Author

Ankur Mandal

10 DevOps Best Practices

Author

Ankur Mandal

5 min read

Revolutionizing the software development landscape, DevOps seamlessly integrates development and operations, enabling organizations to swiftly deliver high-quality software. At its core, DevOps relies on proven methodologies that streamline workflows, encourage teamwork, and drive continual enhancement. 

Exploring DevOps best practices entails delving into fundamental principles and actionable strategies for successful implementations. From embracing automation and infrastructure as code to placing importance on security and fostering an innovative culture, these practices are pivotal in propelling organizations toward increased agility, dependability, and efficiency. 

Whether you are a seasoned DevOps expert or a newcomer to the field, this guide will provide the knowledge and resources needed to enhance your processes, expedite delivery timelines, and unlock the full potential of DevOps within your organization.

Imagine a scenario where a software development team diligently crafts a new feature while the operations team simultaneously manages server updates. In a traditional setup, such parallel efforts might lead to communication gaps and isolated workflows, resulting in misunderstandings, delays, and potential conflicts between the two teams. 

However, embracing DevOps practices transforms these situations into opportunities for collaboration and teamwork. DevOps promotes a culture of shared responsibility and mutual support by dismantling the barriers between development and operations. 

For instance, developers can provide insights into their code's infrastructure needs, while operations professionals can offer expertise in optimizing performance and scalability. 

Using shared tools, processes, and objectives, DevOps fosters cross-functional collaboration. It enables teams to work together towards common goals, thereby driving innovation, and organizational success.

This underscores the importance of adopting DevOps best practices to enhance collaboration, thereby improving customer satisfaction and teamwork within an organization.

DevOps And Cloud- A Powerful Combination

In recent years, organizations have undergone a transformative shift in their technological approach, embracing cloud computing and other digital technologies. This shift, while presenting numerous advantages, necessitates a fundamental change in software development and delivery. The adoption of DevOps, a critical methodology, has emerged as a solution, offering businesses enhanced speed, agility, and efficiency.

Traditionally, software product development and operations were treated as separate entities. However, in today's fast-paced business landscape, where speed and efficiency are crucial, there is an increasing realization that both development and operations need to be closely aligned. This understanding has led to the adoption of DevOps as a critical methodology.

DevOps bridges development and operations, promoting a collaborative mindset emphasizing agility, continuous integration, and rapid deployment. This approach allows for a more streamlined and efficient process better equipped to meet the demands of modern businesses.

If you want to enhance your business's speed and agility, consider DevOps with the Cloud. 

Collaboration and communication among diverse teams are crucial for success in cloud-based environments. DevOps promotes unity and transparency, particularly when teams are spread out across different locations. DevOps ensures all stakeholders are aligned by fostering constant interaction and openness, minimizing confusion, and boosting productivity.

Moreover, the implementation of automation within DevOps offers advantages, particularly in the dynamic realm of cloud computing. The complexity of cloud environments demands precision, and automation serves as a reliable tool to coordinate and optimize procedures. By leveraging automation, routine tasks can be carried out seamlessly and swiftly, reducing the risk of human errors and enhancing overall efficiency. This empowers teams to confidently navigate the intricate network of cloud-based activities, knowing that crucial tasks are being managed efficiently and consistently.

Significance of Implementing The DevOps Approach In the Cloud

Implementing DevOps best practices in the Cloud helps in the following ways.

  1. Orchestration: Orchestration, often interchangeably used with automation, involves offering comprehensive coordination and control in automation and covering the entire cloud infrastructure. Orchestration tools such as Chef, Puppet, and Ansible are independent of the cloud providers and have their own standards. However, they can be easily integrated with leading cloud providers and, by doing so, will provide additional benefits like automated server provisioning, auto-scaling, and so on.
  2. Monitoring And Alerting: Cloud providers offer various services, including monitoring, backup, automation, and infrastructure provisioning. However, the default monitoring features cloud platforms provide are often basic and may not meet the needs of organizations with complex environments and strict performance requirements. This is where DevOps comes in, allowing teams to enhance and customize monitoring capabilities to suit their specific needs better.
    With DevOps, teams can create custom alarms and tailored monitoring solutions beyond the standard alerts offered by cloud providers. By embracing DevOps practices and tools, organizations can implement advanced monitoring setups that offer real-time insights into their infrastructure and applications.
  3. Deployment: Cloud providers offer quick deployment abilities, but customizing solutions for specific requirements may be challenging without adopting DevOps principles. DevOps tackles infrastructure issues by integrating advanced tools, creating tailored logic, and improving capabilities. By utilizing DevOps approaches, teams can simplify workflows and achieve efficient automation with one-click build tools seamlessly integrated with cloud services, guaranteeing flawless task execution.
  4.  Cloud Server Replication: Most cloud providers have backup mechanisms, but manual intervention is often necessary to launch servers and recover backups across different environments. DevOps practices can automate this process efficiently.
    Imagine a situation where a sudden increase in website traffic is expected due to a compelling offer. Without prior testing for traffic spikes, there could be a negative impact on user experience and potential business loss. Load testing is crucial to evaluate the application's performance under varying loads. With the growing number of mobile users, mobile automation testing is essential. Creating a replica of the production environment for temporary separation enables thorough load testing to assess app stability.

