July 9, 2021
Devops Automation Tools
When you start implementing DevOps, it’s tempting to automate any process with even the slightest inefficiency. While some believe DevOps operates on a “automate everything” mentality, that’s not necessarily the right approach.
Here’s the thing — when you take an ineffective manual process and automate it, you’re automating a bad process, which doesn’t fix anything. Instead, the flaws in your system now have an efficiency engine reinforcing “bad behavior.”
Successful DevOps automation begins with great manual processes. It’s only after your manual process is optimized and effective that it is time to start considering how DevOps automation tools can streamline the process.
What Is DevOps Automation?
At 3Pillar Global, we approach automation as an open-ended journey with a definite beginning and no predetermined ending. Defining an ending goes against another core tenet of DevOps; continuous development cycles that deliver continuous improvement.
Getting Started with Devops
The automation journey begins with a bit more structure—strong manual processes and the culture to support them.
Once you’ve got that solid foundation in place, you’ll start by identifying areas where automating development processes will help you achieve more in less time. Menial, repetitive tasks will likely be the first processes to automate.
After you’ve identified where you’d like to apply DevOps automation, you’ll need to find the right tool. Many read about DevOps tools and the people who sell them but have trouble making sense of all the conflicting information out there.
There’s no such thing as the one perfect tool. Every environment is different, and different tools will suit different processes in each environment differently. Don’t make the mistake of selecting a tool and then finding processes to automate with it.
It is usually far more efficient to plan automation and select tools based on sequences of tasks. For example, because we focus on development, we might look for a DevOps test automation tool that can handle the following sequence:
- Develop code
- Testing the code
- Deployment of the infrastructure for testing
- Run tests
- Deploy the code upon passing of all tests
- Collect production metrics
- Orchestrate the DevOps pipeline and return the feedback from production
Benefits of DevOps Automation
As is the case with most process-driven environments, DevOps automation enables speed, scale, consistency, and feedback. These are all essential elements for an iterative methodology focused on continuous improvement.
Here’s a closer look at the core benefits of DevOps automation:
Done right, automating manual processes means increasing speed while reducing errors and maintaining a certain quality standard. As you bring more automation into the fold, the faster the entire engine becomes.
The problem with most manual processes is that, no matter how well-executed, they’re not built to scale. At a certain point, humans can’t keep up with the growing workload and still deliver a high-quality product.
As you start working with larger data sets, automation becomes an essential part of your internal operations. Automated systems offer greater elasticity, allowing organizations to bring in additional resources, as needed, to quickly scale.
Automated processes are reliable by design, completing the same task, the same way, every time. Factors like mood, distractions, and physical health don’t come into play here, thus reducing risk while providing increased speed and more control.
With the right processes in place, DevOps automation tools can request feedback from users while they’re using them. The benefit here is that users can continuously collect feedback, allowing them to track patterns and irregularities on an ongoing basis.
This feedback can then be used to inform the next round of changes needed, ensuring improvement efforts always center around the user.
Planning a DevOps Initiative? Download Our Free Guide!
3Pillar Global uses DevOps as a critical part of our digital product development. Download our Free DevOps guide where we discuss the benefits and common challenges experienced with DevOps or watch our on-demand webinar "Is DevOps Right For You?".