If You’re New to DevOps, Embrace These Foundational Things

So, you’re new to DevOps. Maybe you were attracted to the field’s promise of high salaries, or maybe you really liked the idea of combining your development and operations knowledge. Maybe nobody else at your company wanted the role, and so you stepped up, figuring you’d learn on the job—that’s cool, too (good luck!).

But now you have a big challenge on your hands: How do you even start installing a proper DevOps culture? That’s something much, much easier said than done. Remember, DevOps specialists oversee everything from software integration to automating parts of a company’s IT stack (with a particular emphasis on automation, at least these days). That means a lot of software to monitor, and many stakeholders to manage—especially if a company has never embraced such a culture before.

Fortunately, Puppet’s annual State of DevOps report offers some useful advice (along with tons of survey data) for just that very thing. Specifically, the company recommends three foundational things for any organization hoping to embrace DevOps:

  • Consistent use of configuration management tools.
  • Reuse of deployment patterns.
  • Allowing teams to configure monitoring and alerts.

After those three are established, the report’s authors advocate two more foundational practices: “Reuse testing patterns for building applications or services” and “empower teams to contribute improvements to other teams’ tooling.”

The rest of the report is well worth reading, especially for its insights regarding process automation. While automating key parts of a company’s IT stack is a vital role for DevOps, it’s not the sole factor in crafting a “highly evolved” culture. Per the report: “The cultural changes that are required for DevOps success are significantly more difficult to implement and require broader organizational input and support.”

Indeed, although some professionals fear that automation may even take their jobs, a 2017 study from Puppet suggested that automated processes were helping teams become more efficient. That study found that automated tools had taken over an average of 27 percent of high-performing DevOps workers’ testing, for example, freeing them up to work on complicated projects and communicating issues to the broader organization.

Ultimately, successful DevOps specialists are equally adept at handling cultural and technological challenges. That’s why they get paid the big bucks. While the role may seem intimidating to newbies, its challenges aren’t insurmountable, especially if you focus on patterns for software deployment and automation.

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