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Need help deciphering the latest DevOps jargon and Buzzwords?

DevOps is a term which has gathered considerable traction in the IT world recently. The concepts behind DevOps are not necessarily new but the term DevOps and the movement itself has only really arisen in the last few years. Whilst there are many interpretations of precisely what DevOps entails, at its core it involves a heightened level of collaboration between Development and Operations teams within the business. The break down of silos between Development and Operations ultimately leads to a more Agile relationship between business units. This increased collaboration allows for a more efficient and streamlined approach to releasing new versions of software and services and to addressing issues when they occur, as well as increasing the manageability and stability of ever more complex infrastructure.

DevOps tools and methodologies are often used to solve similar problems in different businesses. A common problem faced by many businesses is getting new software to production in as short a time as possible without incurring downtime or decreasing the quality of the service. Traditional methods often entail making a large number of changes to software which need to be tested before pushing the new version to production to a release schedule set by Operations. For this reason, development teams often perceive Operations as being a barrier to getting timely software releases live. Conversely, Operations are often battling the ever increasing complexity of infrastructure and the increasing need for getting new software to market more quickly makes maintaining stability and availability of the platform and services more difficult.

Automation of the release and test cycle is an important step to speeding up this process. Large releases with lots of changes make automation difficult if not impossible. A better approach is to make smaller, individual changes which can be easily tested and released in isolation. Similarly, complex infrastructure makes automation difficult too. One approach to solving this problem is Infrastructure as Code, which allows infrastructure to be defined in software and automatically deployed and managed. A first step on the road to adopting an Infrastructure as Code approach is to simplify the infrastructure. As well as making it easier to integrate into the Continuous Deployment and Release cycle, simplifying the infrastructure can make it easier to manage, more streamlined and efficient and, ultimately, more stable.

There are many tools which can help with the automation of your software life cycle and infrastructure management such as Jenkins, Bamboo, Puppet, Salt and Docker, to name but a few. However, rather than being the implementation of a specific tool or set of tools, DevOps can be seen as more of a cultural change. The problem of how new software and infrastructure is deployed and managed is only one of many problems faced by a technology company. DevOps methodologies help provide solutions to a whole array of problems. The most important aspect of DevOps is to break down the barriers which often exist between Development and Operations teams so that all interested parties can work together to provide the best solutions possible.

Whilst Dev and Ops teams are working towards the same goals, often, each does not have an appreciation of the difficulties faced by the other. By increasing collaboration and communication between teams, a DevOps approach encourages business units to work together, pooling knowledge and skills. Together they can streamline processes and build solutions which are more fit for purpose and easier to manage for everyone involved. Increased visibility of production service availability and performance metrics means speedier bug fixes and more efficient processes mean a quicker turn around for software releases. Automation of processes decreases the likelihood of human error, thereby increasing the stability of the platform. Less time fighting fires frees up resource to work on continually improving infrastructure and services.

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