A No-Nonsense DevOps Tutorial For Beginners With Examples

Written by: Georgiana Patru

7 min read

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The following is a guest blog post written by Michiel Mulders.

DevOps has become mainstream in the last decade and continues to gain in popularity. That’s why we’re providing this DevOps tutorial to help you get started quickly.

DevOps consists of five important processes that can help any organization to deliver high-quality software faster. For this reason, the DevOps movement has been increasingly put into practice as it allows an organization to be more agile. Also, it allows them to reduce the time to market, creating a competitive advantage over their competitors.

This tutorial will answer questions related to many aspects of the DevOps movement:

  • What is DevOps?

  • Why is DevOps necessary?

  • What are the benefits of DevOps?

  • How do you implement DevOps?

  • Which tools do you need?

What Is DevOps?

Before DevOps was invented, software development organizations used to employ both a development and an operations team. In other words, the development team was responsible for writing the code, while the operations team was responsible for all aspects related to the deployment of the codebase.

However, both teams weren’t able to work together efficiently as they acted as isolated teams. The biggest problem for the operations team was the lack of knowledge about the codebase. This makes it very hard to deploy a codebase or fix bugs when needed.

For this exact reason, the DevOps movement was founded to align both the development and the operations team. By aligning both teams, knowledge can be easily shared and both teams can work together efficiently. The ultimate goal is to create a shorter feedback loop for developers while also being able to quickly ship code to a production environment by means of automated testing and automated builds.

Next, why is DevOps important for your organization?

Why Is DevOps Necessary?

Let’s assume there’s a situation where you don’t have any DevOps implementation at all. Your development team has just completed a feature on Friday evening, and you want to quickly ship it to your customers.

However, there’s a “problem.” Your release process describes that the code should be built and tested before releasing it to your customers. However, preparing test databases and whole test setups requires quite some time, let alone actually testing the product.

Therefore, DevOps describes implementing a continuous integration (CI) pipeline. This helps to streamline all processes related to releasing the product to your customers. For example, a CI server takes care of building the code, preparing test environments, and testing the code. You can even integrate automated release processes that push your product to application stores such as the Google Play Store or Apple App Store. This can all happen automatically, saving your team a lot of time.

To summarize, DevOps helps your organization to stay competitive and gain an edge over your competitors.

5 DevOps Benefits You Should Know

Before we get into the how of this DevOps tutorial, here are the five most important benefits DevOps brings to your organization.

1. Reduced Failure Rate

Instead of developing multiple features and releasing them all at once, DevOps focuses on small increments. Therefore, the results of a build are more predictable as the integration of a single feature returns much more predictable test results and is, in general, less risky. When building multiple features, there’s a lot of uncertainty about how those functions will work together. For that reason, your build will fail more often. You want to avoid this behavior as it slows down your team.

The main benefit is the consistent results you’ll get from your CI pipeline. In addition, the DevOps culture also encourages you to release smaller features.

2. Time to Market

As said before, the DevOps movement is all about increasing the output by optimizing efficiency. Therefore, your organization can release new features more often and reduce the time to market. This allows you to gain a competitive edge over your competitors.

3. Higher-Quality Software

As tests run for every small code increment, as small as a single commit, the quality of your codebase will increase. As the whole test process gets automated, developers receive much faster feedback about the status of their code. This will lead to high-quality software.

4. Reduced Risk

By releasing a new version for every small code increment, you’re reducing risks in case of a bug. When you encounter a bug, you can quickly roll back to a previous small code increment without having to roll back a whole set of features. Also, continuous testing helps to reduce risk as it guarantees the quality of your code. Testing is a great way to gain confidence in your codebase.

Risks can be further reduced by using feature flags. When a release or new feature contains bugs or your customers don’t like it, you can quickly disable the feature via a feature flag.

5. Reduce Costs

Initially, implementing DevOps comes with some cost. However, long term, your organization will benefit from this investment. DevOps helps to improve the efficiency of processes, reduce risk, and improve quality, which all contribute to reducing the costs for your organization.

So, how should you implement DevOps in your organization?

Learn the DevOps Basics to Get Started Quickly

DevOps can be implemented according to the DevOps lifecycle. The lifecycle consists of five important phases that help you to implement DevOps.

1. Development and Build

In this stage, the goal is to develop code. It’s a continuous process. It’s important to divide the code into small features that can be easily implemented. When a piece is completed, a new build of the code should be created.

2. Testing

Testing is an important aspect of software development. Tests help you to guarantee the quality of your code. The DevOps movement aims to implement automated testing as that saves your team a lot of time and you receive much faster feedback about the quality of your code.

3. Integrate New Functionality

In this phase, we want to verify how the new feature works together with the existing codebase. During the integration phase, you can optionally run end-to-end tests to make sure the integration works correctly.

4. Continuous Deployment

Next, continuous deployment is an important aspect of the DevOps implementation. Tools such as Jenkins or CircleCI help you to configure recipes for automated deployment. Here, we want to deploy code that has been built and tested to a staging or production environment depending on your configuration.

5. Monitoring

Monitoring is the last step in the DevOps chain. Many organizations tend to neglect this step. However, it’s a crucial step to gather insights about the well-being of your application. For example, application performance monitoring (APM) helps you gather data about metrics such as CPU usage, memory usage, or average response time. These data points help you to further improve your application and its performance.

DevOps Tools List

Now that we’re coming to the end of this DevOps tutorial, here’s a list of the most important tools associated with DevOps:

  • Jenkins/CircleCI: a continuous integration tool that allows you to build, test, and deploy software

  • Docker: a popular tool for creating containerized applications

  • Kubernetes: a container orchestration tool for running Docker containers

  • Ansible: a tool for automating application deployment and configuration management with the aim to accomplish continuous delivery

Conclusion

If you want to implement DevOps into your organization, start with implementing DevOps according to the DevOps lifecycle. In this DevOps tutorial, we recapped the DevOps lifecycle’s great five-step process that allows you to build high-quality software faster. Also, you’ll be able to save time and funds as your development process becomes fully automated. You don’t have to spend efforts on manual testing, which is slow and prone to human error. Lastly, the main advantage of DevOps is the shorter feedback loop. Developers receive quick feedback about the quality of their code.

Want to learn more about DevOps? Read CloudBees’ article about the best practices for continuous integration.

Michiel Mulders is a passionate blockchain developer who loves writing technical content. Besides that, he loves learning about marketing, UX psychology, and entrepreneurship. When he's not writing, he's probably enjoying a Belgian beer!

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