“Making mistakes is human. Automating them is DevOps” – NixCraft
DevOps is a set of practices that have become omnipresent in software development, often regarded as the best way to build better software in an agile way. Yet many companies underestimate the complexity of applying DevOps. Without a battle-tested team that combines technical experience and excellent communications skills, it might be an impossible task. DevOps outsourcing services can provide such a team.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is a software engineering methodology that combines the work of software developers (Dev) and software operations (Ops) teams to forge one collaborative unit that delivers top-notch software in a fast, automated and iterative way. DevOps is a cultural and technical bridge between software development and infrastructure operations.
Born from an Agile project management method, DevOps has become a household name in the software development world over the last several years. The name came about organically around 2009 and slowly gained traction within the IT industry. Adopting a DevOps approach was a watershed moment for many IT companies.
DevOps’ most vital characteristics
DevOps can be applied in several ways, but no rules are set in stone. Throughout the last ten years, the State of the DevOps report outlined several DevOps guidelines. Just like the software development process itself, it’s an ever-evolving methodology, but the following four primary characteristics stand out.
- Automation of the software development lifecycle – automation in testing helps speed up the software creation process and enables engineers to focus on other tasks. There are plenty of tools and platforms used to automate the testing procedure. However, experienced DevOps teams know the importance of human factor along the way.
- Continuous integration (CI) and continuous deployment (CD) – CI/CD remain at the center of DevOps modus operandi. CI helps inject new code into existing ones, while CD automates releases. Setting up suitable CI/CD pipelines is crucial for executing a series of tasks to guarantee that code is built, tested and deployed successfully.
- Monitoring and observability – DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) analysis indicates that comprehensive monitoring and observability play crucial parts in continuous delivery. Based on gathering predefined metrics or logs, monitoring increases teams’ abilities to watch and understand the condition of their systems. Observability, based on exploring properties and patterns not defined in advance, is a tooling or a technical solution that empowers teams to debug their system actively.
- Proper communication inside and outside the team – DevOps is not only about technology and processes, but also about people. Lack of communication between team members or the organization will run a project to the ground. Success relies on creating a culture of accountability, improved collaboration, empathy and joint responsibility for business outcomes. DevOps team must be aware of users’ needs. The best way is to bring a client into the process and listen to feedback.
DevOps outsourcing advantages
Why does a company decide to trust an outside team with DevOps instead of going in-house? In theory, using internal hires means maintaining complete control over workflows, keeping a high level of security and working with a team that knows a product very well. It’s true, as long as the company has developers with the right mindset who are willing to embark on a DevOps journey. Truth be told, many businesses in need of a digital transformation lack such employees and recruiting them is very demanding.
Challenges with turning in-house developers into battle-tested DevOps operatives are why IT executives pivot to DevOps outsourcing services Hiring a dedicated external team means no additional investments in recruitment processes and employment retention infrastructure. Forging an in-house DevOps team is one of the most expensive and time-consuming endeavors a company can undertake. And even after finishing the hiring process, it takes time for a DevOps team to get to know each other and gain real-life experience. A dedicated development team comes in ready to work from day one, with a fresh perspective and a more agile approach to development problems.
It’s worth comparing in-house development capacity with services offered by a software house.
|In-house developers||Software house|
|Project scope and complexity||Long- term, complex projects||Long-term, complex projects|
|Cultural fit||Easiest to achieve||Requires finding a software house with a similar culture
|Infrastructure and back-office investments||High||Low|
An outsourced DevOps team can be scaled up or down according to a client’s needs. There are no internal company distractions, like additional tasks or working conditions, that could reduce an outside team’s effectiveness. Instead of trying to fill in positions to join an in-house DevOps team, it’s far more efficient to benefit from the services of a competent, battle-tested, and agile DevOps engineers team working for an established software partner.
DevOps is a proven approach to delivering high-quality software faster, but it also requires a suitable skillset and mindset.
