DevOps Automation | What Is It and How to Apply It in DevOps Practices

DevOps Automation | What Is It and How to Apply It in DevOps Practices
In DevOps, practice automation starts with code generation till monitoring the final product performance. This article will determine the basic principles, benefits, and practical value of DevOps automation. We will guide you through the primary DevOps process that should be automated for successful goal achievement. Moreover, the text will focus on the practical implementation of building DevOps automation.

What Is DevOps Automation?

When we speak about DevOps and automation, we mean automating manual DevOps tasks through the whole cycle. It can be applied to the design and development, deployment and release, or monitoring stages of DevOps. The main goal of the process is to reduce the manual workforce.

At the same time, automation is the best way to build a more efficient process. With DevOps automation, you will not need big teams for projects, and you will reduce human errors, increase team productivity and create a dynamic DevOps lifecycle.

Critical Benefits of DevOps Automation

You can think that all the benefits of DevOps automation are related to performance improvement. Moreover, we will define three main benefits that make you start building a DevOps pipeline in your company.

  1. Consistency and Predictability. Each process can have errors at the final stage, but automation reduces its number to a minimum. The highly automated process is predictable, as software automated tools will do the same things. It also makes a process consistent that ensures a high quality of development.
  2. Scalability of Project. It is evident that to scale a manual process is quite a complicated task. A significant advance of DevOps automation is releasing new code quickly and efficiently. It is actually for teams that manage multiple applications in multiple environments.
  3. Speed of Product Delivery. The automation process ensures moving from stage to stage very quickly. It allows the delivery of software in a short time sequence. With automation, all the functions do not depend on people or time, and it will enable us to go through the stages without any delays. Usually, developers need access to environmental, configuration, and other information to deploy new releases manually. DevOps automation services allow managing all the operations significantly faster.
  4. Flexibility. In most cases, the flexibility of automated processes depends on software configuration. It is easier to change a code based on new requirements than to teach a team how to manage the operations in a new way. Automation makes DevOps flexible.

What To Consider in DevOps Automation

Before defining what you need to automate and how to implement it into the DevOps lifecycle, we will point out a few things you need to consider.

  • Use open standards for automation services. It can allow you to simplify the onboarding process and reduce the time for special training. Team members in your organization can change, but it does not mean that you need to change the tools every time. It became even more actual with moving DevOps and deployment to cloud solutions.
  • Implement dynamic variables. The best advice is to prioritize reusable code to reduce the number of reworks and duplications. If you securely use externally defined variables, it will be easy to apply automation to different environments without changing the general code.
  • All the tools must be flexible. Using DevOps instruments that can change the technology will protect you from reworks. Use a solution with a broad ecosystem to apply your set of best practices for any situation. As flexibility is one of the critical benefits of DevOps automation, you need to focus on flexible tools at the very beginning of the process.

What DevOps Processes Do You Need to Automate?

The most straightforward answer to this question is to automate everything possible. It is true, but at the same time, we would recommend focusing on a few standard processes that must be automated for the most efficient results.

First, you need to define that all the processes for automation depend on external factors, and it can be an organizational need or technological usefulness.

For best goal achievement, the team needs to define what processes need to be automated first. Next, we will outline the most important for ideal DevOps lifecycle automation.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery

CI/CD is the critical component of DevOps automation. It will be challenging to ensure fast application development and delivery without CI/CD automation. CI implements testing for each change, allowing users to see if those changes violate something in the environment. CD will enable you to expand any release candidate to production at any time. At this stage, we would also add continuous deployment automation that ensures automated distribution of every successful change to production.

Infrastructure

The next important step is to automate infrastructure management. For example, networks or servers require time for maintenance, initial setup, or changing configurations. Creating a software-defined infrastructure will allow us to manage it without human work.

Software Testing

You can not skip the testing process, but it usually takes time and human resources. In 2019 organizations spent 23% of their budget on testing. Using specific test automation tools allows to increase the efficiency of testing and reduce the number of errors. The process includes the automation of simple unit tests, UI tests, and smoke tests.

Monitoring

Continuous monitoring runs to understand the behavior of the software and its productivity. Moreover, it is a process of control stability and performance. DevOps must get accurate and insightful data from monitoring. At the same time, monitoring automation tools must be focused on security, as it is essential to get an immediate alert in case of any emergency.

Log Management

It is almost impossible to collect and analyze the log data from a DevOps environment, and the only way is to implement an automated solution for these operations, which will also make defining issues in logs easier. To mention, change management also can be a critical issue for DevOps, and its automation can be focused on version control, change control, and configuration management.

Final Thoughts

Automation DevOps practices is a complicated but inescapable process. It must be implemented in all stages, from development to application deployment and monitoring. This article outlines the basic principles that can help you start the automation or improve this process in your organization. Moreover, it can be unique for every case. The best way to start is to try an automated tool on a small project or process and then scale your successful experience.

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