DevOps Use Cases: Improving Productivity & Optimizing Cloud Apps
Actionable insights via use cases in how to improve productivity and optimize cloud applications through DevOps.
August 3, 2023 | DevOps |
Cloud adoption has been through the roof, year on year and it’s on track to break more records this year. Small-medium businesses aren’t lagging behind much either and a large number of SMBs have begun moving at least one portion of their IT infrastructure to the cloud. This is partly due to how accessible the cloud has become. In 2022, there is absolutely no shortage of help when it comes to adopting the cloud – from fully-managed services that eliminate custom coding and configuration to D3V’s own cloud workshops.
However, SMBs are realizing that while getting started with the cloud may be quick and easy, optimizing your business operations within the cloud for maximum performance and efficiency is not. Fortunately, at D3V, we’ve been working closely with SMBs and helping them iron out post-migration niggles, improve performance, and reduce cloud spend. Here is what we’ve learned.
DevOps is a lot more than just an overused tech buzzword – it is a software development methodology with the goal to align the efforts of a company’s Development and Operations teams for increased productivity. DevOps is based on the more popular agile development methodology but expanded beyond just development to also include the operations side of things, in order to solve an unexpected problem.
When agile development picked up steam as the de-facto way of building software, the Dev teams started competing with the Ops teams. While competition is generally healthy, agile development led to an unproductive form of competition, leading to overexploitation of resources, holding back feedback, and burnout, in general.
The DevOps methodology introduced a series of design patterns, tools, and strategies that help both sides work together to ensure continuous delivery.
Optimizing Cloud Deployments with Continuous Deployments
Continuous Deployment, Continuous Integration (CI/CD) is one of the core tenets of DevOps and helps accelerate nearly every aspect of software development. CI/CD refers to the stages after the code has been written, from integration and testing to delivery and deployment. DevOps focuses on automating all of these stages to a large extent through CI/CD pipelines.
Components in a typical CI/CD pipeline (Source)
Deploying CI/CD pipelines is one of the single most important things a company can do post-migration as it lays the foundation for automating numerous workflows such as comprehensive testing and feedback loops. Every major cloud vendor offers the tooling required to deploy CI/CD pipelines within the cloud environment. There are also open-source services such as Jenkins that can be used to quickly deploy automated pipelines.
How We Did it: D3V applies these practices and tools on a daily-basis to optimize our clients’ IT infrastructure. For instance, while working with an NFT marketplace startup, D3V developed CI/CD pipelines that automated the deployment process with just a Trigger Button using a combination of GCP services such as Google Kubernetes Engine, Cloud Build, and Cloud Monitoring.
Biggest Problems That DevOps Solves
DevOps is massive. It’s a software revolution made up of countless innovative new ways of improving software development. That said, for SMBs and even enterprises, DevOps solves five main major productivity-related problems post-migration.
Editor’s Note: The following five problems are common (even more so) in traditional app development and aren’t a result of cloud migration. But post-migration, employers may see a slight dip in productivity as employees figure out the additional cloud functionality and optimize standard operations.
By ensuring that all teams work together in the most efficient manner possible, DevOps can significantly reduce the time to market for software updates. Furthermore, automating various stages of the Software Development Lifecycle (SDLC) such as testing, deployment, and acceptance to production/live environment can help significantly reduce time-to-market, without compromising on quality.
How We Did it: In the competitive landscape of constant updates, the most important part is quickly pushing improvements directly to the consumer, especially when your current software isn’t up to par. While working with a major US-based supermarket chain, D3V deployed an intuitive and user-friendly dashboard to the end-user to improve productivity and significantly reduce human error.
Many of the DevOps design patterns are dedicated specifically to ensuring the highest levels of security within the cloud. For instance, developers can automate specifically designed tests for finding security vulnerabilities within their software.
Slow iterative process
Post-migration, some companies may find that they are not pushing updates as often as they would like to. DevOps has a direct impact on frequency of updates and it is one of its most powerful benefits. According to the State of DevOps report, companies that have effective implementation of DevOps have significantly higher update rates.
Companies achieve a higher frequency of updates on the cloud in a number of ways, from leveraging a loosely-coupled, microservices based architecture to fully-managed orchestration platforms.
How We Did it: For instance, while working with the supermarket chain, D3V leveraged principles of DevOps to work concurrently on updating multiple parts of their IT infrastructure and increased the number of updates they were pushing out.
Debugging is a key part of the SDLC but time it takes is often far higher than the value it generates. Developers end up spending a significant chunk of their time ironing out bugs when that time could’ve been spent writing new features and innovating in general.
How We Did it: Our NFT marketplace client faced a similar dilemma where due to an unoptimized app architecture, developers were spending more time findings bugs than they were spending on new updates. D3V helped streamline their newly cloud migrated architecture by introducing Google Kubernetes Engine (GKE) into the mix as an orchestration platform. Then using CI/CD pipelines along with monitoring and vulnerability scanning services from Google Cloud, D3V was able to automate a large portion of the debugging process.
Although the cloud offers near limitless scalability, some companies will struggle in configuring their VM instances and cloud environment to find the right balance between scalability and cloud spend. Scalability can become an especially big challenge for companies that are catering to geographically spread out audiences. Once again, an orchestration tool like Google Kubernetes Engine can help significantly in tuning the auto-scaling parameters within your cloud apps.
How We Did it: This was another one of the challenges faced by our supermarket client. This time, a team of cloud-certified D3V engineers set up a multi-zonal cluster (to handle zonal outages) within GKE with connectivity to a managed Cloud SQL database. In addition, several other tools, such as Skaffold, facilitated the need to deploy frequent software updates to the GKE Cluster. Finally, we used the built-in Leveraging Horizontal Pod Autoscaler (HPA) to scale up when there was demand and scale down during an idle period.
Similar solutions can be deployed on other cloud platforms.
How D3V Helps
Migrating to the cloud is often the first step to infrastructure modernization, the short-term cost and performance benefits of which are almost instant. However, to make the most out of the cloud in the long-term, companies need to spend the time to optimize their new infrastructure with the right tools, best practices, and a change in mindset. And DevOps brings all three of those things to the table.
If you’ve recently migrated a part of your business to the cloud and would like to learn how you can optimize your infrastructure for better performance, more automation, and lower costs, get in touch with our cloud-certified engineers for a free consultation today.