Amazon is known for lots of innovative solutions and consumer products, but not many know about their major accomplishments within their own office. For example, in 2010 Amazon made history by moving all of their data from physical servers to the Amazon Web Services (AWS) cloud, and firing up an internal code deployment system called Apollo, which gave developers the ability to deploy code whenever they want to whatever servers they need.

This saved millions of dollars and enabled the company to work at lightning speed and efficiency. By May 2011 Amazon was deploying new software to servers at an average of every 11.6 seconds. In the busiest hour, 1,079 new deployments were sent into the production environment.

Now experts reflect on Amazon’s decision by saying that it’s a classic example of what is now called DevOps. DevOps is the practice of operations and development engineers participating together in the entire service lifecycle, from design through the development process to production support. In the case of Amazon, developers took over some operational duties and speeded up the whole process.

Otherwise, every deployment process would have to be done by operations, and that would take extra time. Some say that DevOps is a set of tools or rules, but actually, it stands out as a philosophy that rejects the idea of software developers and managers just minding their own business. DevOps encourages these two to know each other’s craft and be constantly aware of what’s going on in the company.

Think of DevOps as a big office where everybody works together and constantly shares information, development is rapid and steady, mistakes are avoided through using specialized software, and it seems like everybody is always up to date and lucid, independent and good at what they do.

Origins of DevOps

It was only a matter of time that DevOps would emerge. Companies have been suffering from lack of communication and clashes between development and operations for too long, resulting in slow production and overall inefficiency in a newly fledged and constantly growing digital world. Most experts agree that DevOps was started in 2007 by a man called Patrick Debois.

Apparently that year Patrick Debois started working for a Belgian ministry where he managed data centers. He was a very curious and determined man that sought to understand how the IT infrastructure works, and since he was responsible for quality assurance, Patrick Debois would always move between those who develop and those who operate. Some days he would work with developers and observe them writing code.

Other days he would submerge himself within operation groups, ensuring that the production is running efficiently and the code was deployed. Switching back and forth made Patrick Debois realize how profoundly different development and operation cultures are. There had to be a way to unite them. Debois encountered the like-minded Andrew Clay Shafer at an Agile conference in 2008, and their discussions laid the building blocks for what would later become a huge worldwide movement.

By the way, Patrick Debois himself came up with the name ‘DevOps’ by taking the first three letters of development and operations and mixing them together.

Principles of DevOps

DevOps focuses heavily on establishing a collaborative culture and improving efficiency through automation with DevOps tools. While some organizations and people tend to value one more than the other, the reality is it takes a combination of both culture and tools to be successful. DevOps culture is characterized by increased collaboration, shared responsibility, autonomous teams, improving quality, valuing feedback, and increasing automation.

DevOps tools consist of configuration management, test and build systems, application deployment, version control, and monitoring tools. Continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment require different tools. While all three practices can use the same tools, you will need more tools as you progress through the delivery chain.

To keep it short, DevOps is based on constant development monitoring, from deployment and integration to product design, testing, and release. At the foundation of DevOps is a continuity that touches all software construction stages and improves collaboration around it. Let’s have a look at what DevOps such a powerful and efficient workforce.

Continuous delivery

This is the development practice of running every code change through automated tests, creating successful application builds, and promoting them up to the production stage using automated deploys. It helps to create, test and deploy apps more quickly and with minimized risks.

Continuous testing

Since testing occurs continuously, app development teams can fix bugs on time and prevent defects from progressing to the next step of the software development lifecycle.

Continuous integration

This is the practice implying app development teams to frequently integrate new or changed code into a shared code repository. Then, each check-in is verified by an automated build, enabling developers to identify and correct errors immediately.

Constant monitoring

Products have to be under constant monitoring which allows engineers to correct errors on time and make required improvements. The result is high-quality software that meets the customer’s needs and expectations.

User feedback

This gives an understanding of how to change and improve products. Thanks to continuous user reaction measurement you will be able to build the app that would meet their expectations and gain success and popularity.

How to adopt DevOps?

Transitioning to DevOps is a major step forward, yet a difficult and potentially long-term project. You could start by making small adjustments to get your team used to collaborate. One fundamental practice is to perform very frequently but small updates for your software. Frequent but small updates make each deployment less risky. They help teams address bugs faster because they can identify the last deployment that caused the error.

Companies using a DevOps model deploy updates much more often than organizations using traditional software development practices. Organizations might also use microservices to make their applications more flexible and enable quicker innovation.

Applications are broken into many individual components with each service scoped to a single purpose or function and operated independently of its peer services and the application as a whole. This practice reduces the coordination overhead of updating applications, and when each service is paired with small, agile teams who take ownership of each service, organizations can move more quickly.

DevOps practices like continuous integration and continuous delivery solve issues and let organizations deliver rapid results in a safe and reliable manner. In addition, the use of monitoring and logging helps engineers track the performance of applications and infrastructure so they can react quickly to problems.

Future of DevOps

Development and operations historically have always been apart, and collaboration was difficult because of many factors, including difficult logistics and lack of efficient tools. The emergence of DevOps was right on time when technology could already offer certain tools, like cloud storage, to help developers and managers work together in a more productive way.

DevOps is being adopted by more and more companies, especially smaller enterprises. Many industries today are happy to incorporate DevOps and its key points into their work environment because companies that utilize DevOps effectively usually experience the rise in product quality and adapt easier to changing circumstances. Amazon is probably the best example of how collaboration and flexibility can boost productivity.