primary DevOps tools is planning. The planning system can help software designers and developers regularly collect user feedback, organise it into practical concepts and assign tasks to their teams. This tool can provide the technicians with a clear vision for their project and enhance effectiveness.

Reduce potential faults

Development and operations departments that use DevSecOps might reduce faults and errors in their designs before executing them. The SAST and DAST tests automate the analysis and inspection process and may completely clean a code. This eradication can help an application's code run as intended.

Improve software quality

A company that employs DevOps in its operation can significantly improve the quality of applications. Practices like early security integration, constant testing and database project management ensure that the client receives quality work. These standards can make the software reliable and functional over a long period.

Related: How to Become a Software Tester: Overview, Duties and Salary

Disadvantages of DevOps

This cloud-based production environment can complicate application testing and introduce toolchain compatibility difficulties. Developers may also require extensive knowledge about integrating and managing tools and teams. You can categorise the potential issues that face companies using DevOps into the following groups:

Rushed processes

One of the primary features of DevOps practice is the quickness with which developers receive client feedback and make software alterations. Company designers may cite this aspect as an advantage, but it can cause several weaknesses when not handled correctly. It may eliminate the chances of carefully evaluating consumers' suggestions for modifications, as with agile methods.

Decreased security

The rapid speed of software development and the code's security may not synchronise. It can cause security gaps that make the application vulnerable to malicious activities. DevOps teams may solve this issue by designing a unique plan that focuses on speed and security mechanisms.

Related: Examples of Cyber Security Roles (With Salaries and Skills)

Reduced proficiency

Software engineers who use agile development methods may work hard to master the entire stack of protocols and procedures that help create applications. DevOps practice divides these complex and diverse activities into smaller tasks, delegating each to a dedicated professional. These technicians may lose their proficiency with time since they don't exploit their skills.

Technology

Automation is a primary feature in the life cycle of DevOps software. Developers configure systems that perform code tests and fix computing bugs. This technology may have negative implications if the technicians cannot monitor and manage it correctly.

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