How to Automate DevOps Practices (& Why!)

DevOps is not a technology but rather an organizational culture that combines the different functional roles of development and operations into one team to improve communication and shared responsibility for quality.

Understanding DevOps Automation

Automation means that specific tasks are built into computerized applications for easy, quick, and cost-effective use. DevOps automation is essential in optimizing the DevOps processes that are present in the agile software development life cycle.

Automated DevOps processes have several benefits. They allow for better predictability. There is also reduced risk as there are fewer chances of human error due to less involvement of humans in the process.

There are several areas where DevOps can be automated. These include software delivery, infrastructure management, application performance monitoring, and maintenance.

Benefits of DevOps Automation

The first benefit of DevOps automation is that it makes the infrastructure standardized. It ensures that the same set of scripts and provisioning steps are used to deploy the application on similar infrastructure across different environments. This assures the DevOps team that processes and procedures will be followed consistently across different environments.

Less room for errors

Because everything is automated, there’s no room for human error or downtime caused by ill-mannered users or unprofessional staff members. This also leads to faster deployments because there’s no human intervention required for any tasks within the DevOps team’s responsibilities.

Automation leads to adaptability:

Developers and operations staff must work together very closely in the DevOps world. If an application fails or an urgent bug appears, both teams have to work quickly to fix it. In this situation, automation is essential because it allows developers and operations staff to focus on fixing bugs or improving an application rather than spending time on manual tasks. 

This process can easily take weeks or even months if done manually. Automation also enables teams to respond more quickly to new requirements and changes in business objectives.

Scalability

Automation increases scalability by making it easier to manage multiple processes at once. This leads to better infrastructure management across the board. When different people or different departments manage infrastructure within an organization, it can get messy fast, leading to outages and other problems.

With DevOps automation tools, everyone has access to the same information about their infrastructure to make informed decisions about how it should be configured and managed.

Speed

DevOps automation allows a development team to accomplish its tasks faster than traditional methods. By providing a framework that incorporates all necessary components, teams can implement the service rather than troubleshoot the environment. This reduces the overall time needed to bring a product or service to market and gives you better control of your release schedules.

The DevOps Areas to Automate

Many companies are skipping over some of the DevOps areas that need to be automated, which is why they are struggling. You can cover your bases with this DevOps automation checklist:

CI/CD Pipeline

CI/CD automation usually involves automating the building and testing of code every time a developer checks in changes to the shared code repository. The goal is to prevent integration problems from creeping into software projects because bugs are identified as early as possible. CI tools will also generate metrics on code quality and test coverage over time, which can be used for estimating project risks and aid in planning releases.

Infrastructure management

Infrastructure management is an important area to automate because we spend most of our time maintaining the machines that run our applications.

Here automation targets servers, clusters, virtual machines, storage devices, load balancers, and many other things that help keep everything running smoothly and efficiently.

If you are thinking about automating your entire infrastructure, there are some questions you should ask yourself first:

1. What is the purpose of your automation? Is it to reduce costs, improve performance or increase efficiency?

2. What is the Return on Investment (ROI)? How much time will be saved due to automation?

3. What level of scale do you need? Do you need to leverage an orchestration tool, or can you use a simple shell script?

4. How much complexity do you need to overcome? If you’re starting with an existing application, do you have enough information to begin automating the infrastructure?

Software testing

Automated software testing is a key area of focus for DevOps. Although manual software testing has its place, many, if not most, organizations have implemented automated software testing tools in their development environments. The testing targets user interactions, user interfaces, unit tests and more.

Testing tools can be divided into two categories: those that test the behavior of the application and those that test the application’s structure or code. Tools that check the structure or code are often plugged into an application’s build process and run before each release. The goal is to catch errors before they reach production.

Monitoring

No matter what the application, three areas must be monitored: infrastructure, performance, and security. The first one is self-explanatory, but the second and third ones deserve more explanation.

Infrastructure: This refers to all independent software that supports your applications and systems, such as TCPIP stacks, web servers, and databases. A platform glitch can cause a lot of trouble for you. The more components you have on which your business depends, the harder it is to monitor them effectively.

Application: To be really effective, a monitoring solution needs to tell whether each application is running correctly and whether it’s responding appropriately to events in other parts of the infrastructure.

Security: Monitoring Security issues are commonly overlooked when DevOps teams build out their new infrastructure. They forget to build in the proper monitoring tools that can quickly detect issues, like intrusions and other security threats. It is important to have the right tools in place so you can catch problems before they become full-blown system failures.

Log management

Log Management is the process of collecting, analyzing, and storing information and is one of the necessities in DevOps. It aims to monitor the performance of applications, infrastructure, and other services by tracking events that occur over time. A log management solution helps identify errors, monitoring activities, and performance metrics.

Treating logs as an ephemeral by-product of your development cycle makes life hard for your operations team. It’s like building a house without foundations – you’ll have problems from day one. This can lead to a situation where there’s a disconnect between developers and operations teams over how to handle logs.

Automated log collection comprises two elements: push and pull. A push component sends a message to a server that says, “I have new logs; come pick them up.” A pull component polls a device or waits for a specific event to occur (such as creating a Syslog message) to pull new logs down from a device.

Although it’s possible to store some logs in files, databases, or message queues, you’ll usually want your whole log stream captured in one place so that you can search, correlate and analyze it later on.

To Conclude: 

Cloudify helps you manage your entire application lifecycle through automation tools. It helps you deploy apps on any infrastructure, including public clouds like Amazon Web Services and private clouds. It is a reliable DevOps tool to speed up the building, deployment, and management of software, apps, and microservices without sacrificing operational efficiency or security.

Want to learn more? Schedule a quick demo here.

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