How to Get DevOps Automation Right – a Starter’s Guide

Dror Arie Head of Engineering @ GlobalDots
5 Min read

Cloud technologies develop all the time, with the product pipeline being a focal point as companies are expected to deliver faster, better, safer code. But the latest DevOps technologies still require some consideration before adopting them to understand if they are a good fit for your use case.

With proper DevOps tools and streamlined processes, DevOps automation can help your company ensure the speed, quality, and security of your products. A successful automation strategy requires an organization-wide understanding of what tools and processes will make the difference.

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3 Benefits DevOps Automation Entails

Before diving into DevOps automation, you need to scrutinize your processes. The purpose of DevOps is to establish a seamless flow through your development and operations pipeline. You can automate your manual tasks to improve the speed of product development and deployment without compromising on quality.

Here are a few automation strategies that can help you get the most out of your DevOps tools:

1: CI/CD for Faster Development & Early Defect Detection

CI/CD implementation has become a cornerstone of DevOps automation. Continuous Integration (CI) processes help organizations test every code change or submission. Continuous Delivery (CD) allows companies to push the changes in release-ready form to production environments. Continuous Deployment broadens the idea of Continuous Delivery to release the product to customers automatically without any manual intervention.

Continuous Deployment might not be practical for all products due to the risks involved in the automatic release of a product to the public. Still, most businesses can implement Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD) to shorten development cycles, increase release velocity and improve defect detection.

Modern cloud computing providers have tools like AWS CodePipeline, AWS CloudDeploy, Azure Pipelines, Google Cloud Build, and more to support CI/CD processes. Also, there are open-source and proprietary tools like Jenkins, CircleCI, GitLab, TeamCity, etc. For DevOps automation, CI/CD is an essential strategy.

Codification of Systems and Processes for Better Collaboration and Security

Manual processes are time-consuming and error-prone. When businesses develop and deploy applications manually, they are more likely to have security incidents due to misconfigurations and unpatched vulnerabilities. Cloud-native environments have opened up opportunities for deploying Infrastructure as Code (IaC), Platform as Code (PaC), Configuration as Code (CaC), and Policy as Code.

When you use “as code” principles alongside reliable version control, workflow, and software engineering practices, you can deploy products faster with more reliable security testing. It simplifies compliance audits and improves collaboration between teams.

Most companies understand that security is vital for a cloud-native strategy. To learn more about why automation is necessary for your application security, download our State of Cloud-Native Application Security report.

2: Implementing Reliable Change Management for Audits and Compliance

Automating your change management processes can significantly improve your development and operations pipeline. Change management is no longer limited to application code. To track code for infrastructure, platforms, and configurations, you can use CVS, SVN, Perforce, Clearcase, Git, Mercurial, and other version control tools.

Change management automation increases traceability, improves security, decreases duplications and errors. You can deploy applications at scale without losing track of compliance requirements.

For example, DevOps automation can help with SOC2 compliance. Download our ebook The Complete Guide to SOC2 Automation to learn more about how you can automate to simplify your compliance tasks.

3: Monitoring for Performance, Security, and Insights

As the size and number of your applications grow, the development and production environments become more complex. Keeping track of performance and security parameters in such an environment can become overwhelming. DevOps automation can help you monitor the performance of your applications and infrastructure and provide the necessary insights and data to make better decisions.

Modern cloud environments provide DevOps service tools to monitor, log, track, and alert without human intervention. These tools can early detect application performance or infrastructure security issues. They can help you avoid service interruptions and outages.

7 Tips for DevOps Automation Success

The transition to an automated DevOps environment requires effort and patience. If you are planning to automate, here are a few ideas that can improve your chances of success:

  • Use Incremental Changes: You will be overwhelmed if you try to automate everything at once. Instead, take an incremental approach to build on small successes.
  • Try to Get Everyone On-Board: Whether automated or manual, every organization has specific processes in place. Without the support of your teams, it is not possible to change these processes. So, educate the whole organization about how automation will improve productivity and security.
  • Be Prepared to Fail and Learn: Implementing DevOps automation is similar to application development. You will run into bugs and failures. Use the failures as learning opportunities.
  • Take a Holistic DevOps Automation Approach: You cannot automate everything all at once, but you need to understand the bigger picture. Otherwise, your automation efforts will drift off. Also, remember to automate the tools. For example, if you use CI/CD tools to automate your application and server build processes, but you still have to update the CI/CD tool manually, you have an automation blindspot.
  • Use Agile Methods: Use agile methods and scrum teams to establish open communication, accountability, and cross-team collaboration for your DevOps automation processes.
  • Save Time Through Standardization: Develop standards for the whole organization to avoid silos. For example, it becomes difficult to discuss the same product if each department uses a unique versioning scheme for change management.
  • Keep an Eye Out for Scalability: When designing DevOps automation processes, you should ensure system elasticity. The systems should be able to scale up or scale down reliably according to the organization’s needs. Your automation tools should not break down as resource requirements change.

Use DevOps as a Service for Fast Automation

For teams new to DevOps automation, the implementation of CI/CD, use of “as code” principles, version control, and monitoring can seem overwhelming. But DevOps consulting services that provide DevOps as a Service can be a great resource. The DevOps consultants can help you find solutions to your unique problems by using their knowledge base of known challenges in your industry. It can save you time and resources.

The GlobalDots DevOps Automation Difference

Automating as many parts from your DevOps pipeline as possible is a wise security and business decision. Still, it can be a long journey of trial and error. DevOps as a service, or DevOps consulting services, can streamline and significantly shorten the process and make the result more accurate and scalable.

At GlobalDots, our senior-level DevOps engineers and experts have accumulated experience automating hundreds of projects across various industries. We can holistically analyze, streamline, and support your ecosystem with our unrivaled access and implementation expertise of the latest performance and security innovations. To learn more about our DevOps Automation Consulting Services, contact GlobalDots today.

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