The DevOps development model has several benefits and can improve how you and your team develop software applications. However, DevOps is one of many development models, and many developers wonder what makes it a better option.
In this post, you will learn about DevOps and its benefits compared to other more popular models. You will discover the benefits and drawbacks of each so that you can make a more educated decision on which is best for you. Finally, you will hear some closing thoughts on choosing between options.
Let's get started.
DevOps Over View
DevOps is a development model used to improve your software applications' development lifecycle. It creates a collaborative effort between the development and operation teams that supports continued development and improvement throughout the application's life.
Traditionally the roles of development and operation have been separate from each other. This setup, however, could have been more efficient. DevOps solves the need for continuous development through cross-team communication and collaboration well beyond the deployment of your application. DevOps is widely considered the industry standard, but it wasn't always that way.
Before DevOps, there were two popular development models: the waterfall and agile models. Let's look at those to explore what they offered and the drawbacks that came with them.
The Waterfall Development Model
The Waterfall model is one of the earliest development models introduced in the software and application industry. This approach is divided into phases dependent on each stage before it, which leads to limitations that developers can't avoid.
Let's look at the flow and phases of the Waterfall model, which traditionally has five stages.
In this model, each phase is final, and going into a new phase means you can't go back to a previous phase, creating an irreversible development process.
Let's look at these drawbacks closely to understand how they can affect your development.
- Previous stages become out of reach once it ends and moves into the next phase
- Not conducive to developing larger projects due to the increased chance of problems
- Developers and testers exist in siloed roles leading to an increased chance of bugs
- Projects that need to evolve are not great choices for this model
The Agile development model was popular before DevOps became the industry standard.
The Agile Development Model
The Agile development model is based more on iterative development; it has four repeated stages to ensure a successful development process. Generally, the iterations are done collaboratively in three weeks sprints. The Agile methodology consists of the following four stages in each sprint.
The biggest issue left within the Agile methodology is that it only includes some steps of the development process. It isolates the operations stage, which is often where many of the issues present themselves, making it challenging to reflect those needs into the development process.
The DevOps methodology was created to solve these issues and has done an impressive job of dramatically improving the development lifecycle. Let's look at the DevOps lifecycle methodology and see how it can help further improve your development process.
Why DevOps Is Important
The most critical aspect of DevOps is that it incorporates every lifecycle step in de-siloed roles and uses an iterative approach. With DevOps, the development process doesn't end so much as it gets more straightforward with each iteration. This change is a massive improvement to both of the previously mentioned models.
However, it isn't accurate to say that it is vastly different. There are a lot of similarities between the three approaches; one might argue that the DevOps lifecycle was born from both previously mentioned models. The most significant differences are that DevOps is continuous at all stages and that all stages support de-siloed roles improving communication and development speed. Let's take a second to look at the DevOps stages.
- Source code management: This stage involves planning and design, informing the next step in the development lifecycle.
- Continuous Development: This stage involves the development and testing of the software, informing the next step in the process.
- Continuous Integration: This stage is where new features and improvements are integrated into the project's current state.
- Continuous Deployment: This is the stage where the project is packaged and deployed from the development environment to the production environment.
- Continuous Monitoring: In this stage, the team responsible will monitor, and any issues within the current release of the software get recorded for future release iterations.
- Software Release: This is the stage where the most stable software version is released to the market for users to access.
This step may seem like the software release stage would be the end of development on the project, but it's only the end of that release version. All information collected up to this point is then collated and passed back to the source code stage to start the process again for the next version release.
This continuous integration and continuous development process is precisely the type of process that serves an ever-evolving technology world in the best possible way. Thankfully, DevOps has been around long enough that it has constantly evolving tools that support the process, further simplifying the lifecycle for developers.
Before wrapping up, let's briefly examine some of the tools that support the DevOps lifecycle.
Some DevOps Tools Worth Considering
The DevOps methodology is already a massive improvement to its predecessors. Still, developers can simplify it by choosing the right tools for you and your team. Users highly recommend the following tools for user support, simplicity, or efficiency — some for all those reasons. For clarity, this is only a list of tools to consider. If you'd like to learn more about them, you can check our DevOps Testing Tools post.
This list is by no means exhaustive. Still, it provides excellent examples of some tools you can look into to improve your DevOps lifecycle.
Moving Forward With DevOps
This post highlights the best reasons to switch to DevOps over other alternatives, but the benefits continue. And if you are still trying to decide if you should make the switch, the answer is yes. The benefits outweigh the risks, minimal as they are, and can lead to much better results, improved software development, and even improved team morale. Don't wait. Make that switch and reap all the benefits that come with it.