As with any worthwhile endeavour, there are several challenges to implementing DevOps, and it is by no means an effortless venture.
The first DevOps challenge is changing your existing culture, workflows and roles. Changing established processes to one that is leaner, more agile and more efficient takes time, follow-through and investment. Once you do, there’s a good chance you’ll start seeing the benefits of DevOps quite quickly.
However, adoption isn’t the only challenge you’ll face. Here are seven other DevOps challenges you’ll need to watch out for, including what can you do about each one:
1. Starting Your DevOps Transformation
Most of the organizations we talk to understand the benefits of DevOps and ops teams, yet they find the idea of implementing DevOps to be overwhelming. They don’t know where to begin.
If you’re in this position, here are two crucial points you need to know when starting your DevOps transition.
Understand What DevOps Means
Despite popular belief, DevOps is not an alternative method of software development to Waterfall or Agile. It’s also not a department, tool or device.
Instead, DevOps is a culture among teams who work to achieve the rapid development, testing and releasing of app development improvements that customers care about.
The DevOps framework focuses on optimizing the software development lifecycle, from development and testing to deployment and monitoring. DevOps can be implemented in cloud environments or on-premises to promote collaboration, accountability, and continuous implementation at the organization level.
Make a DevOps Plan
Next, assess the possible reasons your business needs to transition to DevOps. For instance, you might implement DevOps in order to:
- Find and eliminate waste in engineering to cut costs by a certain percentage or amount
- Migrate legacy apps to the cloud to take advantage of the cloud’s adaptability, availability, scalability and pay-as-you-go pricing models
- Offer online services
- Support remote working
- Boost automation to maximize productivity and minimize human error
Include team members from all departments within your organization when developing your DevOps goals, from engineering to marketing to customer support and finance.
And if you need more experienced help, consult a DevOps specialist for free.
2. Defining a DevOps Adoption Timeline
How long does a DevOps transformation take?
Ultimately, how long it takes to implement DevOps isn’t the point. As the saying goes, the best time to get started with DevOps practices was years ago; the next best time to implement it is now.
That said, adopting a DevOps culture is not a Usain-Bolt-style sprint. It’s more of a marathon, often taking organizations six months to two years to implement a DevOps transformation. Netflix’s development process, as an example, took seven years. If you look at your goals, you can tell how far you have to go by comparing what you plan to do with where you are.
Measuring your DevOps progress in this way will encourage collaboration and help you focus on the road ahead, instead of getting caught up in one area for months or years.
3. Modernizing Legacy Applications to Avoid DevOps Issues
DevOps emphasizes application and software modernization. If you continue to rely on legacy applications, any DevOps team may not be effective if your existing technologies remain incompatible with the more agile, scalable, automated and cost-effective techniques you need for DevOps best practices.
You can retire old systems and adopt a SaaS platform, or talk to a nearshore development provider about building new cloud-native software that takes full advantage of microservices, containers, continuous integration and continuous delivery workflows and Kubernetes.
Regardless of the software engineering solution you ultimately choose, understanding all of the different options available to you will help you identify the best strategy for modernizing your legacy applications in a DevOps environment and meeting all your security requirements.
4. Adopting a Cross-Functional Approach
DevOps isn’t an IT-only pursuit. In fact, the DevOps pipeline involves the work of several professionals in an operations team for planning, coding, developing, testing, deploying approved code and monitoring how software, app, or code changes can improve customer experiences.
Each step depends on customer feedback and input from developers and operations, quality assurance and departmental leaders. This differs from a traditional approach where feedback comes much later, instead of guiding the entire software development process to minimize regression.
5. Allocating DevOps Roles and the Shortage of DevOps Engineers
We also see organizations struggling to identify candidates to fill the roles they need to begin implementing DevOps. It doesn’t help that there’s also a shortage of experienced DevOps specialists occurring in the US.
There are several key specialist development team roles you’ll need to account for in your transition:
- DevOps engineers or evangelists point out the benefits of DevOps best practices within the business context, coordinate the implementation and supervise the process of implementing them.
- The automation architect analyzes, designs, recommends and implements CI/CD tools and practices that enable rapid, efficient and frequent deployments.
- The QA professional does more than ensure recent code changes and software updates are of high quality. They also facilitate DevOps troubleshooting and lower regression chances by testing recent changes before they reach production.
- Together with developers, the security engineer builds security into the product to protect both users and the organization against cyber-attacks and thereby mitigates some of the immediate challenges created by the adoption of DevOps practices.
The number of DevOps roles or actual professionals you need will depend on your project’s scope, technical requirements and technical challenges in your DevOps process.
6. Balancing Automation with People Skills
When you automate manual processes, you free up your people to work on other priorities or fix existing problems. DevOps tools also help reduce human error from development to deployment, which can save your organization time, money and the headcount needed to handle projects.
While tools can be useful for handling repetitive tasks or standardized processes, people will still play a role in determining your DevOps challenges and solutions.
7. Preventing Cost Overruns
A DevOps approach is a cost-effective way to deliver new app features and data security continuously. Yet, it’s not uncommon for DevOps security challenges to crop up that require significant time and financial investment in the beginning.
When you implement a DevOps transformation correctly, the cost of funding its ongoing improvement strategy goes down. With time, the benefits outweigh the costs, and you begin to enjoy the benefits of a DevOps culture.
Change isn’t always easy. These, and other DevOps challenges lead some companies to abandon their modernization strategy and fall behind their competitors.
Fortunately, you don’t have to figure out how to solve them all by yourself. Simpat Tech’s team of experienced and vetted DevOps specialists can support your company with DevOps-as-a-Service or guide your in-house team through its DevOps transformation – from planning to implementation to ongoing support.
Talk to a DevOps specialist today to see how.