Empowering Your Product- Insights from a DevOps Engineer

Empowering Your Product- Insights from a DevOps Engineer

"My thesis is this, if an engineering approach to software development doesn’t help us to create better software faster, then its wrong and doesn’t qualify as “Engineering”."
Dave Farley

In the era before DevOps, software development faced challenges rooted in siloed workflows and inefficient collaboration between development and operations teams. Releases were delayed, deployments were unreliable, and adapting to market changes posed significant challenges. DevOps engineers became essential connectors, bringing together development and operations. Their role marked a time of smoother workflows, automated tasks, and quicker, more dependable software releases. Today, the role of DevOps engineers is indispensable, ensuring organizations stay agile, responsive, and competitive in the dynamic landscape of product development with the use of the tools below.

Version control Tools

Starting from the very basics, a version control tool like Github, Gitlab, Bitbucket, etc. should be used during product development. Within these tools, there are lots of features that improve the developer experience (DevEx) with the help of CI/CD automation and security improvements that enhance our daily lives in development cycles.

Container management Tools

This part is mainly crucial for cloud infrastructure and deployments since production servers are not running on our local machines and containers can support Microservices architecture in the cloud better than traditional approaches. With containerization tools like Docker, we are able to create scalable, faster, and easier deployments and more maintainable services within cloud providers such as AWS Elastic Container Service.

Infrastructure as Code Tools

Infrastructure as Code(IaC) is one of the main aspects of DevOps. With tools like Terraform, AWS Cloudformation etc., we are able to maintain our infrastructure within code and are able to use version control systems to track and monitor our changes and dependencies. Otherwise, we are going to manually create our resources with ClickOps, which causes configuration chaos, and maintainers need to memorize or write down what they have done. As you can imagine, if not for IaC, our products downfall would start when they needed to scale up.

CI/CD Deployment Automation Tools

This is one of the most important parts of the life of a DevOps engineer. From my point of view, a developer should only think about their features and not about the deployment parts. Devops engineers must set up build, test, and deployment automations, static code analysis with SonarQube, dynamic application testing with OWASP ZAP and more to automate everything as much as possible to enhance the daily lives of developers and increase the pace of development without compromising quality and security.

Test Automation Tools

Testing software is a must in software development cycles. Writing automated tests is not the skill of a devops engineer, but they should be working together with the QA team in order to integrate the automated test process into the CI/CD pipelines. For instance, if we are using Github for our version control tool, we can write Github Actions workflows for building and testing new features automatically before being merged into development or production.

Monitoring Tools

Finally, after all that we have done, we should set up effective monitoring and alerting tools to maintain our infrastructure, detect bottlenecks, and notify our teams if anything goes wrong. New Relic, Datadog and AWS Cloudwatch are great tools in order to effectively monitor our services and infrastructure, create alarms according to logs and metrics, use integrations like Slack, AWS Chatbot, or send email to notify teams.

"I've seen that organizations that have adopted CD spend significantly less time on releases. Higher levels of automation means much less (if not zero) time spent by developers and operations team members on evenings and weekends. This is beneficial in a number of ways: less overtime; less time spent on releases means more time to develop features; less human interaction means a lower risk of human-introduced errors; and a happier, more productive team environment (which is great for recruitment and retention)."
Trisha Gee, JetBrains

In conclusion, DevOps engineers play a crucial role in shaping how products are developed. They impact the work of both backend and frontend engineers by introducing automation and CI/CD practices, setting up effective aggregation mechanisms, and setting up BI tools for effective analysis. These improvements make the whole development process smoother and more efficient. With these changes, developers can work faster and collaborate better, adapting to the ever-changing demands of the tech world. The insights and practices of DevOps engineers are not just for today; they lay the groundwork for building innovative products in the future.