Team effort and years of experience are crucial
As someone responsible for software development and operations, a DevOps engineer must possess the right set of talents. Contrary to popular belief, top-notch coding skills are not on top of the list, as many, although not all, DevOps engineers firstly have strong analytical skills and experience as solution architects. Experienced DevOps vets agree that the best team members are people with extensive software operations (Ops) experience who have worked as system engineers and application or systems administrators. Their background and knowledge are vast, as they’ve dealt with tasks like automation and infrastructure, CI/CD, observability, all the while acting as performance tuners.
Teamwork remains the critical ingredient of DevOps. The wide range of tasks that DevOps involves makes it virtually impossible for one person to be an expert in everything. It is much easier and more effective to have a cross-functional team. People who are already specialists in one area can learn additional DevOps skillets during the work, which will add value to an elite DevOps group. A sample DevOps team may consist of a Software architect, Cloud engineer, CI/CD engineer, Site reliability engineer and so on.
A well-functioning DevOps team comprises specialists in many fields who share their knowledge with other team members, acting together as a self-sufficient team able to face any challenge fully independently.
DevOps engineer – what does it take to be one?
To become a good DevOps, you need to have years of on-the-job experience, hence the career path evolution of experienced system admins, systems and application engineers to DevOps. A DevOps engineer must deeply understand how systems behave and perform under different conditions, especially when dealing with cloud-based applications.
In the words of Teresa Dietrich, Stack Overflow’s Chief Product Officer “The right DevOps culture ultimately makes the product you deliver better.” Here are some traits a good DevOps engineer should have:
- Communication and collaboration mastery – the right human approach is necessary since DevOps programmers must talk to many parties involved in the development process on a daily basis.
- Familiarity with DevOps tools – the appropriate tool for the job is essential. Depending on the tasks at hand, mastery in deployment automation, containers, infrastructure orchestration, monitoring or various network protocols is required.
- Security in mind – a source code created by a DevOps engineer must remain bulletproof. The same goes for the development of a CI/CD pipeline. During the work, implementing encryption and other obligatory security procedures will be the everyday bread and butter.
- Problem-solving and knowledge sharing – acting as a jack-of-all-trades, a DevOps team member will frequently support other developers on the team and (mostly) outside it. Sharing information and experience are vital to the whole process.
- Thirst for learning – DevOps engineer skills need to continuously evolve. Constant upskilling is a must as, along a career path, he/she will gain experience from numerous projects. Comprehending the technical aspects won’t be enough, as understanding the business itself will also play a significant part in daily work.
- Failing without fear – performing in a DevOps team means working under constant pressure. Furthermore, failure is a part of the process. Every day, a DevOps engineer takes risks and learns from mistakes.
The wide-ranging skills required to be a DevOps engineer have led to a new breed of developers. As the “State of DevOps” report puts it: “No one disagrees that DevOps is about delivering business value through software services or applications. But DevOps is also about the people, process, and technology”.
A cultural development shift worth taking
DevOps outsourcing is not only a technical solution but also a cultural shift. For every company that relies on software, it is the team that creates value — either by developing a product or providing services. Thus, it is crucial to consider how they operate, communicate and collaborate. For IT leaders, it’s among the most important things to remember. Everything hinges on the ability to work together and act as a group dedicated to achieving a common goal. That’s the very essence of DevOps.
If you’d like to know more about agile DevOps outsourcing and how dedicated development teams work, get in touch using this contact form – covering all potential predicaments in one article is impossible. Our experts are more than happy to help you find a tailor-made solution for your needs.
About the authorTomasz Człapski
Systems Architect/Team Manager
A Systems Architect with many years’ experience deploying IT systems and extensive telecommunications knowledge. Tomasz likes to dive deep into things he’s working on and learn how systems work from their core, to ensure complete understanding. A cloud-native evangelist, he is passionate about his work and thrives when solving technical problems - the tougher the better. As a leader, Tomasz believes that sharing knowledge and selecting a team that fits well together are the keys to success.