Software development

DevOps: beyond software development

The DevOps role ensures software efficiency and reliability throughout its entire life cycle. Let’s dive into the responsibilities of DevOps, their essential tools, and why today they’re indispensable.

DevOps, a term blending “development” and “operations”, is a professional role responsible for optimizing software so it’s ready for deployment after development.

DevOps employs specialized tools, processes, and methods to streamline software development and release, collaborating with both front-end and back-end developers . His goal is to prepare the application for the end user. Much like a stage designer in theater, he crafts the environment to set the stage for a seamless performance.

‍Differences between developer and DevOps

While front-end and back-end developers focus on writing the software’s code, DevOps oversees its management, deployment across different environments, and system availability. 

Typically, there’s a distinct separation between development and operations teams due to their differing skills and goals. Without effective communication, there’s a risk of these teams operating in silos. While developers aim to introduce new features to a software, the operations team is tasked with ensuring its stability post-release.

DevOps acts as a crucial link, bridging the need for swift software modifications with the imperative to ensure its reliability. As such, a DevOps professional must possess strong interpersonal skills to effectively collaborate with different teams. 

Unlike developers, the focus of DevOps isn’t on crafting the software itself. Instead, he focuses on the system where the software will be deployed and its underlying infrastructure.

‍What a DevOps does

The main task of a DevOps is to verify and preserve the usability and stability of a software after it has been developed. DevOps aims to unify and automate processes, and his role is fundamental for managing the code written by developers, its application management and its distribution. In short, DevOps deals with the deployment of software, i.e. all those activities that make the software available for use.

Hermes’ experience has led to a process that involves very specific release phases:

  • DEV (development): it’s the environment in which the quality tester carries out the first tests to verify that what has been done by the developers is in line with the customer’s requirements.
  • QA (quality assurance): if the first test gives a positive result, the code is placed into an environment where it is tested by a sample of users who already know the behavior expected from the software, with the aim of verifying the changes with more realistic data.
  • PROD (production): once the tests in the previous phases have given positive results, a series of releases of the product is started in order to make it effectively operational.

These phases are not necessarily separate and successive to each other: they are interconnected processes, which together form what is often called the CI/CD method, i.e. the set of continuous integration (CI) and continuous distribution/deployment (CD) practices. The CI/CD method is supported by both the operational team and the development team, who collaborate according to the Agile methodology and through a DevOps approach.

These practices introduce constant automation and continuous monitoring throughout the application lifecycle, from integration and testing phases to the final deployment.

‍‍DevOps tools

A DevOps works mainly with Cloud tools such as AWS Cloud and Microsoft Azure. These are the most popular technological environments on the market for this type of operation, also chosen by us at Hermes as they offer several integration solutions and are particularly flexible and scalable. In addition, a good DevOps absolutely must know tools like Jenkins, Docker and Sonar Cube.

Cloud automation facilitates the work of the DevOps, because it reduces times, also avoiding any errors that could occur when carrying out very repetitive operations by hand, and is useful for systemising the various tests and checks that DevOps must carry out before releasing the product. For this reason, tools are used that automatically perform quality tests and also integrative tests (robot framework): the automation of these verifications guarantees that every time the customer makes change requests, the previous code does not show any regressions.

‍A team effort

The role of DevOps is pivotal because it bridges the gap between developers and users, ensuring the coherence of the entire production process. Indeed, the optimal performance of a software product isn’t solely based on the quality of the code crafted by developers. Instead, it stems from the full production cycle. That’s where DevOps shines, fostering tighter collaboration between development and operations teams. 

In essence, a high-quality product demands more than just a development team. A holistic team approach is imperative, a philosophy that Hermes has consistently championed. The fusion of teamwork, technical prowess, managerial acumen, and interpersonal skills is vital for our talents.

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