DevOps – Bridging the Gap between Dev and Ops

For centuries, humans have had a propensity to pit two or more teams with distinctive functionalities against each other – even when they are on the same team. This dynamic can be witnessed even in traditional business enterprises, between software developers and operational staffers.

The rivalry between Dev and Ops has been prevalent for decades causing one of the most prominent challenges for organizations to manage their IT capabilities. Overcoming from this rift and identifying each other as partners rather than rivals, can be crucial for a business to attain success. But due to opposing priorities, a friction gets created when they are combined, making it even harder for dev and ops to communicate in an efficient manner.

Conflict between Development and Operations

Although there isn’t any doubt concerning the various technical as well as business advantages that an organization can reap upon combining Dev and Ops, but they comprise of entirely unique goals, metrics, and approaches.

Development primarily lays focus on producing new systems and applications and ensures that customers get to use the same as fast as possible. On the contrary, operations look from a different aspect altogether; wherein they primarily focus on ensuring a speedy and bug-free stable system.

Additionally, both dev and ops strive towards achieving a similar goal of making their customers feel happy and satisfied, yet they utilize completely contradicting approaches to reach that purpose. On one hand, development aspires to impress its customers with their new enhancements. Whereas on the other hand, the operational team wants its customer base to use a stable and tested system – free from bugs and operability inconveniences.

The Battle Scenario – Before and After the Advent of DevOps

Before DevOps came onto the scene, both Development and Operations worked in an isolated manner. The only time they crossed-paths were during the release phase. The development team, already notified about the release date, intended to interject some new and additional features before the time of release. Whereas the operational team knew from beforehand whether the current release version had any new or additional features interjected. This way, before deploying the release to the customer’s site, the Ops team performed rigorous testing to be satisfied with its stability and operability and only then permitted its deployment.

The arrival of DevOps and its rise in adoption led to a paradigm shift from this culture. Developers now no longer need to wait for a release date to bring-forward new and enhanced features. Instead, they have the capability to release new features on a regular basis by using the concept of Continuous Integration and Delivery. This has prompted developers to emphasize that the operation team must manage this regular flow of new features imperatively before it gets deployed to the customer’s site. But this approach gave rise to a new problem, as Ops have to deal with a pipeline of releases at a regular interval due to this. They now need to be extremely attentive and careful about the quality testing of the systems as the deployed builds on the customer site may or may not be entirely free from bugs.

The Resolution

The most feasible and obvious solution to this opposing friction is the synchronization between Dev and Ops, popularly termed as DevOps. Coined by Patrick Debois, known as “the father of DevOps,” DevOps is an operational philosophy that helps to bridge the gap between Development and Operations by emphasizing upon integration, collaboration, and communication.

It is the most salient methodology through which an organization can check and assure a balance between development and quality. In order to reach an equilibrium point in this resolution, both Dev and Ops need to embrace the DevOps methodologies by modifying their outlook and their way of working, as follows:

From the Operations Perspective

  • Extensive monitoring of all running environments such as staging or production, so as to react and prevent any issues from cropping up and spreading, respectively.
  • Operations need to be much more flexible in their approach in accepting regular or frequent changes.
  • Operations should facilitate an effective and healthy collaboration with the Development team.

From the Development Perspective

  • Sound engagement needs to be performed to assess the quality metrics that Ops emphasizes on, to track customer production systems and quality.
  • Dev need to be more involved with the testing of their own code in the production phase instead of leaving out from the field after writing the system or application code.
  • Developers should facilitate an effective and healthy collaboration with the Operations team.

Hence, it can be safely exclaimed that both Dev and Ops team need to change substantially in their functioning and outlook to successfully adopt the DevOps methodology. Adapting to DevOps culture is by no means a silver bullet, as it brings with itself a considerable amount of changes. But upon successful communication between developers and operators, an organization will be able to reap significant advantages through the same. The battle between Dev and Ops may continue for years, but DevOps has the distinct capability to bridge the gap between the two.