Enabling DevOps Automation in Hybrid Clouds

By: Brad Parks

As more and more businesses embrace digital transformation, the need for increased speed and agility in product development is becoming ever more apparent. Traditional team structures are generally incapable of scaling to meet demand, and conflicting departmental philosophies hinder necessary collaboration. DevOps offers a solution to the dysfunctions of traditional software production, uniting development and operations for a cultural shift that breaks down silos, improves cross-team coordination, and optimizes development processes. 

But while DevOps carries with it some very-attractive promises, most teams on their own are simply not capable of handling the increased speed and frequency of deliveries across multiple on-prem and public cloud platforms. As such, one essential component of this new, agile approach is DevOps automation.

What Is DevOps Automation?

DevOps automation, as the term suggests, describes the automating of many different tasks throughout the DevOps lifecycle ‘ from design and development to continuous deployment or delivery (the CD in CI/CD). Automation and self-service enable these tasks to be completed with little to no human interaction, allowing faster deployment of iterative updates.

In essence, DevOps automation frees teams from performing manual and repetitive tasks, allowing more rapid development cycles and more frequent releases of new functionality.

What Role Does Automation Play in DevOps? 

Far from being a supplemental technology, automation is a key principle in accelerating effectively with DevOps. Simply put, DevOps turns software development into something like an assembly line, with multiple departments working concurrently on their own tasks to help move multiple projects forward at once. And just as factory automation allowed early assembly lines to quickly surpass more-traditional methods, DevOps automation empowers teams with increased reliability, efficiency, and consistency.

DevOps automation decreases cross-team dependencies, while also taking over many of the processes related to resource provisioning and configuration. The end result? Increased release frequency, faster feedback and implementation, and a better overall experience for both developers and end-users. 

What Processes Should Be Automated?

When it comes to determining what DevOps processes to automate, the answer is deceptively simple: everything. That said, many organizations may find it difficult to automate every process. Instead, teams will need to prioritize automation based on the needs of the business and the feasibility of the technology. With that in mind, many organizations choose to automate the following processes first:

  • CI/CD
    Continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) are the primary concepts that define the agile approach. Apply DevOps automation to all processes across CI/CD, including code commits, builds, and application provisioning.  The Morpheus platform is most often a fit when automating the provisioning phase of CI/CD.
  • Code Development and Update
    Automation in DevOps relies on automated source-control solutions and other tools. This makes it easier for developers to collaborate together across departments, track changes, and return to earlier versions of code in the event that problems begin to manifest themselves in newer versions.  Morpheus connects to source-code managment platforms like Git to trigger provisioning updates when changes are made.
  • Infrastructure Management
    DevOps automation is uniquely suited to manipulating networks, compute, storage and other essential development infrastructure. Correctly applied, automation can not only handle infrastructure setup at provision time but can also support day-2 tasks.  DevOps teams use Morpheus to maintain golden image templates and apply updates with integration into configuration management technologies like Ansible.
  • Testing
    Continuous delivery would be completely pointless without the ability to continuously test the software before deployment. Automation tools allow DevOps teams to automatically run everything, from simple unit tests, to UI tests, user-interaction tests, and smoke tests.
  • Monitoring
    Ongoing monitoring is likewise an essential aspect of software development. Using automation, DevOps teams can build rules to help track and call attention to performance and security issues, as well as infrastructure availability. Morpheus is used to automate log forwarding and provide easy self-service access to application logs and monitoring events.

Automation Best Practices

To get the most out of DevOps automation, teams should consider the following best practices:

  • Prioritize Based on Dependencies
    Flow of work is a key DevOps concept and useful to prioritize automation efforts.  Identify the biggest bottlenecks based on dependent processes and tackle those first.  Remember you are only as fast as your slowest handoff.  Many teams find the gap is wider than they think; Morpheus has helped many enterprises bridge the DevOps gap.
  • Utilize Abstraction to Enable Reusability
    Reusable code makes it possible to greatly streamline DevOps automation. By using modular code to fulfill different functions, teams reduce much of the work that goes into development. This same approach when thinking about hybrid cloud endpoints.  Morpheus enables workflows and provisioning to be consistent independent of private or public cloud to minimize disruption when underpinning platforms change.
  • Provide Vital Context via Self-Service
    Monitoring and reporting are important factors in DevOps automation, but the information they provide should not exist in a vacuum; it requires context and access. Tools should be able to provide that context around applications and underpinning infrastructure so that developersteams can take action.  Historically, operational data like logs, monitoring, and backups were the domain of Ops teams; Morpheus enables DevOps by giving Developers self-service access to these contextual pieces of information.

Learn about DevOps Automation with Morpheus

DevOps is a culture change, not a title or a tool and it covers a wide array of tools, technology, people, and process.  Unfortunately, organizations face hybrid cloud and application complexity, as well as the friction from decades of technology silos. Ideally, clients want clean handoffs and automated processes, just as Morpheus Data offers.

Morpheus Data, the leader in hybrid cloud management application orchestration, brings advanced DevOps automation to organizations around the world. It’s an application-centric framework for lifestyle automation, designed for simplicity, agnosticism, and responsiveness. Morpheus provides a first-class experience through integration using native internal tools to handle each phase of the life cycle, providing the ultimate goal of moving forward faster with DevOps automation.

Click here to learn more, and streamline your development and operations processes like never before.

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