Combining DevOps with Agile Development

This is the first in a 4-part blog series on the topic of DevOps, Agile, and hybrid cloud.​

Organizations can accelerate the pace of software development, deployment, and innovation by combining DevOps with a hybrid cloud architecture and embracing Agile development methodologies.

The State of DevOps

DevOps describes the working relationship between software development and IT operations teams and a method for bringing those two sides together in a more collaborative way. Software development teams and operations/system administrators have historically pushed each other in opposing yet complementary directions. While the development team focuses on delivering new features to end users, operations personnel generally focus on software deployment, minimizing liabilities and risks, and optimizing performance and reliability. The natural friction between these groups often creates a productive balance, but sometimes the teams can become frustrated, each seeing the other as an obstacle to delivering new applications and features.

As an IT discipline, DevOps brings order to an otherwise chaotic and complex world of application/service development, testing, deployment, scaling, and monitoring. By minimizing friction between independent teams, DevOps enables a unified approach to enterprise software development and delivery that reflects the needs of the entire application lifecycle. DevOps strives for more collaborative, productive relationships between development and operations teams, with faster development cycles and reduced production risks. DevOps also helps teams receive real-time feedback.

DevOps carries many advantages over traditional development processes, including fewer bugs, faster fixes, and increased visibility. However, it also presents new challenges. A significant reorganization of personnel is required, and DevOps demands a greater degree of interdepartmental coordination.

Incorporating Agile Development

The Agile development model enables the enterprise to produce higher quality software that is more in tune with user needs and offers more swift release cycles. However, enterprise IT environments are rarely optimized to leverage the software acceleration and innovation advantages of Agile release cycles. Not only are traditional development environments slow to provision, they are difficult to change once created.

Implementing Agile development requires a disciplined approach to managing the high amounts of automation involved. Virtualization technology can be used to run all aspects of the enterprise IT environment, allowing organizations to provide the elasticity to scale resources to optimize both Agile development and DevOps initiatives.

Implementing DevOps to increase speed and innovation requires adopting Agile development methodologies, and Agile development requires quicker and more frequent release cycles. The ability to tear down and rebuild a test environment in minutes — and then to do it over and over again — isn’t just a nice-to-have capability for Agile; it’s a necessity. Automating this process so that it is visible to change control, but doesn’t require intervention or special approval to implement, reduces the time needed for development.

The Missing Ingredient

DevOps and Agile development are a natural combination, but there’s one more element needed to allow the enterprise to accelerate the pace of software development, deployment, and innovation. By incorporating agile development practices into your software development workflow, you can improve the frequency and quality of releases. Learn more about Skytap App Development and Testing.

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