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Integrating external entities in DevOps ecosystem
15 May 2020

Integrating external entities in DevOps ecosystem

DevOps has become an integral part of the IT industry; combining cultural change with different sets of tools has revolutionized the way Dev and Ops teams operate. The global market size for DevOps is expected to grow from USD 2.90 Billion in 2017 to USD 10.31 Billion by the year 2023, according to a study by Markets And Markets. The need to deliver applications faster made the Dev and Ops teams come out of the silos and work together to collaborate on various processes like development, testing, and operations to promote continuous integration and deployment.

Implementing a successful DevOps strategy is easy if you have a workforce that is capable of getting the best out of the code, tools, and infrastructure. And tools and services that can augment the efforts of the workforce. Generally, all of us, tend to keep all the development processes in-house to have total control over them. However, sometimes, it is dependent on external factors. Most of the development pipelines are in some or another other way dependent on third-party resources and processes. And to get the best out of your DevOps, it is important to understand the role that these third-party services play.

Relating your DevOps with the external ecosystem

To have an outstanding DevOps process, almost all organizations have been using external services regularly. These services could be open source or by a cloud service provider or by a partner or by a third-party such as infrastructure and other hosting services. So, to optimize the performance of your DevOps process, it is important to understand DevOps and its dependencies on external factors. Here are some of the highlighting ones:

  • To begin the actual development work, you need an infrastructure. So, unless you have a big in-house setup, you start with the cloud. And this is where your interaction with external entities starts.
  • Once your infrastructure is decided, you can move on to the code. You can integrate the open-source code into your codebases and depend on the open-source community to contribute to the codes for you.
  • There could be several developers working on the same codebase. So, you will need a source code repository such as an AWS CodeCommit, Azure Repos, Bitbucket, GitHub, GitLab, Launchpad, etc. Along with this, you will look for a version control tool like Git or Mercurial.
  • Once the coding part is finalized, you can opt for VMs or Containers. Now, no matter if you use open source or enterprise, you are again dependent on external entities.
  • Your partners play a vital role in the DevOps process. It is important to synchronize with them to ensure the compatibility of release schedules and toolchains with them.
  • Most of the applications depend on API, these API's could be designed in-house. However, in most cases, it is easy to just go for third-party APIs that are developed and managed by the industry giants. You can expose some of a product or service's internal functions in a controlled environment. However, the most important thing to notice is you can use their functionalities in your applications. This will augment the user experience adding to the business value.
  • Testing the application against various operating systems, browsers, and hardware devices that are managed by third-party service providers is a critical aspect of any delivery cycle.
  • Project management is another important aspect, and messaging tool integration is vital for transparency and communication between the developers involved. Tools like Jira, Trello, Slack, Microsoft Teams, etc. could come in very handy. If you are using Azure DevOps services then here is how you can integrate third-party services that will notify you and will take proactive actions on behalf of you.
  • The delivery chains should meet regulatory requirements such as PII, GDPR, HIPPA, etc., that are again managed by external parties.
  • Third-party monitoring tools for SaaS or Cloud applications, such as New Relic, Elasticsearch, Sumo Logic, Amazon CloudWatch, Nagios, etc., can help to keep track of the status of the DevOps process.

To make your DevOps better, you have to integrate external entities in one or the other way. It is evident that it is unavoidable and it will mean losing control over the process to a marginal extent. However, the benefits it brings to your DevOps are prominently discernible.

Outsourcing, in general, and DevOps outsourcing in particular, is a powerful approach when used correctly. Like other external entities, you will lose some control, but at the same time, the benefits added are huge. Ready access to the talent pool, shortened development cycles, and improved output quality are some of the visible benefits. However, before you integrate third-party resources into your DevOps process, it is important to know the best possible way to do it. Here are some of the important aspects that one should consider before opting for a DevOps-as-a-service provider or external contractor -

  • Clear, open, transparent, and timely communication
  • Well-planned collaboration using conferencing tools, periodic review meetings, and scrums
  • Sharing code, tools, and technologies with proper security measures
  • Optimum utilization of automation tools for test data management, code integration, code release, provisioning, and configuration
  • Adopting Virtualization, Cloud, and Containers

Adding value to your Interconnected DevOps

It is not always easy to build a CI/CD pipeline and DevOps processes with all these third-party resources getting into the play. The golden rule for this is - Always adopt tools that are highly flexible and cover a broad area. Make sure your CI/CD processes have multiple branches so that it is easy for you to support different target environments. If you want your third-party service providers to add value to your software delivery pipeline then always try to do the right planning and make useful strategies. Even if you pay attention to every minute of CI/CD chain details, the very simple fact that you should know is this is an interconnected world where the right planning and strategies play a very important role.

While choosing a DevOps-as-a-service partner, it is important to have an organization that has an engineering team with a thorough knowledge of CI/CD practices, tools, release automation, infrastructure configuration, and management. As DevOps is more about cultural change, it is extremely important to choose a partner that is ready to share your culture. Opcito has been delivering high-quality DevOps services with its certified engineering teams for more than 5 years now. Get in touch with us today to discuss your DevOps initiatives.

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