What DevOps Is (And Why Should You Care)

December 8, 2016

DevOps is a new philosophy that has shown great results, while also creating a better working environment.

DevOps was just introduced in 2009, and yet already it has taken the business world by storm. RightScale reports that nearly ¾ of companies today use at least some DevOps principles, a number that has rapidly increased over the past five years.

So what exactly is DevOps? And, more importantly, why has it become so popular?

DevOps isn’t a new tool or operating system, it’s a philosophy on how to handle software delivery and infrastructure changes.  And it’s popular for good reason – the numbers show it is incredibly effective.

What DevOps Is

While DevOps is becoming increasingly more widespread, it has no one set definition. But, LinkedIn Learning authors Ernest Mueller and James Wickett believe DevOps can be defined through two related ideas.

The first?

“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,” Mueller said in a LinkedIn Learning course he co-taught with Wickett, DevOps Fundamentals.

“DevOps replaces the model where you have a team that writes the code, another team to test it, yet another team to deploy it and even another team to operate it,” Wickett added.

In other words, DevOps is about having a highly collaborative system, instead of a more silo-ed one where one team works on one thing and another team works on another.

Secondly, DevOps is also characterized by the operations staff making use of many of the same techniques as developers for their systems work, Mueller said. That means all assets are checked into source control and are tested.

Mueller and Wickett agreed though that’s a high-level definition of DevOps. In their course, they more accurately define what DevOps is by breaking it down into five parts:

So Why Are So Many Companies Now Using DevOps?

DevOps is quickly becoming standard procedure for most companies. Why? Because it’s been proven to work really well.

Specifically, the Puppet Labs 2015 State of DevOps Report found:

  • Teams that used DevOps practices deployed changes 30 times more frequently with 200 times shorter lead times.
  • They also had 60 times fewer failures and recovered from issues 168 times faster.

That report also showed similar results across all business types and sizes. Those results are awe-inspiring.

Additionally, Wickett said many companies are turning to DevOps because it makes for a better work environment.

“The second reason is that it makes your daily life easier,” Wickett said in the course. “Hi-tech is a very interrupt-driven, high pressure exercise in firefighting that can often lead to personal and professional burnout. We've found that the DevOps approach reduces unplanned work, it increases friendly relationships between coworkers, and it reduces stress on the job.”

So, summing it up, DevOps is both a far more effective and pleasant way to work. No wonder why so many companies are using it.

*Image by Matt Moor, Flickr

Want to learn more about DevOps? Check our Mueller’s and Wickett’s LinkedIn Learning course, DevOps Fundamentals.