Using various tools provided by top cloud providers enables the efficient automation of complex tasks, guaranteeing quick and dependable completion.

DevOps Best Practices

Having established the significance and benefits of DevOps in conjunction with the cloud, let us now look at some of the best practices you should implement to make the most out of DevOps teams and resources.

1. Auto-Scale Block Storage Resources

Auto-scaling storage resources plays a crucial role in DevOps and offer numerous benefits through cost optimization of block storage resources in AWS, Azure, and GCP. These optimized EBS/managed disk/persistent disks ensure flexibility and scalability by automatically adjusting to workload fluctuations, guaranteeing that applications always have sufficient storage capacity without manual intervention. 

Adaptability contributes to cost efficiency by optimizing resource usage and reducing expenses. Auto-scaling improves reliability and performance by maintaining steady access to storage resources, even during peak usage. 

By automating the scaling process, operations are streamlined, enabling DevOps teams to concentrate on more strategic tasks and fostering a culture of continuous improvement. 

Auto-scaling storage aligns with DevOps principles and supports the delivery of robust, scalable applications that align with evolving business needs.

But why should you focus on storage?

This is because ​​storage constitutes a substantial portion of the total cloud bill. Moreover, a study by Virtana, titled "State of Hybrid Cloud Storage in January 2023," revealed that a considerable majority of participants, 94%, noted an increase in cloud storage charges. Additionally, 54% highlighted a faster rise in storage-related costs than overall cloud expenditures.

To further investigate the influence of storage resources on cloud expenses, we conducted an extensive independent analysis involving over 100 enterprises utilizing leading cloud providers such as AWS, Azure, and GCP.

After completing our analysis, we observed the following fundamental discoveries:

  • On average, storage-related expenditures constituted approximately 40% of total cloud costs, demonstrating the significant financial impact of storage provisioning and management.
  • Block storage solutions like AWS EBS, Azure Managed Disk, and GCP Persistent Disks substantially drove overall cloud expenditures. Our analysis suggests that a closer evaluation and optimization of these solutions is imperative.
  • Despite the importance of block storage, our research uncovered surprisingly low disk utilization rates across various use cases, including root volumes, application disks, and self-hosted databases. This inefficiency presents opportunities for proper sizing and optimization to minimize waste and improve cost-effectiveness.
  • The study revealed numerous organizations overestimate their storage growth and allocate more resources than necessary, leading to unnecessary costs. 
  • Participants admitted to experiencing downtime incidents every quarter, underscoring the importance of aligning storage provisioning with actual demand to mitigate risks and manage expenses effectively.

This is why, instead of optimizing the storage resources, organizations prefer overprovisioning them. However, we understand the reasons behind this compromise.

  • Significant investment of time and effort: Optimizing storage requires dedication and effort. This process involves various steps, including choosing the appropriate storage class, establishing data lifecycle management policies, and continuously monitoring and adjusting storage based on specific needs.

DevOps teams must evaluate their current storage needs to effectively support applications, analyze data access patterns, and align storage resources accordingly. Strategic planning and regular maintenance are crucial for implementing cost-effective storage solutions, managing redundancy, and ensuring efficient data retrieval.

DevOps teams should also stay knowledgeable about cloud providers' latest advancements and enhancements to enhance storage efficiency by utilizing new features. While these tasks may divert time and effort from primary responsibilities, they are essential for optimizing storage solutions and improving productivity.

