DevOps focuses on continuous delivery based on the automation of the process. It subtly takes away focus from the development process to more on delivery. Rest all is streamlined through automation.
At least in textbooks. The ground reality is quite different from this. Clients looking for outsourcing their projects to a web development company expect them to follow the latest and most effective workflow. Many organizations are struggling to implement DevOps in its true sense and are running on an improvised hybrid version. Let’s not forget that DevOps is just a decade old and still gaining momentum with its adoption.
DevOps lays a beautiful and almost perfect setup for web development on paper, but it is much harder to achieve in reality. DevOps is one of those concepts, like weight management or learning grammar of a new language, that is simple in theory but difficult to put into practice. DevOps in the real world rarely resembles best practices in DevOps or the DevOps strategies that enterprises should follow in theory.
Organizations are facing many challenges when considering the practical aspects and figuring out what is, or is not, working in the DevOps space. Let’s go through some of the recurring challenges that surface when trying to get DevOps right i.e real-world DevOps.
The Company isn’t Structured the Way DevOps Theory Suggests
Every organization, according to DevOps theory, has an IT department and a development department. Making those departments function well together is what DevOps is all about.
Of course, not all businesses structure their personnel or technological operations in this manner. By default, some companies do not separate developers and IT engineers. Others (particularly smaller businesses) don’t have any developers or IT personnel on staff and instead outsource the task.
DevOps principles like collaboration and automation can still help these businesses. They should, however, avoid becoming fixated on DevOps’ instructions on how to organize technical tasks.
Few Skilled Professionals in DevOps
“DevOps engineer” is a popular job title these days. However, there aren’t many technical training programs that cater to the demand for DevOps. Majors and courses in software development are still separated from those that focus on IT at most institutions. In fact, if someone wants to master both IT and software development they would have to take up separate courses, which still doesn’t help much.
This means that hiring a DevOps engineer or other technical employees with a broad set of development and IT abilities is more challenging than it appears. DevOps engineers do exist, however, they are mainly senior employees who picked up their DevOps expertise on the job. They’re more expensive to hire, and poaching them from their current jobs is another challenge.
The Toolsets of Development and Operations are at Odds
DevOps requires the development and operations team to work as a single unit in its core. You can make the teams sit together but still not achieve the desired collaboration because they work on very different toolkits and deploy different metrics. Integrating the tools and unifying the metrics is not as easy as it sounds. Often this phase lacks automation and there is manual handover still prevalent. These compatibility issues slow down the entire infrastructure.
Complete Automation is a Distant Dream
Automation supersedes every other operation in DevOps. The entire DevOps process is automated, including building, testing, and continuous deployment, as well as live application performance monitoring.
In theory, automation is fantastic. However, you will never be able to automate everything. Human engineers will still be required to respond to difficulties or unprecedented issues that happen during testing, deployment, and production management on a regular basis.
Even if you successfully automate practically all of your operations, the reality that human engineers must be available to take over when something goes wrong undermines the concept that automation can be relied on alone.
DevOps emphasizes simplicity and reproducibility on one hand and agility and scalability on the other. These two do not go together.
As a matter of fact, DevOps rely on microservices and containers to increase their agility. These are still quite complex for most organizations to manage. As a result, most DevOps firms end up gravitating toward more complicated technology and architectures. They eventually place a higher value on them than on keeping things simple.
As we said, agility and simplicity do not mix in the real world. Of course, automation, infrastructure-as-code, and other methods can aid in the management of complicated agile technologies, but they can only go so far.
Continuous Integration Causes a Burden on Testing
Teams will test more frequently as a result of implementing continuous integration.
This means even more test cases need to be written than the traditional approach. As a matter of fact, the number of test cases increases threefold. This can be very time-consuming. Developers are often found struggling between fixing bugs and writing test cases.
Manual testing may save web developers time in the short term, but it may cost them more in the long run. The longer they put off writing test cases, the more difficult it will be to keep up with the development schedule. In the worst-case situation, your team may revert to their previous testing method.
What needs to be done here is that writing test cases should be given equal importance as codebase. This necessitates a paradigm shift in mindset in the company culture. Furthermore, getting a head start by writing test cases from the beginning would ensure timely and high test coverage of the product.
Not Many Companies are using DevOps
However, despite the fact that we’ve been in the DevOps era for a decade, the bulk of outsourcing web development companies have only taken baby steps toward implementing basic DevOps practices. Many more firms would be doing CI/CD by now if DevOps was half as easy to adopt as it appears to be while reading the latest book about how to do DevOps.
Financial services, government, and automobile manufacture, for example, all have IT departments. These typical companies have a lot of Generation X employees, waterfall-oriented procedures, and technology ranging from mainframe to client/server to cloud.
The obstacles they face in the traditional enterprise—even their notion of “faster”—are not the same as those faced by digital natives. While they may look up to Facebook and Google for inspiration, the road maps those companies followed aren’t totally relevant to what these companies need to do to adapt to be up to speed with DevOps.
Companies like Facebook, Twitter, and Amazon have leveraged DevOps to move ahead at lightning speed. Many other IT companies see them as guiding stars and aspire to be like them. Even after a decade of its launch, implementing DevOps best practices is still a challenge as not many companies have the resources to do textbook DevOps.
DevOps is more of a mindset rather than a process at this point. Organizations stand to gain a lot by implementing DevOps as faster implementation and continuous delivery save a lot of time and money.