The term DevOps is now ubiquitous, but that hasn’t made it any easier to define. DevOps fuses the software development process and operations. It is more a software development lifecycle methodology than a standardized set of norms.
There are a few fundamental elements that, when combined, create a unique DevOps culture. First of all, there is continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD for short). In a nutshell, CI/CD means that we don’t wait until a major release is ready (usually a couple of times a year) to take it public. The practice has shown that such big releases were prone to errors. Small releases that roll out small patches, even weekly, help improve customer satisfaction and better fit the Agile approach to software development. Of course, it goes without saying that in such a scenario, strict version control is needed. Moreover, DevOps practices in cloud-based and cloud-native software have changed the perception of the software development cycle. The traditional distinction between Day 0, Day 1 and Day 2 is no longer valid. The steps that have traditionally been left until the very end can now be performed much sooner, which has led Day 1 and Day 2 to now overlap one another.
Each of the several steps of the DevOps process has several stages that combine, along with their respective tools, to form a DevOps toolchain. The first stage involves coders writing code, which is then, in the second stage, built into software or an application by means of CI tools. The next stage is continuous testing, where the newly created application is tested. The fourth step, packaging, stages the application pre-deployment. The fifth stage is the release of software when it becomes available to the public.
Those five stages are followed by configuring and managing the infrastructure. Here infrastructure as code (IaC) is a key term. It means that an infrastructure (either bare metal or virtual machines) is managed with machine-readable definition files. The last stage, monitoring, ensures that the application being deployed works correctly. This process is continuous, meaning it’s repeated multiple times in the application’s lifecycle. Since many of these steps are automated, a new release’s time-to-market is significantly shorter than traditional software development methodology manages.