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DevOps Automation Explained [+5 Tools]

DevOps Automation Explained
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DevOps automation helps to close the feedback loop between the Dev and Ops teams with minimal human effort for rapid deployment of services and apps.

The consumption of technology products or services has skyrocketed. Now, the developers and producers are under constant pressure to meet the demand, innovate, create, market, update, and repeat.

From consumer goods production to high-tech IoT software development, you will find integration and robotic process automation everywhere. 

DevOps is nothing different. Many applications and practices automate the repetitive tasks of a DevOps cycle to help you publish software, mobile app, web service, or physical goods faster than your competitors.

Don’t know DevOps automation yet or not sure where to start? Continue reading!      

What Is DevOps Automation?

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DevOps automation is a set of technologies and tools that perform repeatable tasks and routine jobs that software or product engineers would else do manually. It also closes the loops and gaps of feedback and requests from the operations to the development team and vice versa.  

Automating development tasks throughout a software development life cycle (SDLC) helps operations teams and app development teams collaborate. 

Such collaborations could be for anything in the DevOps cycle, like continuous improvement of designs, build versions, tests, releases, deploys, and tracking of software applications. This is also equally applicable to products and services development lifecycles.  

The followings are the two primary objectives of automating the DevOps cycle: 

  • Boost cross-team collaboration in projects
  • Automate repetitive, routine, manual, and error-prone tasks.

DevOps automation practices and tools speed up time-to-market cycles by reducing bottlenecks caused by human errors, procrastination, skill shortages, etc. Thus, your development and operations team experiences fewer and shorter feedback loops. 

You can apply automation in various DevOps tasks. Here are some examples:

  • Efficiently apply the latest codes to the most recent commit
  • To a final release on a software repository
  • For service upgrades
  • On a standalone application ready to go to the market

Automation enables you to make the DevOps process cost-effective, affordable, and future-ready through continuous and incremental software/product/service development. 

Furthermore, you can optimize the automation via containers, Kubernetes, and microservices infrastructure. 

Need for Automation in DevOps

You need automation in DevOps to let your DevOps team members spend more time brainstorming, developing new codes, testing codes, etc. It eliminates mundane and error-prone tasks from your teams’ job boards. Hence, they can collaborate more often and respond effortlessly to each other’s queries.

Other notable reasons to bring a DevOps automation culture to your business are as below: 

Constant Features and Function

Constant Features and Function

You can make your product, app, or service more consistent when you use a robotic process automation tool during every phase of the DevOps cycle. Robots do not make mistakes until the code is faulty. 

Hence, if you need to churn out more copies of software or service for various devices and platforms, use automated DevOps.

Increases Development Speed

If you need to develop more apps or services in less time, DevOps automation is your best bet. By implementing this practice, you can gain a competitive edge over your rivals and quickly take your product to the market. 

Not just the initial product, if there are any bugs or security threats identified by users and ethical hackers later, you can push patches almost instantly. Thus, you increase users’ trust in your brand.

Makes DevOps Scalable

You can scale up the development process faster with automated DevOps than with conventional DevOps. 

Makes DevOps Flexible     

Changes can happen at any time in your business or the market. Such changes will call for an immediate product or service upgrades to match the customers’ demand for features and functionalities. Sometimes, you can even revamp your brand visuals which you want across products and services.

In an automated DevOps process, you must make quick configuration changes to apply across services and products. Hence, you can stay in the race for continuous alterations in the market dynamics.  

Types of DevOps Automation

The types of DevOps automation in a business vary with the industry, customer base, market size, investments, cloud adoption, etc. Here are the standard types of DevOps automation that you can implement: 

Automatic Testing

Automated end-to-end testing identifies defects, errors, security vulnerabilities, and bugs early in the continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline. 

This automation in DevOps ensures regular, secure, and high-quality delivery of products, services, or apps to the users.

Automated CI/CD

These pipelines are best suited and often practiced by agile DevOps teams. Automating CI/CD automation is crucial for developing good quality and secure code. 

This also helps you to meet critical business necessities. You can also extend the process to continuous deployment — as applicable — where all the successful modifications and updates will automatically go to the production level.

Automatic Collaboration

Automatic-Collaboration

Setting up meetings, brainstorming, and digital whiteboard events could cost your DevOps teams a lot of time. Also, it is not suitable for engineers to stay busy setting up meetings. 

Here comes automation in DevOps collaboration. Many tools, like Bitbucket Server, Atlassian Confluence, Microsoft Teams, Atlassian JIRA, Basecamp, etc., facilitate automated collaboration. 

Automated Network Provisioning

In such DevOps automation, developers always get access to the needed computing resources on demand. There is no need for the engineers to get involved in system configuring. You can use Kubernetes, Containers, and many other tools to provision network and computing platforms. 

Automatic Application Monitoring

You can set up the automated app and service monitoring tools in your DevOps project. Any downtimes, service issues, bugs, latencies, etc., will be monitored automatically. It reduces the mean time to repair (MTTR). You can also feed data through dynamic environment manager (DEM) tools.

Use Cases of DevOps Automation

Software Development

The biggest DevOps automation happens in the software development industry. Automation ensures smooth communication among teammates, resulting in better and faster collaboration. Project breakdown and task allocation to different teams can be done automatically with this process.

