As well as any other process, software development is not cheap. Thus, there are many possible ways to cut expenses and make your product cheaper. As some people may say, you can not make an omelet without breaking eggs, meaning that you will have to sacrifice something instead. Usually, it is believed, that cutting expenses results in worse quality of the product. What if we told you, it is not an actual rule, and sometimes software project owners can do both, i.e., save costs on development, while still having a high-quality product as a final result?
Actually, among all the possible software cost reduction strategies, using DevOps agile methodology is probably one of the most effective and popular ones. So how actually can DevOps help you to reduce IT costs? Let’s figure it out together.
First thing first, we have to explain some basic terms and understand what exactly we are talking about.
DevOps stands for Development and Operations. To make it simple, instead of diving into different tasks and delegating them to various teams, DevOps specialists are doing it all at once. So, apart from being partly involved in the development and management procedures at the same time. DevOps services can be also considered as a mediator between these two worlds.
If we will try to narrow down the working specifics of DevOps, we will have to name some of the tasks they proceed with. One of the most famous functions that are enabled is process automation and integration. For instance, CI/CD pipelines are used to automate the process of updating an app, implementing new functionality, etc.
But don't get confused. We are not recommending you cut the expenses for your software development by hiring even more developers, that would be at least a little strange, don’t you think? However, it has its own logic, and if you want to understand it, we all need to make a step back.
Frankly, DevOps teams are not the first thing that comes to mind. Actually, DevOps is it is primarily a methodology, a set of practices with different specified tools, and philosophy. This also means that you can use DevOps methodology without involving third-party dedicated teams. However, in this case, you have to consider adopting such a methodology at the very beginning of your development and, of course, have to have some in-house specs, who know how to work with this approach and are skilled enough to work with DevOps tools and software.
So, in case, you have ongoing software development, and clearly are unable to switch all working principles at once, you might need a team extension, which will include qualified experts in DevOps, who will be able to implement all the needed changes.
So, now we understand that DevOps engineers are responsible for process automation and implementation of CI/CD pipelines. Nevertheless, it is just one of the best DevOps practices.
Undeniably, this is a “Dev” part, meaning that the implementation of changes in the IT infrastructure, as well as the creation of CI/CD pipelines, is just one of the available practices, which are related to the development itself.
Generally, DevOps can elevate application performance. However, if we will talk more about DevOps cost efficiency and their role in the software cost reduction itself, then we will have to talk more about “Ops”, or IT operations. Honestly, this part of DevOps' best practices and responsibilities is the most cost-related and effective.
Yet, once again, the sooner you will choose these DevOps best practices, the more effective they will be. Thus, the most preferable moment is to implement DevOps services before the development started. This will not only positively impact their efficiency, but will also help to reduce IT costs because you won’t need to make the changes within your working environment or IT infrastructure, instead, your development team will be able to make everything right at the very beginning, simply following the plan.
Previously mentioned CI/CD pipelines and process automation, which reduces the number of tasks for the development team to process, letting them deal with more urgent assignments, i.e. saves the human resource and allows to avoid possible team extension. Still, this is just the tip of the iceberg, the real DevOps cost-efficiency magic begins with the IT operations part, which is responsible for business logic, analysis of various aspects and actions, business planning, and management.
First of all, if involved in the planning stage, DevOps specialists are capable of analyzing the potential software project, its requirements, the product owners’ demands, their capabilities, etc. Eventually, after understanding the main goals to achieve and available resources to use, DevOps analyze the overall market in order to figure out whether it is reasonable to develop an app on your own, or whether it is more appropriate to choose some of the ready-made software solutions, which can benefit the overall IT infrastructure and working environment.
For a better illustration, DevOps can advise you to use AWS cloud development as your project infrastructure instead of development from a scratch. Especially, if the project is planned to become more scalable in the future. At first, it may seem the opposite of cutting expenses because buying ready-made software is always more expensive than developing it on your own. Yet, in case you are planning to expand the functionality of the project, DevOps on cloud cost saving will be seen from a long-time perspective.
