Amazon Web Services (AWS) offers robust solutions that power millions of businesses.
Yet, navigating the AWS ecosystem is not without its challenges.
Customers often grapple with labor-intensive manual testing and inconsistencies across development and production environments. Another problem is the tug-of-war between the need for rapid deployment and the need for stability.
Enter DevOps automation: a suite of tools and apps designed to automate repetitive tasks and improve collaboration between software development and IT operations.
This article introduces DevOps automation and explores its benefits for AWS customers, the options available, best practices, and tips for choosing the right solution for you.
What is DevOps automation?
DevOps combines software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). It aims to shorten the software development lifecycle (SDLC) and provide continuous delivery with high software quality. DevOps helps with AWS cost optimization by allowing businesses to identify and reduce unnecessary costs, leading to more efficient resource allocation.
Automation streamlines communications between these two groups (IT operations and software development teams) so you can update your production applications more quickly and frequently.
DevOps automation has two main goals: Improving collaboration between software development and IT operations, and increasing efficiency (and speed) by automating repetitive tasks.
Multiple areas in the SDLC benefit from automation, including:
- Code: Automated tools can check code quality and detect vulnerabilities, ensuring your application is secure and efficient.
- Build: Compiling your code into an executable application can be automated, too. This simplifies the process of coordinating resources while minimizing the chance of human error.
- Test: Automating software testing improves the accuracy and speed of finding defects, allowing your team to fix them before deployment.
- Deploy: Automated deployments help maintain consistent environments and processes, reducing errors and downtime.
Bottom line: By implementing automated processes, you’re investing in the long-term success of your software (and your business)—and you give your developers the time they need to focus on more important tasks.
Top 3 reasons your teams should implement DevOps automation
If you’re not already sold on the benefits of DevOps automation, let’s walk through the three main reasons to invest in automated DevOps practices sooner rather than later.
Implementing DevOps automation minimizes human error, so automating manual tasks means your team can significantly increase software reliability. Automated testing also ensures that your teams can catch issues early in the development process, which reduces the chances of releasing buggy software.
DevOps automation also provides a transparent view of the development lifecycle. This transparency builds trust between the developers, operations teams, and stakeholders by establishing a clear understanding of the project’s progress.
When your teams adopt DevOps automation, you’ll experience a noticeable improvement in software delivery speed. Automation allows for continuous integration and continuous deployment (CI/CD), streamlining the process from development to deployment.
The result? A shorter time to market and increased agility across the board.
When it comes to CI/CD, automated build and test processes detect issues early, reducing overall development and bug-fixing time. Automated deployments swiftly deliver new features and fixes to end-users without manual intervention. And with automated testing, consistently running tests alongside development saves time and ensures quality.
One of the best benefits of DevOps automation is scaling your teams’ performance fast. As your organization grows, automation allows you to handle more tasks without proportionally increasing your team size.
By automating repetitive and mundane tasks, your teams can focus on more critical aspects of your projects while delivering better performance. This helps with scalability in a few ways:
- Creates a streamlined process for scaling applications in response to changing demands
- Allows a high level of system performance without the need for constant manual intervention
- Provides faster feedback loops, helping your teams improve and iterate quickly
Types of DevOps automation
DevOps automation encompasses a range of tools designed to streamline the software delivery process. These tools automate code deployment, testing, and infrastructure management.
Declarative vs. procedural tools
When choosing the right tools for DevOps automation, consider whether a declarative or procedural approach best suits your organization.
Declarative tools, like Terraform, use a high-level language to describe the desired end state of your infrastructure. You only need to specify what you want to achieve, and the tool will figure out how to do it. Procedural tools like Ansible need you to define the specific steps to reach your desired outcome.
Both approaches have their merits and trade-offs, so choose the one that aligns best with your team’s skillset and preferences.
Infrastructure and configuration
Automating infrastructure and configuration management is a crucial aspect of DevOps. Tools like Ansible, Puppet, and Chef help you manage server configurations, software installations, and other setup tasks, ensuring consistency and repeatability across environments. This lets you easily track version changes, reducing errors and improving deployment speed.
Continuous integration and deployment (CI/CD)
CI tools, such as Jenkins and Travis, help you automate building, testing, and integrating code changes. CD tools, like Spinnaker and AWS CodeDeploy, allow you to automatically use your applications for various environments.
By using CI/CD pipelines, your team can speed up the release cycle and improve application quality.
