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By Opinov8, July 23, 2019

The big players — Amazon, Apple, Facebook, Netflix, among others — are now devotees worshipping at the altar of DevOps. We know 81 percent of enterprises and 70 percent of SMBs are adopting DevOps, and this 2019 report indicates trends are only continuing on the upswing.

Automation is DevOps’ secret sauce. Are you there yet?

Organizations are stressed in new ways these days, thanks to the explosion of cloud-based applications. The need to deploy software releases to manage end-user needs regarding security, bugs, new features or unusual activity means that software and operations teams are stretched to their limits, creating internal struggles and strife. This child of Agile — DevOps — is far more than merely the latest flash-in-the-pan … It’s become a critical solution for this collaboration.

Combining software development (Dev) and software operations (Ops) is a practice little more than a decade old in software engineering. It’s underscored most strategically by monitoring and automation at every step of the process — from integration to testing, all the way to post-deployment management. Undeniably, the three main goals of DevOps are speed, cybersecurity and collaboration. Supporting all of this is automation.

How to sufficiently automate your DevOps process

The 2018 State of DevOps Report illustrates how organizations are benefiting from DevOps in ways that include lower change failure rates and less time dealing with security challenges, rework and unplanned work. At the same time, DevOps is vastly improving failure recovery, customer satisfaction and operational efficiency.

However, sufficient automation is required throughout the DevOps process to make these benefits come to life. Speed is the backbone of DevOps, and maintaining a steady sprint is all about automation done well. In this way, you can effectively manage things such as:

  • Ensuring that your source code is interference-free so it is always releasable
  • Transitioning manual to automated tests
  • Supplying the most optimal test environment
  • Implementing functional and non-functional tests
  • Deploying code
  • Rolling-back deployment to the latest version
  • Capturing metrics
  • Orchestrating the pipeline
  • Updating the DevOps dashboard
  • Four Ways to Improve Your Automation
  • Here are four actionable steps you can take right now to get your automation up to speed (pun intended).

    1. Run an audit.
    Are software changes getting to production fast enough?
    Are you catching feedback at all stages before going into production?
    Have you done everything to prevent downtime?
    Are you monitoring your software all the time?
    Have you made status reporting efficient for the whole team via a single dashboard?

    2. Deal with congestion.
    Automation is critical in your DevOps process on any day, says John Stiles, Director of IT and eCommerce for LEVOLOR, a century-old leader of custom window blinds and shades. “It is extremely important to dynamically allocate resources to ebb and flow with the demands of the customer on the services provided. DevOps is key to automate assignment of more CPU power, disk space and bandwidth to accommodate sudden changes in user demand. For example, the environment on a normal day is way different than during our Black Friday promos. Under normal circumstances, this would bring our server environment to its knees. Our DevOps team proactively or reactively increases resources to immediately affect the response from our architecture to make all user experience just like any normal day. In many ways, that’s where the DevOps resources are most needed.”

    So how do you avoid congestion?

    Dynamically allocate resources to respond to changing customer demands
    Prevent bad code that breaks the build.
    Improve testing processes in ways that include eliminating unnecessary manual tasks and ensuring that test automation is done (especially, for all new code).
    3. Make the very best use of your existing resources.
    Sort and organize your list of tasks.
    Prioritize so you can see the bird’s eye view of the improved automation process that you intend to implement.
    You know your team and their workload, so phase-in how to make these improvements seamless.
    4. Never stop evaluating and assessing improvements.
    It’s what DevOps is all about.