  • Expensive Investment: Implementing strategies to optimize storage often requires investing in specialized tools, technologies, and expertise. Some organizations may see these initial costs as a hurdle, especially when working with limited budgets or prioritizing immediate cost savings. Additionally, deploying monitoring tools throughout the entire cloud infrastructure can be costly, leading organizations to deploy them only in the production environment, resulting in limited visibility.
  • Development of Custom Tools: The lack of comprehensive features provided by Cloud Service Providers (CSP) necessitates creating a customized solution for storage optimization. However, developing custom tools requires significant DevOps efforts and time commitment.
  • Shortcomings of CSP Tools: Utilizing tools provided by Cloud Service Providers (CSP) can lead to inefficiencies, labor-intensive processes, and resource-heavy procedures. The daily execution of these tasks can become untenable due to the amount of manual work involved.

Organizations may need to allocate more storage resources than necessary to ensure the smooth operation of applications and to account for the impact on business activities.

  • Absence of Live Shrinkage Functionality: Although top CSPs offer convenient options for expanding storage resources, there is a lack of direct methods for the live shortage of EBS volume/Managed Disk/Persistent Disks. The workaround involves a complex manual process of stopping instances, taking snapshots, and mounting new volumes, which can increase the likelihood of errors and misconfigurations.

Excess provisioning results in resource wastage and high cloud expenses as you pay for unused resources. Reducing this hidden cost is crucial, and that can be achieved through cloud cost automation. 

Lucidity offers automated storage auditing and scaling solutions to help tackle this issue professionally. Lucidity offers two solutions.

Lucidity Storage Audit

Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler

Lucidity Storage Audit: To Identify Unused/Idle And Overprovisioned Storage Resources

One crucial aspect of ensuring the best DevOps practice in the cloud is identifying idle/unused and overprovisioned resources, which have a cost-related impact and indicate resource and operational inefficiency. 

But why can't businesses use a monitoring tool or manually discover these resources?

Monitoring tools often face limitations because of the demanding tasks in the DevOps process or the added expenses associated with their deployment. In a setting marked by escalating complexities in storage systems, managing these tools can swiftly become overwhelming and intricate.

In addition, acquiring another monitoring tool would entail a substantial financial commitment. Furthermore, these tools rely on agents, leading to installation challenges, heightened complexity, and increased resource demand that can strain the current system and impede monitoring efforts.

The Lucidity Storage Audit effortlessly addresses these challenges with its free and agentless solution, streamlining the optimization process through a user-friendly and readily accessible tool. By eliminating the need for additional software installation, the agentless nature of this tool efficiently identifies idle/unused and overprovisioned resources during system audits. This simplifies disk health and usage understanding, enhancing resource allocation and minimizing downtime. With Lucidity Storage Audit, users gain valuable insights such as:

  • Comprehensive optimization of disk expenditure: Understand current disk usage expenses completely. Implement strategies to cut costs by as much as 70%.
  • Analysis of disk usage: Identify areas where resources are being wasted, including overprovisioned and unused storage. Eliminate inefficiencies to optimize resource utilization.
  • Mitigation of disk downtime risks: Identify potential risks to reduce financial and reputational damage.

Key Features of Lucidity Storage Audit

  • Lucidity Audit leverages CSP's internal service to extract essential storage metadata, including storage utilization percentage and disk size.
  • The tool strongly emphasizes security by preventing customer access to Personally Identifiable Information (PII) or sensitive data.
  • Lucidity Audit assures that the auditing process is conducted without causing any disruption to the customer's cloud environment or resources. This dedication to zero impact guarantees a smooth and secure optimization experience without interrupting ongoing operations.

Upon identifying idle or unused resources, proactive measures such as deletion can be taken. Adjustments can be made to overprovisioned resources to align with specific requirements.

Lucidity Bock Storage Auto-Scaler: To Automate Shrinkage and Expansion of Storage Resources To Prevent Overprovisioning And Underprovisioning

Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler is a groundbreaking storage orchestration solution that sets a new standard in the industry. It automates resizing storage resources, adapting to fluctuations in requirements with unparalleled efficiency. 

The Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler adapts block storage capacity to meet changing requirements. Key features of this tool include:

  • Simplified Deployment: Easily integrate the Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler with just three clicks to streamline your storage management process.
  • Optimized Storage: Instantly increase storage capacity and maintain an optimal utilization rate of 70-80% for improved efficiency and cost-effectiveness.
  • Responsive Scalability: Quickly adjust storage capacity in response to fluctuations in traffic or workloads, ensuring smooth operations during peak demand.
  • Efficient Performance: The lightweight Lucidity agent consumes less than 2% of CPU and RAM resources, minimizing its impact on instance performance.

