An overview of tools and technologies for software teams that want to adopt DevOps in the cloud.
DevOps is a software development methodology that merges development with operations. This methodology is being fast adopted by organizations and industry leaders interested in improving the efficiency and effectiveness of their Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) pipelines.
This article looks at the many cloud technologies that drive efficiency into DevOps pipelines, including tools for container orchestration, automation, messaging, and project management.
Why DevOps Lives in the Cloud
Cloud services provide globally distributed, high availability, scalable resources that are hard to match. These services enable teams to centralize monitoring and operations, and facilitate collaboration through shared repositories. The shared accessibility and modular infrastructure of the cloud enables teams to work in sync without bottlenecks.
These capabilities match well with the DevOps methodology. Additionally, many cloud providers are designing services specifically to meet the needs of DevOps teams. These tools enable teams to manage their application lifecycle and optimize development tasks more easily. Some of the tools available include features for source code management, workflow automation, and knowledge management.
With cloud services, teams can flexibly deploy resources and automate many of their infrastructure management tasks. This flexibility enables teams to work efficiently and reduces the effort needed to monitor or provision resources. If teams are using public clouds, they are also freed from managing or maintaining infrastructure hardware.
Stateless applications are another benefit of DevOps in the cloud. The way that resources can be provisioned on the fly and in microservice formats enables teams more freedom to update applications and services dynamically. This means faster releases, less downtime, and easier testing and deployment.
Best Practices for DevOps in the Cloud
When operating a DevOps team in the cloud, several best practices can ensure that you optimize efficiency and collaboration.
Use version control for all assets
In addition to your source code, there are many aspects of your application that can benefit from version control. These include user interfaces, static resources, documentation, and infrastructure configurations. Managing these aspects in versions enables you to reliably audit and improve operations because you know exactly how your versions were supported or operated.
As part of version control, you should also ensure that you are testing any changes in isolated environments before merging those changes. This testing helps ensure that changes are verified to work successfully and prevents team members from making simultaneous changes that conflict.
Automate application deployment
Cloud automation services can help you reliably automate application deployment and ensure smooth continuous integration practices. You can use these services piecemeal or to create a fully-automated pipeline for development and deployment.
With centralized automation, you can ensure that processes are standardized and timed according to your needs. When services from your cloud provider perform automation, you can rest assured that integration with your infrastructure and resources is not a concern.
Leverage infrastructure as code
Infrastructure as code (IaC) is an essential part of automating and versioning your resource configurations. With IaC, you can manage provisioning and deployments using the same workflows, processes, and potentially tooling as your source code.
This standardization makes infrastructure management more efficient. It also enables teams to share configuration information or self-deploy resources more easily.
Standardize governance practices
To ensure the greatest return on cloud investments, you need to put controls in place that help you track usage, costs, and access. You should also implement automated processes for auditing live resources and cleaning up unnecessary ones. This can help you gauge what amount of resources are needed and ensure that you aren’t paying for unused ones.
Cloud-Ready Continuous Integration / Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)
Cloud-based CI/CD enables teams to centralize and scale pipelines and processes. It helps eliminate isolated pipelines that can lead to inconsistencies in development and deployment and enables otherwise unattainable productivity growth.
As organizations incorporate hybrid or blended architectures and embrace rapid-release cycles, building custom pipelines for each deployment becomes inefficient. Cloud-based, general-purpose pipelines, however, can accommodate a range of infrastructures and platforms, and can be used for multiple development projects at once.
Cloud-based CI/CD tooling enables teams to scale workflows across technologies and architectures. It also enables teams to build modular pipelines that can be more easily adapted, shared, and scaled.
Tools and Technologies Facilitating DevOps and the Cloud
When implementing cloud-based DevOps and CI/CD pipelines there are many tools and technologies you can implement. Below are a few well-developed and supported ones to consider.
Docker is an open source container platform that serves as the base of many container deployments. With Docker containers, you can create modular services that can be deployed and operated independently of host attributes. These containers enable portability and flexibility that form the base of modern DevOps implementations.
Docker integrates with a range of tooling, making versioning and automation easier. It is also supported by all major cloud providers.
Kubernetes is the most popular open source container-orchestration platform. It enables teams to automate application deployment, management, and scaling. With Kubernetes you can monitor and orchestrate container operations and deploy highly available and resilient distributed systems.
Kubernetes can be used on-premises or in the cloud and is supported by all major cloud providers. It is also available in managed services, designed to support enterprise Kubernetes deployments at scale. These services may offer private hosting or offer integration into existing cloud implementations.
Slack is a communications platform that is cloud-based and includes support for chat, asynchronous messaging, and video calling. Teams can use it to maintain documentation of conversations, and manage communications through channels and groups.
Slack also includes features for integration with existing tools. These features enable you to receive notifications and status updates or trigger workflows from the platform.
Azure DevOps is a service that includes multiple DevOps solutions. It includes tools for agile planning and project management, pipelines, code and artifact repositories, and automated testing. You can extend the service through a variety of plugins available through the marketplace.
You can use Azure DevOps to automate workflows in Azure or on-premises and manage your infrastructure and resources via a pipeline. With Azure DevOps, you can define and manage your configurations and import or export configuration scripts.
AWS DevOps is a set of services that include tools for pipelines, building and testing code, deployment, and unified user interfaces. These services are designed to make DevOps on AWS resources simpler through native tooling and integrations. You can use services individually or bundled in a single pipeline and can integrate tools with existing AWS services.
DevOps and the cloud are now often used together, because there are so many cloud technologies that enable DevOps efficiency. Some popular tools and technologies facilitating DevOps and cloud implementation are Docker, Kubernetes, Slack, Azure DevOps, and AWS DevOps.
When choosing DevOps technologies, you should strive to leverage IaC for increased automation. You can use your vendor’s cloud automation tooling or a centralized solution, but be sure to standardize governance practices. You should also use version control for all assets, to ensure reliable auditing for each resource, according to predefined metrics.
This is a guest post by Gilad David Maayan.