How DevOps Engineers Can Elevate Application Performance Strategy?

March 03, 2023 • 130 Views • 13 min read

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Tetiana Stoyko

CTO & Co-Founder

One of the greatest features of any software development project is its flexibility. The unique part of any process within the IT industry is the combination of overall standardization and agile development. To rephrase it, on a general level, most software projects seem the same: they are based on the same technologies, the development lifecycle has similar stages, and development teams consist of matching specialists, programming languages, etc. Yet, at the same time, each such software project has a distinctive approach to the details and various out-of-box solutions.

So, if you will choose two identical applications with the same purposes and business logic, and will try to compare them, you will find out how different they are. However, all the foregoing facts are not the only possible difference. One such outstanding and trending solution is using a team of DevOps engineers instead of a regular dedicated team. As a result, despite the same goals to achieve, the whole development process differs a lot, depending on the main working methods of each development group.

Thus, let’s consider these differences and find out whether DevOps specialists can improve your app performance, and what is so different in their working routine.

DevOps Specialists and Their Roles

First things first, we have to figure out what exactly DevOps means and how they differ from a regular dedicated team. To cut a long story short, this term is a combination of two independent phrases: software development and innovative technologies operations. At first, they may appear to be synonyms. However, this is not quite true. To make it more simple, we have to compare it with the development team routine.

DevOps Engineers vs Traditional Developers

So, the traditional software development lifecycle is divided into different steps. For instance, the general coding stage is performed independently. Then, the QA and security team proceed to test the app. Apart from it, at least one project manager takes care of the whole development process. Eventually, the development process becomes a step-by-step chain of actions, which ends up with the publication of an app, and continues with bug hunting and support of the final product. As a result, each team has its area of responsibility and is “in charge” of the software project in terms of its stage.

But what is so unique about DevOps methodology? As we said before, the term itself is a combination of two separate words. The reason for this is the DevOps working approach. Instead of dividing the tasks between different groups, which will have to somehow communicate with each other, DevOps are combining various specialists under the same hood. As a result, it becomes a mixed operations team, which is responsible for all the processes during the development, from the beginning to the very end, being an intermediary amidst developers and IT specialists.

In other words, DevOps engineers are taking part in the development of the whole project, taking care of their expertise areas, and interacting with each other within a single team. To do so, these specialists are using best DevOps practices, one of which is known as CI/CD pipeline, or continuous integration and continuous delivery or deployment.

Responsibilities of DevOps Specialists and Their Roles

As we stated before, DevOps engineers have no specific or particular internal division. Nevertheless, it does not mean, that there are no working specifications. As a matter of fact, there are still different tasks, and each specialist is obviously responsible for their area of responsibility. Clearly, there is no point in assigning the security team to simply code the app functionality.

Using simple terms, the main goal of DevOps engineers is to automate various processes and maintain the application, using specific DevOps tools and combining different development aspects like coding, app performance continuous testing and optimization, etc. So, the role of DevOps is rather about working with available resources like code samples, than writing the code itself.

Instead of developing from scratch, DevOps are usually used for updating an existing application, fixing bugs, adding new functional features, or to simply optimize the application.

What Do DevOps Engineers Do?

Frankly, despite the possibility of actual coding, DevOps are mainly not engaged in coding-only practices. It would be an inappropriate activity for such specialists because the main principle and advantage of DevOps is their flexibility, speed, and multitasking. But what do they actually do, if they are not involved in development on the coding level?

Eventually, the main objective of these teams is to improve and boost the productivity of development. So, the most common areas of DevOps responsibilities are:

  • Project Management:

Sometimes, they can become alternative project managers. This is a very common case at the very beginning of implementing DevOps as a service. Their role in such scenarios is to make sure, that every member of other teams is aware of what, how, and when to do particular tasks and activities in order to make the DevOps implementation as productive as possible. Also, they can explain to others the requirements and working principles for such collaboration, due to the fact, that the DevOps approach differs from the regular “waterfall” software development process.

  • IT infrastructure and architecture optimization:

Apart from the foregoing, DevOps are capable of analyzing various inside processes like communication between different departments and teams to define the least effective practices and improve them. They can also design some working patterns for your IT infrastructure.

  • Process Automation:

One of the best practices DevOps are constantly using is the automation of routine and repetitive actions. Actually, it is one of their main responsibilities. In order to do so, DevOps engineers are defining the processes, which can be automized and do so. It may seem not as crucial at first, but in reality, the saved time, usually spent on repetitive tasks, can be measured in hours.

  • App performance measuring and optimization:

Another essential DevOps duty is everyday app performance measuring, analyzing the end results, and figuring the ways to optimize applications.

  • Setting the release cycles:

Additionally, DevOps engineers are taking care of application frequent release and update cycles, making sure they are working correctly and are performed as effectively as possible.

  • Security:

Apart from the regular working responsibilities, DevOps specialists can be engaged in improving security policies and practices. Such tasks are usually done by specified security DevOps, or simply DevSecOps.

When to Consider DevOps as a Service?

Eventually, it is time to talk about the need for DevOps, i.e. which projects are suited for such service, and which don’t actually need it.

Summing up all the above, it becomes evident, that DevOps as a service is a great solution for complex software projects, which are being constantly improved and updated.

Moreover, if your customer satisfaction is all right, and your business outcomes is ok, so the updates are maintained correctly, and no notable bugs or issues appear, then DevOps is rather an addition, which should be considered before adaptation.

To add some more, DevOps is not an optimal choice for applications, which are extremely delicate or belong to industries, which are highly regulated and have numerous unbreakable rules and demands. It is especially important when it comes to applications, which have an access to crucial or personal data, as well as any other information, which should be extremely secure. First of all, automatization can result in possible data leaks. Yet, most importantly, such industries like Healthcare appreciate quality over speed. So, in order to avoid unneeded risks, it is better to keep up with the original development pace and scheme.

Last but least, in some cases, applications and access to them are more regulated. As a result, it may require you to perform some extra steps before involving the DevOps specialists team. One of the simplest examples is the GDPR regulation, which requires signing DPA agreements before giving access to the databases. Still, GRPD is not the only example of how the law impacts development. So, sometimes it may take more time for setting up all the processes before actually letting your team do their job.

And, of course, the most obvious scenario, is when your app does not have to be updated at all, or the refresh rate is so meager, that it would be even easier to simply do it manually. But when it comes to huge projects, which require being up-to-date, like social networks, DevOps best practices will definitely play their role and will help not only to update faster but will definitely impact the overall app performance.

End Line

DevOps Engineers can become a very important and useful addition to your software product if it requires constant improvements and updates. Yet, before implementing such a service in your app, it is recommended to weigh all DevOps pros and cons to understand whether it is possible and if it actually will bring any value to the end product. Do not forget, that DevOps is rather an orchestration team, which mainly takes care of user experience and satisfaction, not the development itself. Besides, the best possible result from the DevOps specialists is possible only when you add them at the very beginning of the development. In other cases, it may require additional resources to reshape business goals, logic, and IT infrastructure.

Probably the one and only possible solution, which can help you to make the final decision on whether to adopt a DevOps team or not - is to examine existing case studies, while considering such an addition.

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