Another important job, performed by DevOps is the audit of the used resources. To make it simple, DevOps specialists are monitoring and analyzing how various resources are spent during development. We are talking not only about the money and time, but different hardware metrics, efficiency, and the need for certain processes to be executed, etc. So, when they are aware of spending on different aspects and are looking for solutions on how to reduce consumption. To add some more, they are not only considering what to get rid of, or which processes should be replaced but are also considering which replacement will be the most effective and/or cheap.
Let’s get back to DevOps on cloud expense saving once again for a better illustration. Let’s suppose, you have a testing sample of your product and decided, that you want it published as beta testing, available for users. Thus, before doing it, you are contacting your DevOps specialists, who are weighing all the aspects and considering potential risks, costs, and requirements. When their estimation is done, they will not only answer whether it is worth publishing your beta product but will also explain to you which approach to use: to buy the required hardware such as servers, or to rent it. If rent, then which are optional, and whose service to choose, will it be cloud or actual in-house servers? If it is DevOps on cloud services, then which is the best for you for spending saving?
As you can see, DevOps can do a lot of business analytics, yet from a more technical perspective. However, there might be a slight confusion on how to work with DevOps. Frankly, judging from the foregoing, we can assume, that all that DevOps teams are doing is simply looking for software cost reduction, constantly calculating and estimating different factors. Moreover, if you will hire a DevOps team, which department they should belong to, and do even need them?
Actually, the answers to these questions are very simple and complex at the same time. Let’s start with the easiest. DevOps usually exist separately from development and IT operations, they are somewhere in between. Thus, it is probably better to keep this status, not attach them to a specific department. Consider them rather as a firefighting team, which is constantly doing its job, monitoring the overall state of your project, yet can appear on demand.
Obviously, all these planning and estimation are impossible without having processed data at hand. This is the answer to the question “what are they doing all the time?” If there are no requests and the CI/CD pipeline was set up, then the DevOps team is monitoring and analyzing different metrics, making various potentially useful research, etc. So, when the time comes, they have needed data to work with. Additionally, if something goes wrong during the development, they also can get involved to determine the possible issue and fix it, or alert someone whose responsibility it may be related to.
Hiring DevOps specialists and the need to do so is the trickiest part. Frankly speaking, you can develop a successful software project having no such experts on board. Yet, in this case, most likely you will need:
a) a large team of developers b) to deal with numerous manual tasks, especially when we are talking about scalable apps c) to explore the market on your own, in order to choose wisely. Or, alternatively, pay for some other experts in the field like business analytics, etc.
Moreover, it is hard to tell exactly how many DevOps team members you will need, it all depends on how scalable and complex your product is, what goals you are willing to achieve, what tasks you have for this team, who is the most suited to you, and so on. In other words, you will have to take the context into account each time. Thus, let’s consider a specific case on when to use our DevOps services.
As an outsource software development company, we usually propose DevOps as a Service to all of our customers, unless they already have their own in-house DevOps specs. The reason for such a proposal is simple: we are constantly dealing with different product companies that have ongoing development, or startups, which are only starting their path.
In the first case, DevOps as a service allows analyzing the current state of the development and proposing possible changes to implement, to make the product better. So, if the clients are interested in such improvements, it becomes an additional task for our dedicated team.
What is so special in DevOps as a service approach you ask? Clearly, if the CI/CD pipeline is involved, then our DevOps specs are staying on the project to keep an eye on it. Yet, if there is no actual need for DevOps services, or the impact will be so little it will barely make a difference, then we remove this service to avoid unneeded spending, cutting off the DevOps pricing. If DevOps are needed, then they continue working until there is no necessity for their services anymore. To make it simple, DevOps as a service is similar to having these specialists on demand. Alternatively, you can always hire a full-time team, yet it might be difficult to calculate how many specialists you will need and what assignments they will have to work on.
In other words, Incora’s DevOps as a Service solution is a great way to hire a team of experts, who will estimate all the pros and cons of not only your project but whether it is reasonable having such a team on board, or not.
If you hesitate, we are always welcome to examine our case studies to make sure that we know what we are doing.
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