Containerization and orchestration
Containerization technologies, like Docker, make it easier for you to package and run applications across different environments in a consistent and replicable manner.
Orchestration tools like Kubernetes help you manage multiple containers in a clustered environment. So you can be sure containers run harmoniously, are scalable, and can recover from potential failures.
Monitoring, security, and testing
Monitoring tools, like Prometheus and Datadog, provide insights into your application’s health, enabling you to detect and resolve issues quickly.
Security solutions, such as SonarQube and OWASP Zap, help you identify and fix vulnerabilities in your code during development.
And automated testing tools, like Selenium and JUnit, can speed up the testing process and catch potential problems before they affect user experience.
Release management and workflow
Release management tools, such as Jira and Azure DevOps, help you track and manage your software releases’ progress, streamlining communication between stakeholders and ensuring transparency.
Workflow automation tools, like GitLab and CircleCI, can automate repetitive tasks, enforce quality gates, and enable smoother collaboration among your development, operations, and security teams.
Best practices for DevOps automation
To get the most out of your DevOps automation efforts, let’s examine some best practices that will set your teams up for success. These are recommended guidelines to help ensure a more efficient, consistent, and streamlined process.
- Identify and prioritize the tasks to automate: Focus on repetitive, manual, and time-consuming tasks. This could include code deployment, infrastructure management, or monitoring.
- Start with a clear strategy: You should clearly understand the DevOps pipeline and the automation tools available to make the right choices for your organization. A clear strategy will help you figure out what, when, and how to automate.
- Integrate security checks: Keep security in mind as you automate your DevOps processes. By implementing continuous security, you can identify and address vulnerabilities early in the development process.
- Maintain version control for all your code and configuration files: This practice helps you track changes and manage updates easily. Version control also helps maintain consistency across the development and deployment environments, making it easier to roll back to a previous version if needed.
- Ensure your team is trained and comfortable: Your DevOps teams should have a thorough understanding of how the tools work, and they should be able to collaborate effectively using the automated DevOps pipeline. Remember, your tools are only as effective as the people using them.
- Monitor and measure the results of your automation efforts: This can help you identify areas where your DevOps automation isn’t meeting expectations or where it can improve. Continuous monitoring of important metrics allows you to make data-driven decisions and fine-tune your methodology over time.
- Remember the importance of communication and collaboration: Encourage your team members to share their ideas, ask questions, and speak up about any challenges. Open communication promotes innovation and increases the chances of successful DevOps automation.
Tips for choosing the right DevOps automation solutions
How can you determine which DevOps automation solutions will benefit your business the most? Here are our top tips for choosing the right DevOps automation tools.
Figure out what you need
First, identify your specific needs. You’ll need to analyze your organization’s software development lifecycle, from code creation to deployment and monitoring. Determine the areas that can benefit the most from automation and eliminate bottlenecks in your processes.
Consider if the solution can scale with your growth
Choose automation tools that can grow alongside your organization. Scalability is vital in handling increasing workloads due to business growth and expansion. It’s essential to pick a solution that can adapt to your needs as they change—like accommodating additional team members and handling more complex projects.
Check for customizable features
The best DevOps automation solutions offer customizable features to suit your organization’s requirements. Look for tools that provide:
- Adaptable pipelines: Ensure the solution supports customizable CI/CD pipelines. You’ll want to be able to streamline and automate various stages in the development cycle, from building and testing to deploying code.
- Integration options: Seek platforms that can easily integrate with your existing tools, such as project management, version control, and communication tools. This will allow seamless collaboration among your team members.
- Analytics and reporting: Search for solutions that deliver useful insights into your team’s performance and productivity, allowing you to identify areas for improvement.
Learn how ProsperOps enhances DevOps automation
For AWS customers, DevOps automation can help with cost optimization. Overall, it can accelerate the SDLC, reducing time to market by removing bottlenecks.
These bottlenecks include spending countless hours on tasks you should be delegating. Allowing your teams to delegate monotonous, everyday jobs to automation means more interactive and collaborative efforts among team members. You spend less time on dull, manual tasks and more time engaging with your team.
DevOps automation isn’t the only way AWS customers can save time on manual tasks. ProsperOps can help you reduce cloud costs, minimize commitment risk, and remove manual cost optimization tasks from your workflows—saving you time and ensuring you get the best discounts.
Schedule a demo today to see how ProsperOps can streamline your workflows and improve your bottom line.