DevOps – combining software development and operations – is a growing trend. What are the benefits to companies and culture? And why is it so important to have a dedicated DevOps team when it comes to custom software?
What is DevOps?
DevOps is an approach that combines practices from software development (the ‘dev’ element) with IT operations (the ‘ops’). The aim? Speed and scale.
DevOps can cut the lifecycle of systems and software development while facilitating continuous delivery. DevOps teams achieve this by focussing on evolving both new and existing products.
This stands in marked contrast to what used to happen: software was written, software was bought by firms, firms used that same software for years. No customisation, no updates, no security patching, little innovation.
It’s not only speed and continuous innovation that DevOps promises (and delivers!). In addition to practice and methodology, DevOps is also a mindset based on collaboration and close working relationships.
Again, this is a significant development on the traditional model, characterised by a siloed work environment. Developers would be coding in one corner and operations teams trying to run software in the other.
The benefits can be enjoyed by companies from a huge range of industries and from the smallest start-ups to household names. These include firms like Trainline, whose CTO Mark Holt commented in this piece, “We’ve seen enormous benefits from DevOps; not least a 60% reduction in downtime since we started our journey.”
Want more proof? How about the 99% of respondents to a 2020 DevOps Trends Survey who said that DevOps has had a positive impact on their organisation.
How long has DevOps been around for?
We can thank Patrick Debois for first popularising DevOps back in 2008. This was the year of the first Devopsdays conference, organised by the consultant, project manager and agile practitioner. Today, there are Devopsdays events throughout the year and across the world.
Despite its relatively long heritage in the IT world, DevOps is still a growing field. According to a 2021 GitLab report, for instance, 24% of the 2,000+ DevOps professionals surveyed say they’ve been on their DevOps team for less than a year, while another 30% have between one and two years of experience. If IT teams are still learning and building talent, then business leaders have even more to learn!
It’s interesting to note that this desire to learn is there – and it’s growing. Take the Google Trends research in this blog, for instance, which notes the continued growth over the years for topic. It also highlights a ‘clear and significant growth in worldwide searches for the phrase “devops” between 2018 and 2022, with total monthly search volume nearly doubling and approaching 600k monthly searches.’
This may come as a surprise. If the interest in learning about DevOps is there, then why are DevOps teams still relatively small? And why are many firms still not employing this approach when it comes to their own software development and integration?
The importance of a dedicated DevOps team
A good software house won’t just ‘pay someone to host something’; ‘they’ll have dedicated DevOps team members to manage the release and operations of the software too.
In addition to those mentioned above, having a dedicated DevOps team can deliver benefits such as evaluation and knowledge-sharing. By removing siloed ways of working, developers and operations teams can both analyse and evaluate the IT environment. They can also share knowledge and resources on the potential positive and negative impacts of developments.
Another benefit is security. DevOps marks an evolution from the traditional model of security as an add-on to software at the end of a development cycle. In a snappy definition, IBM says that DevSecOps ‘continuously integrates and automates security throughout the DevOps lifecycle - from start to finish, from planning through feedback and back to planning again.’
There are still challenges to overcome – including the relatively infancy of dedicated DevOps teams, as we highlighted earlier. This is due in large part to a skills shortage. Nearly half of respondents to a survey by Upskilling IT, for instance, named resource and skill shortage is one of their top three challenges.
DevOps in our DNA
We try to overcome this challenge and ensure that the benefits of DevOps can be enjoyed by all of our clients – and the culture enjoyed by all of our team members!
DevOps might be a new idea to many business leaders, but the mindset of collaboration and agility are among the founding principles of AppDrawn. The above methods and styles of working have structured and shaped our agile-inspired processes and culture for nearly two decades. And will do for many more to come!
If you’re interested to hear what DevOps can do for you and your custom software development project, get in touch.