The application development process is challenging and time-consuming due to complex delivery processes. It may take quite a while to move from app conceptualization to deployment. At least that is how it was in the old days. Building a software application today is a bit of a different story. Businesses can no longer afford the old ways when their competitors become leaner and more efficient each year.
Many businesses, including Meta, Netflix, Amazon, and other leading companies in the industry switch to DevOps lifecycle to build applications faster.
DevOps is one of the most discussed approaches in software development today. If you have decided to go for DevOps and want to learn more about how the DevOps SDLC looks and what phases it includes, you have come to the right place.
In this article, we are going into the details of the DevOps software development lifecycle and its key components.
What is DevOps?
Development and operations were separate secluded processes for a long time. The software engineers wrote the code and system administrators were in charge of its deployment and integration. The specialists in those two teams mainly worked separately on the project since the communication between them was limited. However, growing competition and the rise of Agile approach proved this set-up proved to be too time-consuming and far from efficient.
At that time, DevOps approach came into play, effectively reducing the time spent on SDLC and ensuring the continuous release of reliable software applications.
DevOps is a combination of two terms, namely development and operations. It is a set of development practices that represents a collaborative approach to tasks performed by development and operations teams as part of end-to-end product development. This breaks the ice between two teams and pushes them to work together towards a common goal. Organizations reap three main benefits by leveraging DevOps services. Those span the technical, business, and cultural aspects of the DevOps SDLC process:
Higher speed and quality of product release.
Faster response to customer needs.
More productive working environment.
DevOps Lifecycle: Key Components
The SDLC in DevOps is be a sequence of development stages (Plan, Code, Build, Test, Release) gradually moving into operations (Release, Deploy, Operate, Monitor, Plan Improvements) that further move into development.
Unlike the traditional SDLC stages, the different phases in DevOps are ongoing, tightly interconnected and happen close in time. It is often very hard to distinguish when a certain phase moves into the other, so it makes sense to consider those as parallel and continuous processes rather than stages that follow one another in a strict succession.
Continuous development involves software planning and coding. The planning part includes collecting the project requirements, discussing them with stakeholders to create and prioritize the backlog that holds the list of new features and changes to the existing ones that need to be implemented. Once the requirements are defined and the backlog is created, the developers can move on with the coding.
It is important to understand that the code is usually created according to the coding guidelines and in-line with the solution architecture defined at the early stages of the project. These coding guidelines and architecture documents are maintained and are kept up-to-date by the project team as a part of the development process.
Based on the core values of the Agile model, DevOps fosters regular and frequent software releases, so the code is usually released in batches that create a continuous stream of updates. The team maintains the code using source code management (SCM) and maintenance tools (such as Git, Jira, Mercurial, CVS, and SVN).
The code created in development moves further to integration. During the continuous integration phase, new code or additional functionalities are integrated into existing code. The new code batches integrated into the existing code togethe are called commits. The commits occur daily or at a gap of a few days.
Automated tools are applied to check the builds and codes before the integration. Jenkins is one of the most popular DevOps tools that is used to update source code and build assemblies as .exe files. With the Jenkins tool, these transformations run smoothly and the updated code will be packaged and sent to the next stage, the production server or test server.
Continuous testing in DevOps is the process of running automated tests at every stage of DevOps SDLC. Some testing teams conduct a continuous testing phase before the integration takes place, while others do it after the integration. If the error occurs, the code is sent back to the integration stage for modifications.
The test environment is created using Docker and Containers. At his stage, you should run automated tests & user acceptance tests and generate reports for the test evaluation process. Test automation tools such as TestNG, JUnit, Selenium, etc. are used for continuous testing. When the software is bug-free, it is ready to move to the next phase of the DevOps software development lifecycle.
Continuous deployment is the process where the code is deployed to production servers. A critical aspect of the continuous deployment phase is configuration management which accurately deploys application code to all servers and manages consistent application performance. The code is pushed to the server and updates are planned accordingly. In general, continuous deployment makes it easy to operate an application on various devices.
Chef, Puppet, Ansible, and SaltStack are the most popular tools that are used in continuous deployment. These tools help to ensure that your development, staging, testing, and production environments are consistent. Container tools such as Vagrant or Docker are used in the configuration management process.
Continuous monitoring is aimed at quickly detecting bugs, security threats and compliance issues in your IT infrastructure. During this stage, the functionality of the application is constantly monitored for system errors such as low memory, server unavailable, etc.
The IT operations and maintenance experts are more engaged in this phase than the software developers. They are responsible for supervising user activities, testing the system for abnormal behavior, and tracking down bugs. Sensu, ELK Stack, NewRelic, ELK Stack, Splunk, and Nagios are the main DevOps tools for continuous monitoring. These tools deliver full control over the system, production servers, and application performance for proactive system health checks. Continuous monitoring allows DevSecOps teams to get real-time insights into every step of the DevOps lifecycle.
At this stage, the software developers get information about performance and problems encountered by the end user. The continuous feedback aims to analyze and improve the application code. Programmers address the feedback and introduce changes to fix the issues. Once all changes have been made, the DevOps team moves on to release a new version of the software.
Typically, organizations conduct surveys or post questionnaires on customer forums to collect this information, but you can also collect it through social media platforms. These inputs together can help balance needs when planning for future releases.
The key purpose of continuous operation is to automate the release of the product and its updates. This process in DevOps lifecycle is aimed at making sure that the performance of the application is not affected by new updates and releases. The application should not have any downtime and run like clockwork.
The main goal of this continuous operations is to increase the uptime of the application to guarantee uninterrupted service. All DevOps operations are based on continuity with full automation of the release process and enable the company to reduce the total time to market.
Without any doubt, DevOps has created a new culture in product development by making sure that the end software product complies with the highest quality standards. The main purpose of the DevOps lifecycle is to maintain continuity and optimize automation. Continuity is the paramount aspect when it comes to the DevOps SDLC. You should run the mentioned DevOps phases in a circle continuously until you reach the ideal quality of the product.