When overprovisioned or idle resources are detected, Lucidity's Block Storage Auto-Scaler steps in, delivering a host of benefits, including:

benefits block storage optimization using Lucidity
  • Automated Disk Scaling: Lucidity Auto-Scaler is engineered for precision, effortlessly adjusting disk scaling with impressive efficiency in just 90 seconds. This feature ensures seamless and easy coordination of large datasets. Unlike Standard Block Storage volumes, which are limited to a transfer rate of around 8GB per minute, Lucidity Auto-Scaler surpasses these limitations by incorporating a strategic buffer mechanism. This forward-thinking design allows the system to manage unexpected data spikes effectively while maintaining the imposed block storage throughput limit, enhancing the scalability and reliability of your storage infrastructure.
  • Achieve storage cost savings of 70%: With Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler, businesses can automate the adjustment of storage resources, reducing costs by 70% associated with unused resources.
  • Zero downtime: Manual provisioning processes often lead to costly downtime. With Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler, resource adjustments are made within minutes, eliminating downtime and ensuring seamless performance. Businesses can use our ROI Calculator to estimate how much they will save with Lucidity Block Storage Auto-Scaler.
Lucidity ROI calculator for finding storage saving opportunities
  • Personalized policies: Lucidity's "Create Policy" feature enhances uptime reliability by allowing users to tailor parameters like buffer size and disk utilization for automated scaling.
custom policy feature of Lucidity to ensure no downtime

If you want to know how Lucidity offers comprehensive Cloud cost optimization, read our detailed blog here.

2. Foster A Collaborative Culture

DevOps signifies a significant change toward encouraging collaboration and breaking down barriers between development, operations, and quality assurance teams. The main goal is to speed up the development and deployment of software for customers.

This methodology dismantles barriers between development, operations, and other software lifecycle teams. 

DevOps encourages a united effort toward achieving shared objectives by emphasizing teamwork and seamless cooperation. Organizations benefit from improved communication, shared accountability, and expedited problem-solving processes by fostering this collaborative environment. Achieving this seamless collaboration requires a cultural and mindset shift throughout the engineering team and a shared set of objectives.

Developers and operations engineers must fully own the software development lifecycle and work closely together to meet customer needs. In the DevOps model, development and operations go beyond individual roles and become shared responsibilities within the team. This comprehensive approach ensures that each team member contributes to efficiently delivering software products.

3. Focus On Customer Satisfaction

Your DevOps approach should emphasize delivering value to customers rapidly and consistently. Regardless of the approach, the team should prioritize features and enhancements according to customer needs and feedback to ensure the product meets or surpasses customer expectations. By aligning development efforts with customer requirements, your DevOps strategy should help organizations stay competitive and adaptable to market demands.

DevOps gives the ability to streamline the processes. We understand that since the same people who write the code are the ones who push the code, it might seem easy to shoot new features now and then. However, it is essential to note that not every customer appreciates new functionalities delivered to them without much time gap. This is why it is essential to understand customers and the context to ensure the implementation of a successful DevOps approach.

4. Utilize Automation Whenever Feasible

Automation is a critical component of DevOps, empowering teams to simplify recurring tasks, minimize manual mistakes, and speed up the software release process. Whether setting up infrastructure, managing configurations, running tests, or deploying code, automating routine tasks saves time and resources, enabling teams to concentrate on innovation and providing value to customers.

Automation plays a key role in improving efficiency across various domains:

  • Enhanced Change Management: Automating tasks such as version and configuration control makes collaboration more effective. Manual handling of these processes is time-consuming, primarily when multiple teams work concurrently on a project.
  • Infrastructure as Code (IaC): Embracing IaC practices promotes consistency in operations, ensuring that all parties have access to identical code versions. This minimizes communication errors and allows quick adaptation to changes through easily modifiable configurations.
  • Defined Automation Objectives and Reusable Workflows: Automation success relies on setting clear goals and creating reusable workflows. This approach fosters consistency, efficiency, and scalability within the automation framework.

5. Create Automated Testing

Continuous testing, bolstered by thorough logging and automated alert systems, provides vital operational insights while decreasing the risk of disruptions in a live environment. These tools ensure your system functions as planned under various workload conditions. 

Implementing a robust continuous testing platform such as ChaosMonkey or Gremlin enables teams to evaluate system components in a controlled setting meticulously. This proactive strategy streamlines the detection and resolution of potential issues before moving to subsequent stages of code deployment. 

By preemptively addressing concerns, this method of proactive testing reduces the accumulation of technical debt. It minimizes the necessity for post-release issue remediation, conserving valuable resources like time, expertise, and financial investments.