Automated DevOps can also assist you with early defect detection. Moreover, it reduces bug count and promotes easier bug fixes in the whole software development lifecycle. Finally, it facilitates faster software development and delivery to clients. 

Online Financial Trading Company

Online fin-trade companies can automate their development and testing process through DevOps automation.

It helps the organizations complete the deployment process in less than one minute, which used to take days and even weeks with manual efforts. The processing time also gets reduced, and clients have their interests served.

Telecom Service Providers

The automation of DevOps helps telecom companies to roll out new network cycles through designing and deployment. Apart from these, testing also becomes many times faster.

Moreover, automation also helps these companies add security patches to their network layers daily with minimum effort. It protects user data from all kinds of security threats.

Banking

Banking and fintech companies need to be careful about data compliance. Banks can integrate security and compliance measures by automating the DevOps process. Since automation makes the integration fast, there is less chance of security hazards. 

banking

It also reduces the time consumed during regression testing. As a result, banks can offer their customers quality applications in less time. It also includes less computation time, which means the companies have to spend less on it.

Automobile Industries

Scaling up production in the car manufacturing industry means a hectic method. It is important for the manufacturers to catch the error before the process. DevOps automation helps them do that easily and promotes seamless scaling up of production.

Features

Currently, the DevOps ecosystem lacks a full-service automation tool. Most projects use different tools for different phases of the DevOps lifecycle of an app or product. However, the followings are the standard features that an automation tool for DevOps must offer: 

  • End-to-end encryption for software codes or product design data so that rivals and hackers can not intercept your intellectual property or business data.
  • AI-based code completion and syntax suggestion for repetitive scripting.
  • A scripting platform like Google Colab provides access to various popular and most-used code libraries. Thus, developers can pick the libraries and make minor changes to write lots of code in a few minutes.
  • Project management features break down large projects into small tasks and accomplish them quickly.
  • A holistic dashboard for one or many DevOps projects.
  • Offer a production-identical ecosystem so that developers can work on a standard platform. This will limit development issues.
  • Continuous testing and security vulnerability checking at the back end in an automated process.    

Next, we will discuss how to choose an appropriate DevOps automation tool.

How to Choose an Appropriate DevOps Automation Tool

Ease-of-Use

DevOps automation software should have an interface that everyone can use without feeling challenged. Different teams will use this application, which could be a novel experience for many. Hence, these tools should be user-friendly, easy to use, and offers necessary visualizations for every user.

Scalability

As your business expands, your team can grow. If your DevOps automation application does not offer scalability, you will search for another tool soon. To avoid such situations, go for an application that offers scalability according to your requirements.

Features vs. Price

While choosing a DevOps automation platform, every company must compare the price against the value it offers. Check if a tool will offer all the features you need and how much it will cost you.

Integration

Various teams will use these tools, so they should support integration with all commonly used apps for a smooth workflow. Ensure you integrate it with development tools, IDEs, project management platforms, testing frameworks, and communication tools. 

DevOps Automation Tools

Find below some DevOps automation tools that the most successful DevOps team trusts: 

#1. Docker

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Docker is a tool for accelerated application development. Millions of developers use this platform to build, run, and share modern applications quickly. You can use it throughout the development lifecycle to skip the repetitive configuration tasks.

This comprehensive platform comes with UIs, CLIs, and APIs that work together for efficient and predictable development. It also supports cloud partners such as AWS, Azure, and JFrog.

#2. Jenkins

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Jenkins is the right platform for any size of development work. It is an open-source automation server that you can use to create, deploy or automate any DevOps project. 

You can install this self-contained program on Windows, Mac, Linux, and Unix-like OS. Using hundreds of plugins, you can integrate them with other tools you use.

#3. Git

Git

You can automate the DevOps process using Git. This open-source system can quickly and efficiently handle projects of any size. It also offers features like multiple workflows, convenient staging areas, and cheap local branching.

Since this application performs all operations locally, you can notice the high speed of the process. Because of distributed and branching system, you can implement any number of workflows here.

#4. Ansible

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With Ansible’s automation features, you can transform the DevOps practices of the development project. It enables you to modernize IT and deploy software applications faster and better. Teams can easily understand, adopt, and use this platform for quick bug discovery.

Also, it is useful for reliable deployments and coordinated feedback loops. Thus, employees can respond and scale up their workflow according to the demand.

#5. Progress Chef

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Progress Chef is a platform that brings developers and sysadmins together. The solution has four products: Chef Infra, Chef Habitat, Chef InSpec, and Chef Automate. 

It offers a complete automation solution for applications and infrastructure. Teams can accelerate their DevOps workflow with Progress Chef while ensuring compliance, management, app delivery, and cloud security.

Final Words

To grow your business, you need to develop services and products faster. Businesses under such pressure use automation in their DevOps processes. 

DevOps automation does not eliminate the workforce from the product, service, or app development pipeline. Instead, it increases the quality of your products and mitigates errors.

Adopt DevOps automation to get your product to the market ASAP with the least errors. Also, update your product frequently without breaking the bank. For assistance, you can use the above DevOps automation tools. 

Next up, you can check out the DevOps lifecycle.

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