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July 29, 2023 - 7 minutes

DevOps in the Cloud: Leveraging Cloud Services for Agile Development and Deployment

DevOps in the Cloud: Leveraging Cloud Services for Agile Development and Deployment

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If you work in software development, then you have most certainly worked with a project management style that keeps your team organized, on task, and efficient. Some prefer the waterfall method, but most rely on agile or DevOps.

Both are common strategies when working on software development and although they are similar, they are not the same. Nevertheless, they both depend on cloud services to design and manage software. Let’s take a look at these software development strategies and see how the cloud maximizes their use.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a portmanteau of two words development and operation. In this context, development refers to the software developers that create and design software and operations is the IT operations team that handles any software issues and maintains its health. These two teams collaborate seamlessly to maximize output in terms of development and deployment and in doing so, they are working on the software development cycle at the same time. 

Prior to project managers using DevOps as a reliable and efficient set of practices, software development and IT operation teams worked separately, which stunted the continuous forward movement that DevOps employs. So to continuously improve their products, they communicate and collaborate, allowing one to code and develop while the other manages and troubleshoots

Responsibilities of the software development team

Software developers are at the wheel in designing the product and are focused on the continuous integration (CI) of the code that they are developing. When they are updating the present code of the product, they are also running automated tests to ensure that the new code is integrating smoothly into the software and collaborating with their coworkers to review and confirm that the code is correct in continuous delivery (CD).

Responsibilities of the IT operations team

As the software developers are hard at work on the physical code, IT operators are managing the infrastructure on which the software is running and monitor it to ensure reliability and consistency. While monitoring, if any problems arise, the IT operations team is up to bat and resolves the problem in the most efficient and quick way to minimize the impact that it will have on the users’ experience. They also are focused on continuous deployment (CD) of the product when handling 

Both teams work fervently to maintain a CI/CD pipeline where they, along with some automated processes, are consistently coding, correcting, merging the code, delivering it to the infrastructure, and maintaining it. This process is the backbone of DevOps and what makes it one of the most efficient methodologies.

Thanks to the IaaS services on the cloud, DevOps teams can manage, provision, and scale resources using code, since IaC converts all of those resources from code into text files. Now in the form of text files, the infrastructure is put into the version control system; thus, version control system repository features allow the use of branch and pull request workflows as a function. The CI/CD pipeline makes it possible for DevOps teams to carry out coding. 

What is Agile Methodology?

Agile methodology is just like it sounds: fast and adaptive. This form of software project management focuses on constant iterations that build upon and improve previous versions of the software. Incremental iterations of the software are usually broken down into monthly or weekly sprints that focus on specific goals to complete.

In addition to incremental improvements, agile methodology depends on feedback from customers to direct them in modifying the current iteration as well as encouraging adaptability to whatever obstacles or feedback they receive. Projects are not static and the software developers constantly have their ears to the ground, ensuring that they are putting the customers first. 

DevOps vs Agile

It’s time for the big question: is devops agile? The answer is that they share some similarities, and yet they are not the same. Some of the shared principles include the following:

  • Adaptability and feedback: knowing that their product is by no means perfect and that there is room to grow and change, DevOps and agile run teams constantly make adjustments and changes based on external and internal feedback. Customers and peers assist the product team in perfecting the product when they provide feedback.

  • Speed: releasing the next iteration or patch in the shortest amount of time possible is key for both methodologies and as a result, both DevOps and agile run teams are constantly developing and revising code while managing the infrastructure of the product. 

  • Communication and teamwork: collaboration and teamwork are big components of both of these methodologies although they look different. In DevOps, they stress communication between the two teams; however, agile doesn’t focus on this breakdown. Instead, they focus on the team as a whole and sharing feedback amongst all team members.

  • Continuous integration: instead of working separately, both DevOps and agile run teams are focused on continuous integration of code that goes into a shared repository and as several developers are working on the current product, they don’t have to shut down the software. 

Despite these similarities, the biggest difference between agile and DevOps is that agile is a development methodology that emphasizes the importance of incremental changes and customer satisfaction while DevOps is a set of practices that encourages teamwork and automation

In fact, these two are complimentary, which begs the question: how does DevOps work with agile?

Agile DevOps

Since they share principles and concepts, combining the two is not only possible, but very effective; however, it does mean making some adjustments to make them compatible. Some aspects to keep in mind when bringing them together are the following:

  • Schedule alignments

  • Software cycle definition

  • Backlogs

  • Communication

  • Automation and the cloud

One of the most important aspects of DevOps is the use of automation and the cloud and because of it, agile DevOps teams can accomplish swifter development and deployment. 

Leveraging the Cloud

As mentioned above, DevOps uses the cloud to optimize infrastructure as code and as a result,  they receive the following benefits:

  • Enhanced infrastructure provision: the cloud provides an infrastructure that teams can provision and scale servers and storage, depending on their needs. Collaboration over how it is provisioned is necessary and enables them to be immediate and efficient.

  • More efficient communication: coordinating as a team can be bothersome when you’re using a variety of platforms and programs to complete your work but with the help of the cloud services, this is nipped in the bud. Cloud services oftentimes include communication applications that offer users the chance to stay on the cloud service without using other applications and facilitates communication. 

  • Faster CI/CD pipeline: automating a CI/CD pipeline is one of the most essential components of having a successful DevOps set of practices. The cloud creates the infrastructure on which the CI/CD pipeline is set up and enables the continuous deployment, development, and corrections of code; this way, the team can both swiftly and reliably work on the product. 

  • Wider range of tools: depending on the cloud service, users will have access to different tools and extra perks. In addition to storage, cloud services offer a wide range of tools that DevOps teams can leverage for their projects such as monitoring and analytics tools.

  • Less work: it’s time to be honest: we all like less work on our plate and when using the cloud with DevOps, a full team can automate many of their processes. Some processes that they can automate are infrastructure provisioning, testing, scaling, continuous integration, continuous deployment, monitoring, alerting, security, configuration management, and many more. It depends on how they use API and other tools. 

The cloud immensely benefits software development teams, whether they’re using just DevOps, agile or a combination of the two since it offers a great deal of automation, tools, and flexibility to their process. Software development is a painstaking process that can take many iterations to finally get to your final goal; however, through working more intelligently and efficiently with more tools and more appropriate methodologies, the process can be more streamlined

If software development intrigues you and you want to work on exciting projects, check out Ironhack’s Web Development course! What are you waiting for?

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