Getting DevOps Right: Enhancing Enterprise-Wide Transparency

The COVID-19 pandemic has forced us all into a new reality that we have never known before. This is not limited to just personal lifestyles, and the health and well-being of individuals, but the way industries function as well. Work cultures all across the globe have been forced to embrace the new normal as enterprises move into remote working, and this has shaken up entire business models altogether. 

The IT industry has been one of those that have faced the maximum brunt, and it is safe to assume that we may not be able to go back to the world as we knew it. In fact, a Gartner survey has revealed that almost 75% of CFOs intend to shift employees into permanent remote working environments. In a digital-first world, it is no surprise that tech-led initiatives are going to take center stage in the near future when it comes to maintaining business continuity and enterprise resilience. 

In such a scenario, it becomes critical for not just pre-existing IT setups, but all businesses to embrace automation and digital solution delivery. Mapping consumer expectations to specific outcomes becomes the first step of the digital transformation journey. Through our extensive experience of working with various IT and ITES giants, we have realized that the DevOps methodology is extremely crucial to master, in order to maintain agility and evolve rapidly. This blog is the first of a six-part series where we shall discuss the merits of using DevOps, and how it can lead to achieving business excellence in a post COVID era.

Why DevOps Matters?

Most business leaders look at DevOps as just a collaboration between the Dev and Ops teams, but it’s much more than that. It’s an approach that promises growth at scale, highly agile processes, and enhanced software delivery at speed. How does this matter when we look at remote working environments? Because the first hurdle that it eradicates is that of lack of visibility and transparency.

When we consider the remote working scenario, theoretically, it shouldn’t make much of a difference as compared to traditional work environments, since most IT teams mainly already have the systems and network connections in place. But the real truth of the matter is different. 

Managing the team’s tasks, performance, velocity, and dependency is critical for each project, since the needs and asks for each client are different. It becomes difficult for project managers to access these during remote working. This leads to a lack of clarity in terms of expectations, both internally and for the client, and may even cause serious communication gaps. In the absence of this clarity, the number of bottlenecks between the senior management and executive teams increases even more. 

Where does DevOps fit in?

With a DevOps setup in place, project managers can plan for features and release assignments as per specific business needs, while keeping a tab on their team’s bandwidth. Since this approach also facilitates interdepartmental collaboration, it also helps brings everyone on to the same page. It thus adds value to the overall solutioning process by delivering critical features into production, rather than causing an excessive back and forth between different teams. This ultimately translates to holistic, memorable customer experience for the end consumer, also ensuring client happiness. 

The DevOps approach is also super effective while breaking down the data silos between teams, and ensuring that each and every team member can monitor this data in real-time. With the help of smart dashboards, project managers can have direct visibility into team member’s workstacks and vice versa, which makes the entire process more transparent. This also makes for better governance practices, ensuring the organizational work culture does not take a hit, and people stay in sync. 

To sum it up, implementing DevOps processes during remote working not only makes for faster, better, and more long-term solutions, but also enable continuous improvement at each step of the solution delivery process. Teamwork makes the dream work indeed! 

Integrate DevOps and Micro Frontends only if you can tackle these three challenges

A new age application demands a combination of Continuous Delivery and Scalability. Though, there are a few challenges to be taken care of.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD) don’t work well with Monolithic frontends. Consider a situation for your DevOps automation pipeline. A frontend developer writes the code for the application as fast as possible. They then run tests like linting, unit tests, integration tests, and other important checks. Finally, the code is deployed on the server and the overall application is updated. Assuming that all this work is done for Monolithic frontends, here are a few challenges that might arise:

  • Monolithic architecture discourages independent development. Frontend developers need to understand the whole architecture. This makes the development less suitable for automation.
  • The complexity of the highly coupled architecture further complicates the testing processes. This is not recommended for DevOps practices like Continuous Testing.
  • It doesn’t make sense to use a CI/CD pipeline for monolithic architecture. A continuous upgrade of the application’s frontend is difficult with the monolithic frontend. It can be complex and time-consuming

Therefore, the micro frontend architecture goes best with the DevOps pipeline. In this article, we will discuss why the combination of the two is highly recommended. We will also try to understand the challenges that an organization might face with this combo.

Micro frontends and DevOps: A recommended combo

DevOps practices are well capable of enabling automation for business agility. They integrate the principles defined in the agile manifesto, with the automation pipeline. However, the technology architectures employed by the organization also play an important role. Micro frontends are decoupled and domain-driven. Therefore, they work well with the CI/CD processes. Here are a few important benefits of including the micro frontend architecture (MFA) in the DevOps pipeline.

  • Scalable Development: The decoupled nature of micro frontend units helps them scale independently. In fact, one can also plan to scale the units that attract more end-user traffic than others. This makes the automation pipeline more flexible and customer-oriented.
  • Easy Deployment: DevOps is meant to promote agility. This requires necessary provisions to roll out newer versions regularly. With independent frontend units, this becomes easier. There is no need for the whole application frontend to be immediately affected by every upgrade.
  • Failure Resilience: Any issue or failure in a micro frontend unit only affects the end-user specifically consuming it. Even then, there are replicas present for these domains that can help to a great extent. This gives space for the CI/CD pipeline to deal with the failures and deploy patches.
  • Team Distribution: Team autonomy plays a crucial role in the automation of delivery processes. More interdependent the teams would be, more difficult it can be to define standard procedures for automation. With MFA, teams can be distributed with respect to the knowledge context they excel in. This makes development more technology agnostic.

Thus, CI/CD and independent frontend is a productive combination for the business. However, technology leaders need to be aware of a few challenges that they might face in the process.

Understanding the Challenges

Micro frontends are a fairly new concept. Hence, a little skepticism for them is understandable. Though, a little awareness of the actual challenges may be more helpful. This will allow the DevOps-MFA combo to flourish more. So, here’s the list.

  • Decision Making.  The micro frontend influencers have been sharing knowledge about the decision making process. However, a certain level of first-hand experience is always recommended. Organizations need to collaborate with consultants studying and working with this architecture. More knowledge, smoother will be the integration for CI/CD and MFA.
  • Updated with Automation. Although DevOps practices have been around for a while, yet their understanding might need a regular brush-up. Teams aware of updates about the cloud, virtualization, etc. can avoid unnecessary failures. Also, MFA can benefit more from newer automation practices and tools.
  • Valuable Integration. It is true, DevOps and Micro frontends are both here to stay for the long term. That said, rushing to incorporate them both might bring more damage than benefits. The current pressure to find new ways for customer-oriented deliveries can be exhausting. Therefore, this integration needs to be approached steadily and purposefully.

Conclusion

The combination of DevOps and Micro frontend architecture is the next logical step. The sooner the organizations are ready to adopt it, the better. That said, one cannot ignore the challenges that they might find in the way. Thoughtful planning can help organizations bring wholesome agility to their business.