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For many enterprises, gone are the days when their IT and development departments were separate entities—sometimes conflicting and often painfully inefficient at delivery. In merging software development and system operations, the key philosophy of DevOps involves the automation, testing, and monitoring of essential processes.
By working together, DevOps engineers effectively shorten the software development lifecycle while spending less time putting out fires. A healthy DevOps culture also helps deal with the ever-increasing amount of enterprise security concerns.
In the last decade, DevOps strategies have been adopted by a myriad of tech companies and organizations in all kinds of industries from technology to financial services to insurance, education, and government.
Numerous case studies are discussed each year in reports like The State of DevOps and at gatherings like DevOps Talks Conference (DOTC). A DevOps implementation is touted as a smart move to maximize ROI, secure market share, and stay in business long-term.
The success of DevOps is already widespread:
- HP LaserJet invested in automated testing and freed up 700 percent more time for innovation and new feature development for their firmware.
- Hiscox Insurance Provider employed a DevOps solution which reduced their cost per release on one application by 97 percent.
- Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company reduced system downtime by 70% thanks to DevOps services.
A long list of such case studies is signaling to business owners that a DevOps implementation is no longer merely an advantage. It’s such a must-have that even Canonical (the powerhouse behind Ubuntu Linux) partnered with the popular DevOps company, Chef, back in 2015, when they ramped up their enterprise offerings.
It’s no wonder: DevOps-enabled companies know firsthand how the resulting team integration leads to better communication, more effective internal processes, and ultimately, a superior product.
DevOps Solutions Enable Business Processes to Scale Up
Where server admins used to manually handle a process and only know that something was amiss when users complained, DevOps engineers help organizations transition to a model where common processes are not only automated but automatically monitored. Without that, scaling a process means hiring more and more employees to do tedious work that computers can handle much more efficiently.
Specifically, DevOps engineers combine technologies and tools to:
- Deploy and update applications in the cloud or on business-owned servers
- Roll back failed deployments
- Monitor the availability and performance of IT systems and services
- Collect data about application usage and build out graphical representations for further analysis
- Automatically provision resources at peak usage periods
- Continuously analyze new code and provide developers with near-instant feedback
- Repeatedly run all tests for every new change in an application’s codebase
- Integrate with third-party services
- Save and aggregate big data for further use by AI, neural networks, and expert systems
These implementations boost the productivity of all teams. First, human resources are freed for more innovative work so they can deliver more value and more intellectual assets for the company. Second, the same personnel can handle an exponentially increasing number of clients because repetitive and routine work is automated. Often, such prospects of hiring a dedicated DevOps specialist or building one’s own DevOps team can hardly be matched by other investment strategies.
The Key to IT Security and Compliance: DevSecOps
The Council of Economic Advisers estimates that “malicious cyber activity cost the U.S. economy between $57 billion and $109 billion in 2016,” while the Australian Cyber Security Centre reports that private enterprises and businesses are targets of cyber espionage and cybercrime.
IT security incidents worldwide are becoming larger, more frequent, and more severe. DevOps engineering can be the response to the cybersecurity threats—in this case, it’s sometimes known as DevSecOps.
Whether your company manages its own servers, delegates that task to a cloud provider, or some of each, traditional development and operations departments would often approach security separately, sometimes to the detriment of each other’s strategies. DevOps-emphasized technologies like virtualization, containerization, isolation, and configuration management make it possible to develop and test smaller software modules with a security-centric approach in mind and then reuse them throughout the whole IT infrastructure at scale.
Thus it’s no surprise when experts predict that the cloud security market will be worth $12 billion by 2022.
Applying the same DevOps solutions, teams can considerably speed up the implementation of compliance policies such as HIPAA, GDPR, PCI DSS, EU-U.S. Privacy Shield, and FERPA. For example, it is thanks to collaborations between DevOps developers, security engineers, and app development specialists that FormAssembly, a form-building and data-collection company, was able to launch its Compliance Cloud service featuring compliance with all five standards listed above.
DevOps Developers Cover a Wide Field
From standards to security to scaling, DevOps solutions draw in numerous related concepts and technologies. That’s why hiring a DevOps architect, particularly for a leadership position, has become a rather lengthy journey. Besides having advanced soft skills, DevOps engineers should be literate in virtualization, cloud technologies, hardware, continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD), and security monitoring. But top specialists will enable improvements to IT and overall performance for any company relying on software. It’s time to dream big!