There’s no doubt that DevOps automation is vital for successful software delivery, but it can be challenging and overwhelming to implement. To help, we've compiled ten proven best practices to guide you. From fostering collaboration to utilizing the right tools, these tips will help you navigate the complexities of DevOps automation.

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In this fiercely competitive world of software development, where there's a constant challenge of delivering high-quality products at lightning speed, DevOps has emerged as a game-changer.

It has become the backbone of the entire software development lifecycle, from planning to deployment, enabling faster delivery of quality products. But what are the DevOps best practices to keep in mind whether you are working with AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, etc.?

In this blog, we'll look closer at the top 10 Best Practices of DevOps Automation, which can help you streamline your development process and deliver top-notch products faster than ever. So, let's get ready to unleash the power of DevOps Automation together. 

What is DevOps? Understanding the Basics 

DevOps is a software development methodology emphasizing collaboration and communication between development and operations teams to streamline the software development lifecycle.

The ultimate goal of DevOps is to deliver high-quality software faster while also ensuring that the software meets the needs of the end users.

DevOps involves a continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) approach, where software development teams work on small, incremental changes and quickly deploy them to production. This allows for rapid feedback and iteration and quick detection and resolution of issues.

It also involves using DevOps automation tools and processes to reduce the manual effort involved in software development and deployment. This can include automated testing, continuous monitoring, and deployment automation.

In addition to technical tools and processes, DevOps also emphasizes cultural and organizational changes, such as breaking down silos between development and operations teams, fostering a culture of collaboration, and promoting continuous learning and improvement.

DevOps is a powerful methodology that can help organizations deliver high-quality software faster, with greater efficiency and collaboration, and ultimately drive business success.

What is DevOps Automation?

As the name suggests, DevOps automation is using automation tools and technologies to streamline software development and deployment. It is a practice that combines the best of both worlds - the speed and agility of DevOps and the reliability and stability of automation.

DevOps automation uses technology and tools to automate the software development and deployment process. It enables organizations to streamline workflows, reduce errors, and deliver high-quality software faster. 

DevOps automation has become a critical practice in today's fast-paced and ever-changing market that helps organizations stay competitive and relevant.

The ultimate goal of DevOps automation is to enable organizations to deliver high-quality software faster, with fewer errors and lower costs. 

By automating manual processes and eliminating human error, DevOps automation allows developers to focus on innovation and creativity while operations teams can ensure that the software is stable and reliable.

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10 Best Practices for DevOps Automation 

Prioritizing Customers' Satisfaction

The ultimate goal of DevOps automation is to provide high-quality software that meets the needs and expectations of customers. 

Prioritizing customer satisfaction should be at the forefront of any DevOps automation strategy. Organizations should aim to deliver user-friendly, reliable software that meets the desired specifications.

Customers expect regular updates to their software, which can improve functionality, enhance user experience, and fix bugs. Organizations should establish a continuous delivery pipeline to prioritize customer satisfaction by providing constant updates.

This involves automating the software delivery process to ensure that new features and bug fixes are delivered to customers as soon as they are available. Organizations should also establish a release schedule to deliver updates regularly and consistently.

To achieve this, organizations should ensure they have the right infrastructure and tools to support continuous updates. This may include cloud infrastructure, version control systems, automated testing tools, and deployment pipelines.

By prioritizing customer satisfaction through constant updates, organizations can deliver software that meets the changing needs of their customers, improves user experience, and enhances their reputation in the market.

Active participation of stakeholders 

When it comes to DevOps automation, the active participation of stakeholders is a must-have best practice. 

After all, stakeholders are the ones who will be using the software and ultimately deciding its success. 

But getting stakeholders to participate in the process actively can sometimes feel like herding cats - challenging but not impossible.

To ensure the active participation of stakeholders, organizations should establish clear communication channels. This includes regular meetings, updates, and feedback sessions. 

By keeping stakeholders informed of the progress of the software development process, they can provide feedback and identify any issues early on. 

Also, make sure stakeholders are involved from the beginning. Including them in the planning and design phases of the software development process can help ensure that their needs and expectations are taken into account from the get-go.

Breaking the Organizational Silos and Encouraging Collaboration

The dreaded silos! These organizational structures can be a major obstacle to effective DevOps automation. 

Too often, different teams within an organization work in silos, hindering communication and collaboration. But in the world of DevOps, silos are the enemy and one should avoid them. 

To break down these silos, it's important to promote a culture of collaboration and communication. 

This can be achieved by encouraging cross-functional teams, hosting regular team-building events, and providing opportunities for team members to collaborate on projects. 

Also, implement tools that facilitate communication and collaboration. Platforms like Slack, Microsoft Teams, or even good old-fashioned email can help team members stay connected and share information.

Ensuring everyone understands their role in the DevOps process is also important. By clearly defining roles and responsibilities, team members can better understand how they fit into the bigger picture and work towards a common goal.

Making Effective Use of Agile Methodologies

Agile methodologies have become the norm in software development and for a good reason. Agile practices encourage collaboration, adaptability, and a focus on delivering value to the customer. When it comes to DevOps automation, using Agile methodologies effectively can be a game-changer.

One of the most important aspects of Agile is its emphasis on continuous improvement. By regularly reviewing and adapting processes, teams can identify areas for improvement and make changes that will ultimately lead to better software.

Another key aspect of Agile is its focus on delivering value to the customer. This is achieved by breaking down work into small, manageable chunks that can be delivered quickly. By doing so, teams can get feedback from customers early and often and make changes as needed to ensure that the software meets their needs.