6. Implement A Microservices Architecture

Incorporating a microservices architecture entails dividing intricate applications into smaller, autonomously deployable services that interact through APIs. 

In a microservices architecture, each service is deployed as a standalone entity and connected through an application programming interface (API). This design aligns well with the DevOps philosophy of breaking down complex projects into smaller, more manageable parts. It allows for each service's independent development and maintenance, promoting agility and reducing the risk of widespread outages.

Furthermore, microservices support various DevOps principles, such as continuous integration and delivery, enabling quick and consistent deployment processes. This synergy improves the efficiency and responsiveness of development teams, leading to faster software delivery cycles.

Embracing DevOps encourages the utilization of microservices as it empowers teams to attain enhanced flexibility, scalability, and resilience within their software infrastructure. 

By separating services and enabling them to progress independently, microservices expedite swifter development cycles, simplify maintenance, and improve resource management.

7. Seek Continuous Feedback

Continuous feedback is crucial in DevOps practices. Teams should continuously gather feedback from customers, stakeholders and automated testing processes to pinpoint areas for enhancement. By integrating feedback throughout the development cycle, teams can continuously improve their processes and provide top-notch software that meets user needs.

The methodology of collecting feedback systematically collects and analyzes feedback throughout all stages of the development process, from the initial planning phase to monitoring activities post-deployment.

By utilizing this feedback loop, businesses can gain valuable insights into the preferences and expectations of the target audience or customers, comparing them with their vision for the product. 

This information helps identify the product roadmap's priorities for features and functionalities. It also allows for the strategic allocation of resources to address the most critical needs, whether enhancing features, fixing bugs, or making updates. 

Ultimately, this iterative feedback mechanism acts as a guide for aligning product development efforts with customer satisfaction, leading to an improved user experience and increased customer retention.

8. Monitor The Metrics

Continuous performance monitoring is essential for achieving excellence in DevOps. To evaluate the effectiveness of a DevOps strategy, it is crucial to track key performance metrics such as lead time, mean time to detect, and issue severity.

Monitoring these metrics is vital as it allows for the early detection of anomalies or failures, enabling quick remediation efforts to minimize downtime and mitigate potential impacts.

Selecting DevOps metrics to monitor should align with your organization's unique goals and aspirations. While some metrics, such as unit cost, are universally crucial for engineering teams due to their impact on profitability, others may vary based on specific operational objectives and contextual factors.

9. Implement Continuous Integration And Delivery

Utilizing a Continuous Integration/Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) pipeline is essential for fully embracing a successful DevOps approach. This pipeline automates and simplifies the software delivery process, including critical steps like code compilation, testing, and deployment. Automation enables organizations to consistently and quickly deliver code updates, ultimately enhancing agility and minimizing time-to-market.

One significant benefit of a CI/CD pipeline is its ability to effectively implement the "shift-to-left" concept within the development lifecycle. Traditionally, testing and quality assurance activities are typically performed towards the end of the development cycle, resulting in the discovery of defects and issues at later stages. 

However, with CI/CD, testing is incorporated early in the process, enabling quick feedback loops and immediate detection of errors. This shift-to-left strategy ensures that potential issues are caught and resolved at the earliest possible stage, reducing the risk of costly rework and delays in the future.

Moreover, a CI/CD pipeline enhances teamwork and transparency across development, operations, and quality assurance teams. By automating mundane tasks and enforcing standardized deployment procedures, CI/CD cultivates a culture of ongoing enhancement and refinement. This enables teams to collaborate more efficiently, implement code modifications faster, and adapt to customer input flexibly.

10. Enforce Agile Project Management Methodologies

An agile methodology functions under the belief that requirements and solutions evolve as customer feedback is received, allowing teams to adjust and respond to these changes efficiently. By combining DevOps practices with agile principles, organizations can release incremental features, collect customer feedback, and make necessary iterations. This iterative process helps minimize the risk of investing significant resources into a feature that may not meet expectations.

Implement DevOps Best Practices For Streamlined Processes

We trust that this blog has illuminated the transformative potential of DevOps practices. We hope you and your team will embrace these principles to propel towards enhanced outcomes, leveraging the full potential of your IT infrastructure and the individuals contributing to it.

If you're having trouble pinpointing the exact percentage of total costs linked to storage, now is the perfect time to explore the benefits of Lucidity's automated storage audit. Contact us for a tailored demo and see how our state-of-the-art automation streamlines cloud cost management and boosts storage savings. Let Lucidity elevate your operations with streamlined efficiency and improved clarity in navigating your cloud expenses.

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