DevOps and cloud: These two concepts are probably used more than any other in the conversation of what modern (and future) business IT should look like. But, why is DevOps so important in connection to the cloud? And are these things really worth pursuing, or are they just buzzwords?
On their own, the benefits that each holds for businesses are clear: 81% of companies have laid out a multi-cloud strategy while the overall cloud market cap exceeded $330 billion in 2020. On the other hand, 77% of organizations currently rely on DevOps to deploy software. However, they’re often treated as two completely distinct concepts that should be adopted or tackled independently.
However, there exists an incredible synergy between DevOps and the cloud. Today, the lion’s share of cloud development projects employ DevOps. Once you understand how these two methodologies complement each other, it’s easy to see why so many never look back once they’ve successfully implemented DevOps in the cloud.
Below, we’ll look at why there’s such a good relationship between these two, and how to optimize your DevOps for the cloud.
What is DevOps?
The idea of DevOps is often relegated to that of simply being a specific team or department. However, it’s actually a way of working within an organization to synthesize IT with business processes to benefit the overall company.
DevOps is a combination of practices, tools, and methodologies. The goal of DevOps is to shorten the systems development lifecycle and to increase the possibility of delivering software:
- as quickly as possible
- that’s accurate and error-free software
- that aligns with the business needs
Through DevOps, teams work at increased speeds to deliver releases more frequently and in shorter iterations. This enables developers to adapt, improve, or fix releases on shorter timescales, allowing them to be more flexible, adaptable, and limit the cost of rework.
When implemented correctly, this should result in:
- More scalable development capacity
- Improved collaboration
- Improved security and reliability
- Better governance and compliance
And, of course, a better end product!
The ultimate end goal of DevOps is to deliver more value to your customers as quickly as possible and make development more responsive to the needs of your business.
How can you benefit from DevOps in the cloud?
There are several ways in which DevOps and the cloud seem to have been meant for each other. Cloud models already offer many benefits in both traditional and DevOps environments:
- Shorter lead times thanks to pre-existing hardware/software infrastructure
- Lower upfront and long-term costs related to investing in and maintaining infrastructure
- Low-cost and low-effort scaling of resources and computing capacity
- Increased flexibility to experiment, adapt, or abandon
- Built-in and on-demand tooling with modular services/products
Almost ubiquitously, businesses today are already benefiting from Infrastructure-as-a-Service (IaaS), Platform-as-a-Service (PaaS), and Software-as-a-Service (SaaS) models. Many organizations already rely on them for email, financial management, data services, media hosting, customer relations management, billing, etc.
In some cases, it’s simply much more cost and time-effective to subscribe to existing out-of-the-box service using a pay-as-you-use or flat-rate subscription model than to develop and host your own services. However, many businesses will invest in cloud consulting services in order to assess which option or options work best for their specific needs and to implement the solution that’s right for them.
DevOps can accelerate the benefits of the cloud when using SaaS offerings like AWS Cloudwatch or Microsoft Azure. PaaS or even IaaS solutions offer more opportunities to configure your DevOps environments, but introduce added complexity in terms of managing your own infrastructure and environments..
A huge variety of cloud-based solutions exist that support one or many DevOps best practices, including:
- Continuous Integration
- Continuous Delivery
- Infrastructure as Code
- Monitoring and Logging
- Communication and Collaboration
Cloud platforms often provide the modularity to add or remove additional capabilities on an ad hoc basis. Or allow users to integrate relatively seamlessly with our cloud platforms that may offer a different set of features. In this way, DevOps can achieve a completed software development pipeline with minimal effort or lead time invested.
How to optimize DevOps for the cloud?
When changing the way you do things, it’s best to follow the principles we apply to software development and modernization: Start with small, incremental changes while working towards the bigger picture.
First, start by mapping out the logistics and considering different solutions for achieving your fundamental DevOps practices in the cloud, such as:
- Continuous Integration and Delivery
- Architectural simplicity
- Working in smaller increments or units
Next, start incorporating small changes in your daily operations that will set you on the right path towards and help your teams develop a DevOps mindset:
- Better and more frequent logging
- Application-level changes
- Asynchronous teamwork and communication
- Frequent integrations and deployment
- DevOps behaviors and practices
On longer timescales, the goal should be to effect a company-wide cultural shift towards DevOps. This includes everything from establishing metrics to measure and improve DevOps’ impact on your business continuously to re-platforming to more DevOps-friendly ecosystems to optimizing your business processes for DevOps.
If your organization has always done things the traditional way, then either adopting DevOps or transitioning to the cloud may seem daunting on their own. Doing both at the same time might seem like too much to wrap your head around.
In that case, organizations can readily benefit from cloud consulting services to help them draw a roadmap for successful adoption. Similarly, a DevOps consulting company can be an invaluable partner in providing the necessary leadership and guidance in transitioning to this new way of operating.
In the end, approaching DevOps and the Cloud together will help you optimize the impact of both. More than efficiency, it creates the organizational synergy and IT foundation you need to seed innovation, bring ideas to life successfully, and move your business into the future.
Headspring is a technology consulting firm offering software consulting services that are designed to transform organizations. Our cloud-first solutions range from application development to architectural strategy to legacy system transformation. Headspring’s teams are motivated daily by the core belief that great software has the power to transform organizations and lives.