DevOps lifecycle is a combination of different phases of continuous software development, integration, testing, deployment, and monitoring.
What Is DevOps Lifecycle?
DevOps lifecycle is a combination of different phases of continuous software development, integration, testing, deployment, and monitoring. A competent DevOps lifecycle is necessary to leverage the full benefits of the DevOps methodology.
The DevOps approach embraces continuous innovation, agility, and scalability to build, test, consume, and evolve software products. It promotes a culture of experimentation, feedback, and constant learning to reinvent products, services, and processes. However, to implement DevOps, a proper understanding of different phases of the DevOps lifecycle is crucial.
DevOps Lifecycle: Key Components
To deliver faster results, developers must be fully aware of all the different phases of the DevOps lifecycle. If they aren’t, the entire development process can become complex and time-consuming. Here is a complete breakdown and analysis of each component of the DevOps lifecycle.
The DevOps lifecycle optimizes development processes from start to end and engages the organization in continuous development, resulting in faster delivery times.
This process mainly consists of the following seven stages:
1. Continuous development
Continuous development involves planning and coding the software. Here, the entire development process gets broken down into smaller development cycles. This process makes it easier for the DevOps team to accelerate the overall software development process. This phase is instrumental in mapping the vision for the entire development cycle, enabling developers to fully understand project expectations. Through this, the team starts visualizing its end goal as well.
There are no DevOps tools required for planning, but many version control tools are used to maintain code. This process of code maintenance is called source code maintenance. Popular tools for source code maintenance include JIRA, Git, Mercurial, and SVN. Moreover, there are different tools for packaging the codes into executable files, such as Ant, Gradle, and Maven. These executable files are then forwarded to the next component of the DevOps lifecycle.
2. Continuous integration
Continuous integration (CI) includes different steps related to the execution of the test process. Along with this, clients also provide information to be incorporated for adding new features to the application. Most changes happen in the source code during this phase. CI becomes the hub for resolving these frequent changes on a daily or monthly basis. Building code is a combination of unit and integration testing, code review, and packaging. Since developers make frequent changes, they can quickly spot problems (if any) and resolve them at an early stage.
This phase experiences continuous integrations of new code functionalities with the existing source code. Due to continuous development, the updated code seamlessly integrates within the entire system. Jenkins is one of the most popular tools for continuous integration. It helps in fetching the updated code and preparing an executable build
3. Continuous testing
Next in the DevOps lifecycle is the testing phase, wherein the developed code is tested for bugs and errors that may have made their way into the code. This is where quality analysis (QA) plays a major role in checking the usability of the developed software. Successful completion of the QA process is crucial in determining whether the software meets the client’s specifications.
Automation tools, such as JUnit, Selenium, and TestNG, are used for continuous testing, enabling the QA team to analyze multiple code-bases simultaneously. Doing this ensures that there are no flaws in the functionality of the developed software.
Moreover, to simulate the entire test environment, Docker containers are used in continuous testing. A Docker container is a standalone, lightweight executable package with everything to run an app: system tools, system libraries, runtime code, and settings.
Automated testing is done on automation tools like Selenium, after which the reports are generated on another automation tool, for example, TestNG. Automation of the entire testing phase also becomes possible with the help of the continuous integration tool Jenkins. Automation testing plays a vital role in saving time, labor and effort.
4. Continuous deployment
Continuous deployment (CD) ensures hassle-free product deployment without affecting the application’s performance. It is necessary to ensure that the code is deployed precisely on all available servers during this phase. This process eliminates the need for scheduled releases and accelerates the feedback mechanism, allowing developers to address issues more quickly and with greater accuracy.
Containerization tools help achieve continuous deployment through configuration management. A containerization tool like Vagrant helps achieve consistency across test, development, staging, and production environments. Containerization deals with bringing virtualization to the level of an operating system.
Continuous deployment is guaranteed to benefit your organization once you have a reliable automated testing environment in place. Configuration management holds a lot of value in the continuous deployment phase. It involves configuring and maintaining consistency in the functional requirement of the app. Popular DevOps tools used for configuration management include Ansible, Puppet, and Chef that help execute quick deployment of new code.
5. Continuous monitoring
Monitoring the performance of a software product is essential to determine the overall efficacy of the product output. This phase processes important information about the developed app. Through continuous monitoring, developers can identify general patterns and gray areas in the app where more effort is required.
Continuous monitoring is an operational phase where the objective is to enhance the overall efficiency of the software application. Moreover, it monitors the performance of the app as well. Therefore, it is one of the most crucial phases of the DevOps lifecycle.
Different system errors such as ‘server not reachable’, ‘low memory’, etc., are resolved in the continuous monitoring phase. It also maintains the availability and security of the services. Network issues and other problems are automatically fixed during this phase at the time of their detection.
Tools such as Nagios, Splunk, Sensu, ELK Stack, and NewRelic are used by the operations team to monitor user activities for improper behavior. As a result, during continuous monitoring, developers can proactively check the overall health of the system.
Proactive checking improves the reliability and productivity of the system and also reduces maintenance costs. Moreover, important and major issues are directly reported to the development team to be corrected in the initial stages. This leads to faster resolution of issues.
6. Continuous feedback
Continuous feedback is essential to ascertain and analyze the final outcome of the application. It sets the tone for improving the current version and releasing a new version based on stakeholder feedback.
The overall process of app development can only be improved by analyzing the results from the software operations. Feedback is nothing but information gathered from the client’s end. Here, information is significant, as it carries all the data about the performance of the software and its related issues. It also contains suggestions given by end users of the software.
7. Continuous operations
The last stage in the DevOps lifecycle is the shortest and easiest to grasp. Continuity is at the heart of all DevOps operations that helps automate release processes, allows developers to detect issues quickly, and build better versions of software products. Continuation is key to eliminate diversions and other extra steps that hinder development.
Development cycles in continuous operations are shorter, allowing organizations to advertise constantly and accelerate the overall time to market the product. DevOps enhances the value of software products by making them better and more efficient, thereby attracting new customers towards it.
Benefits of DevOps
- Implementing DevOps allows organizations to get more done. DevOps promotes teamwork by eliminating silos and encouraging collaboration. Teams that adopt the DevOps model can increase lead time, create new features at a faster pace, all while driving innovation and increasing employee engagement and communication. In turn, they are making applications more secure and stable.
- Leveraging DevOps and implementing continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) allows organizations to see a tremendous improvement in deployment frequency, lead time, detection of cybersecurity vulnerabilities and flaws, mean time to repair and mean time to recovery.
- Allows for rapid experimentation and uncertainty while focusing on mission end goals.
- Enables rapid prototyping and A/B testing or canary releases.
- Makes new services and innovations available.
- Increases frequency of deployments
- Increases collaboration between various departments
- Greatly Reduces time spent maintaining applications and fixing them
- Increases the number of end users who are using organizations’ services
- Improves performance and quality of applications
- Reduces time-to-market
- Reduces time needed for testing, development and operations
- Avoids shadow IT by enabling all directorates/divisions/services to reuse the DevSecOps pipeline instead of reinventing the wheel and building their own pipeline without supervision
- Avoids technical debt by continuously fixing bugs and security issues thanks to automated tests and real-time scans.