Exploring the DevOps Lifecycle phases.

Traditional life cycle phases and associated problems

The traditional development life cycle follows the typical flow of development, testing, integration, and deployment. This typical approach is simple to follow but crops up complexities in later phases leading to overbudgeting and delay in the  release

How the DevOps Life cycle is different from the traditional one

DevOps takes the “continuous” approach wherein each phase is repeated throughout till the release. It has phases such as continuous development, continuous integration, continuous testing, continuous deployment, and continuous monitoring.

Let’s explore these –

Continuous Development

This phase includes project planning and code development.  The project plan should take the needs of all the stakeholders into the consideration and plan for the necessities like resources,  scope, a schedule, budget, and risk management. Developers then start their development according to planning.  Programming languages, Version control tools, and packaging tools play role in this phase.

Continuous Testing –

Developed code is continuously tested for bug creeps. Testing is automated. There are various testing automation tools like Selenium (Automated testing), TestNG(Test report generation), JUnit. These tools allow QAs to test multiple code bases thoroughly in parallel to ensure that there are no flaws in the functionality. In this phase, Docker Containers can be used for simulating the test environment. The entire testing process can be automated with Jenkins.

Continuous Integration –

This stage has proven to be revolutionary as the traditional cycle used to involve integration as an end phase. This approach leads to late detection of various problems leading to late delivery and increased cost.  In DevOps as and when new code is ready, it is tested and integrated with the existing code. This keeps the application up-to-date and changes are reflected the end users. Jenkins plays important role in the phase by fetching the code from the repository and building it. This build is then forwarded to the test server or the production server.

Continuous Deployment –

This is the stage where the code is deployed to the production servers.t Configuration management and Containerization tools play a vital role in this phase. This set of tools here helps in achieving Continuous Deployment (CD). Configuration Management is the act of establishing and maintaining consistency in an application’s functional requirements and performance.  Some popular tools that are used here are Puppet, Chef, SaltStack, and Ansible.

Containerization tools also play an equally important role in the deployment stage. Docker and Vagrant are the popular tools used for this purpose. Containerization eliminates this problem by bundling the application code together with the related configuration files, libraries, and dependencies required for it to run. This single package of software or “container” is abstracted away from the host operating system, and hence, it stands alone and becomes portable—able to run across any platform or cloud, free of issues.

Continuous Monitoring –

This is a very crucial stage of the DevOps life cycle where you continuously monitor the performance of your application. Monitoring encompasses the functionality and performance analysis of the application. The root cause behind the issues is identified and fixed. It involves the Operations team who will monitor the user activity for bugs or any improper behavior of the system. The popular tools used for this are Splunk, ELK Stack, Nagios, NewRelic, and Sensu. These tools help you monitor the application’s performance and the servers closely and also enable you to check the health of the system proactively.

Benefits and takeaway

These DevOps stages are carried out on a loop continuously till you achieve the desired product quality. Therefore almost all of the major IT companies have shifted to DevOps for building their products. They can also improve productivity and increase the reliability of the systems, which in turn reduces IT support costs. Any major issues if found are reported to the development team so that it can be fixed in the continuous development phase. This leads to a faster resolution of the problems.

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