As software development becomes more demanding and competitive, teams strive to deliver high-quality applications as quickly and efficiently as possible. DevOps automation makes this goal achievable by promoting collaboration between development and operations teams, minimizing manual tasks, and streamlining processes.
In this guide, we will dive deeper into what DevOps automation is. We’ll also discuss its benefits, best practices, software that can help you implement it, and more.
What is DevOps?
As its name suggests, DevOps combines the development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops) stages of the software development lifecycle into a single workflow. With DevOps, teams can take advantage of enhanced collaboration, shared responsibilities, feedback loops, task and process automation, and more to accelerate development and release higher-quality software faster.
What is DevOps automation?
DevOps automation refers to the practice of automating manual and repetitive tasks and processes throughout the software development lifecycle with the help of various methodologies and tools.
What makes automation so important for DevOps? Because it automates manual and repetitive tasks, allowing DevOps teams to focus more on creativity and strategy and collaborate more. Automation promotes process consistency that enables teams to quickly detect and fix issues, resulting in higher code quality and more reliable software releases. DevOps automation also facilitates continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD), resulting in smoother, more frequent deployments and less time to market, helping teams gain an edge over their competitors.
DevOps Automation Benefits
DevOps automation offers several benefits, including:
- Enhanced Collaboration: DevOps automation promotes better collaboration and communication between development and operations teams, as well as shared responsibility across the SDLC.
- Increased efficiency and productivity: By freeing team members from manual tasks, DevOps automation allows them to focus on more critical aspects of their work to be more efficient and productive.
- Quick comments: By automating testing and monitoring, teams can get quick feedback on code changes to quickly spot and fix issues.
- Fastest delivery: DevOps automation streamlines the SDLC, enabling continuous integration, delivery, and deployment. This results in faster and more frequent releases with new features and bug fixes.
- Less errors: Manual and repetitive tasks can lead to errors. Automating such tasks minimizes the risk of human error.
- Improved reliability and quality: Teams can detect and fix problems early in the development cycle by automating their testing and deployment processes. This can lead to fewer bugs, higher code quality, and higher reliability with releases.
- Consistency: Infrastructure as Code (IaC) and automated deployment processes promote consistency across multiple environments.
- Better security: Teams can improve security by integrating automated security scans and compliance checks into their CI/CD pipeline that detects vulnerabilities early on.
- Scalability: DevOps automation makes it easy to scale infrastructure and applications without manual effort.
- Less risk: Teams can enjoy smaller releases more frequently, making each deployment less impactful and making it easier to roll back if issues arise.
- Lower costs: Automation can lower operating costs, decrease downtime, improve resource utilization, and more to help teams save money in the long run.
Combine all the benefits listed above, and DevOps automation also offers a competitive advantage to teams that adopt it.
Automated processes in DevOps
Various processes can be automated in DevOps to optimize the SDLC. You can automate continuous integration (code compilation, build processes, unit tests, packaging, artifact creation, etc.) and continuous delivery (deployment to staging and production environments, integration and functional testing across multiple environments, smoke testing, etc.)
You can automate infrastructure as code (provisioning, resource scaling, network configuration, etc.), release management (releases, release note generation, change logs, etc.), monitoring and alerting (application health, critical issue notifications, etc.), testing (API testing, application functional testing, etc.), and security and compliance (vulnerability scanning, compliance checks, etc.). Other processes you can automate in DevOps include log management, database management, deployment, rollback, and more.
DevOps Automation Best Practices
Following the DevOps automation best practices below can help ensure your DevOps processes run smoothly:
- Start small: Instead of trying to automate everything at once, automate some of your most repetitive and error-prone tasks.
- To collaborate: You should encourage collaboration and communication between your development and operations teams. Emphasize feedback and sharing to optimize automation processes.
- Document everything: Your guidelines, best practices, and automation processes should be documented to keep all team members on the same page.
- Use version control systems: Using version control systems like Git for your code and configuration files will ensure that multiple team members can collaborate on them, and any changes will be tracked and reversible.
- Treat infrastructure as code: IaC makes it easy to automate the provisioning and configuration of resources. Tools like Ansible and Terraform can help.
- Deploy CI/CD pipelines: Build, test, and deploy code changes should be automated through continuous integration and continuous delivery.
- Collect feedback and metrics: You can spot areas for improvement by constantly collecting feedback and metrics from your automated processes.
- Implement automated rollback: Automated rollback mechanisms can help minimize problems when deployment or configuration failures occur and ensure that services are restored to a stable state.
- Encourage experimentation: Some automated processes are bound to fail. Use those mistakes to learn, improve, and iterate.
DevOps automation tools can eliminate time-consuming manual tasks, promote collaboration, increase efficiency, and help development teams produce high-quality software faster.
While there are a number of DevOps automation tools on the market, here are some of the best ones to get you started on your search.
Jenkins is an open source server automation that is customizable, flexible through a massive plugin ecosystem, and has quite a loyal following. The developer tool promotes CI/CD by automating the build, test, and deploy stages of software development.
You can learn more by reading our Jenkins Review.
Red Hat Ansible is a DevOps tool used to automate application deployment, configuration management, and more. It offers cross-platform support, agentless architecture and orchestration and is highly customizable and flexible thanks to its open source nature.
See our Red Hat Ansible review for more information.
GitLab CI/CD helps developers automate build, test, and deployment for greater productivity, quality, and security. The easy-to-use DevOps automation tool works with all major frameworks and languages, offers top-notch security through its test reports, security and dependency scanning, etc., and has a Code Quality feature to keep code readable, concise, and maintenance-free.
Read our review of the GitLab CI/CD tool to learn more.
Atlassian Bamboo is a CI/CD tool with version management capabilities. It offers scalability and reliability and allows developers to automate their build, test, and release processes. The DevOps automation tool is easy to set up and customize, supports multiple platforms, programming languages, and build tools, and integrates seamlessly with other Atlassian tools like Bitbucket and Jira project management.
You can learn more by reading our Bamboo CI/CD Software Review.
Progress Chef is a configuration management tool with infrastructure automation features. Chef has gained a strong following within the DevOps community for its focus on infrastructure as code, and is geared to handle even the most complex tasks.
Our Chef configuration management tool review has more information on Chef’s features and pricing.
Final Thoughts on DevOps Automation
Now that you know what DevOps automation is and its various benefits, it’s time to consider applying it to your software development team’s routine. Follow the best practices in this guide and use some of the tools listed, and you should soon be able to start enjoying the increased efficiency, productivity, and speed, along with the improved quality, reliability, and collaboration that only DevOps automation can deliver.