Organizations can use various tools that support Agile practices, such as Kanban boards, sprint planning tools, and continuous integration and deployment pipelines. These tools can help teams stay organized, track progress, and deliver customer value more efficiently.

Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)

CI/CD is a software development practice that helps teams deliver code changes more frequently and reliably. With CI/CD, code changes are automatically tested and built, then deployed to production in a streamlined and automated fashion.

CI/CD reduces the time and effort required to release new features and bug fixes. By automating the build, test, and deployment process, teams can catch errors earlier and deploy changes more quickly.

But let's face it; we've all been there - working on a feature for hours, only to find out that it doesn't work when deployed. 

With CI/CD, these errors can be caught early before they make it to production. This means less time spent troubleshooting and more time spent on developing new features.

The key to effective CI/CD is to have a well-defined process and the right tools. Teams should have a solid understanding of the testing and deployment pipeline and use tools like Jenkins, CircleCI, or Travis CI to automate the process.

Implementing Test Automation

Testing is an integral part of the software development process, and automating it can significantly improve the speed and accuracy of the testing process. 

Manual testing is time-consuming and prone to human errors, while test automation allows for repeated and consistent testing.

With the rise of DevOps, software delivery speed has increased tremendously. Testing must be done continuously to keep up with this pace, which can only be achieved through test automation. Automated tests can be run continuously as part of the CI/CD pipeline, providing quick feedback on the code changes.

Simply put, test automation improves the overall quality of the software product. 

Automated tests cover a wide range of scenarios and edge cases, which is difficult to achieve with manual testing. This ensures the software product is thoroughly tested and meets the required quality standards.

Automate Whenever or Wherever it is Possible

Automation is the backbone of DevOps and has revolutionized how we work. The beauty of automation is that it can be implemented in almost every aspect of the software development cycle. 

The more you automate, the more you can reduce human error and increase efficiency. 

The key to automation is to identify areas that can benefit from automation and implement it as soon as possible. This is where the practice of automating whenever and wherever possible comes into play. 

From the testing phase to deployment and beyond, automation has the potential to make a significant difference in how quickly and accurately we can complete tasks. Even the smallest, most repetitive task can be automated to save time and energy. 

However, it is important to remember that automation is not a magic wand that can solve all problems. 

Certain tasks require human intervention, such as decision-making and problem-solving. Therefore, evaluating which tasks can be automated and which require human input is essential.

Integrated Change Management

Change Management involves racking, managing, and controlling changes in software development, ensuring that the software is stable and reliable throughout the development lifecycle.

Change management helps organizations maintain visibility and control over the changes to the software, ensuring that the changes are properly tested and approved before they are released into production.

Integrating change management in the development process ensures that all changes made to the software are properly tracked and approved before they are implemented. It also helps reduce the risk of errors and inconsistencies in the software and minimize the impact of changes on end-users.

To implement effective change management, organizations should have a defined process for requesting, approving, and implementing changes and a system for tracking and managing changes. They should also have a clear communication plan to ensure that all stakeholders are aware of changes being made to the software and the impact of those changes.

Making Switch to Microservices 

Switching to microservices is crucial to achieving efficient and effective DevOps automation. Microservices architecture enables applications to be broken down into smaller, independent, and scalable components that can be developed and deployed independently.

This modularity allows for easier maintenance and updates, making it easier to achieve faster delivery and improved quality.

It also enables the teams to adopt a more agile and collaborative approach, as different teams can work on different services independently without interfering with each other. The use of containerization, such as Docker and Kubernetes, also supports microservices architecture by providing an easy and reliable way to manage and deploy microservices.

However, Implementing microservices architecture requires a shift in mindset from traditional monolithic applications to small, independent services. It is important to have a clear understanding of the application architecture and how the different services interact with each other.

Proper planning and architecture design is essential to ensure that the microservices architecture is scalable, reliable, and maintainable.

Also Read: Microservices Monitoring & Testing Tools and Best Practices

Use Automated Dashboards 

One of the key benefits of DevOps automation is the ability to gain real-time insights into the health and performance of your applications and infrastructure. This is where automated dashboards come into the light, providing a centralized view of critical metrics and data to help you quickly identify and resolve issues.

Automated dashboards enable teams to monitor and track real-time performance metrics, such as application response times, database queries, network latency, and more. These metrics can be visualized using charts, graphs, and other visual aids, making identifying trends, anomalies, and potential problems easier before they escalate. It can also help teams streamline communication and collaboration.

By providing a common view of data, team members can work more efficiently and collaboratively, reducing the time and effort required to troubleshoot issues.

When implementing automated dashboards, it's important to ensure they are easy to use and provide the right level of detail for the intended audience. Dashboards should also be customizable, allowing teams to focus on the metrics most matter to them.

Also Read: Kubernetes vs Docker Swarm

Frequently Asked Questions

  • What are the five pillars of DevOps?
    Five pillars of DevOps are Automation, Cloud Native, Scalability, Observability, and Security.
  • What are the 7Cs of DevOps?
    The 7C's of DevOps are - Continuous Development, Continuous Integration, Continuous Testing, Continuous Deployment, Continuous Feedback, Continuous Monitoring, and Continuous Operations.

  • How are DevOps practices best orchestrated?
    DevOps best practices are orchestrated through the use of Continuous Deployment (CD) & Continuous Integration (CI) pipelines. This makes sure that there is a seamless and quick delivery of new builds into production and minimizes the effort spent on repetitive tasks.