A Must-read Comprehensive Guide on all you need to know on DevOps

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Organisations must adjust to the disruption as Covid-19 affects the global economy and several countries’ national healthcare systems. One of the many things that can help do this is having the right DevOps Strategy.

So, we have created this guide because implementing a solid DevOps strategy can assist in breaking through the walls between business and IT, which is vital to preserving productivity, efficiency, and security during this extended era of remote working.

As companies transition to a product-centric paradigm, DevOps is being more widely used to break through walls between business and IT.

Since DevOps became a common phrase in the IT world, many have transpired. Because so much of the ecosystem is open source, it’s worth revisiting why it began and what it implies for IT professions.

What Is DevOps?

We can define DevOps as a process framework that ensures collaboration between development and operations teams to push code to production environments more quickly and in a repeatable and automated manner. The rest of this article will be devoted to deconstructing that assertion.

The phrases “development” and “operations” are combined to form the term “DevOps.” It helps to get the faster delivery of apps and services. 

It enables businesses to provide better service to their clients and increase their market competitiveness. To put it simply, DevOps is better communication and collaboration between development and IT operations.

It presupposes a culture in which collaboration between development, operations, and business teams is a vital part of the journey. DevOps in a business produces continual value for consumers, so it’s not just about the technologies. Along with people and procedures, one of its foundations is tools. 

DevOps improves an organisation’s ability to offer high-quality solutions quickly. It automates an application’s or product’s whole lifecycle, from development to deployment.

The connection between developers, who produce software for a living, and operators, who are in charge of maintaining that software, is at the heart of the DevOps debate.

Read also: Azure DevOps: A Complete Beginner Guide

Benefits of DevOps

DevOps can help create a collaborative atmosphere where developers and operators work together to achieve common goals. 

The introduction of continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) is a significant milestone in this approach. This allows software testing teams to release software faster and with fewer defects.

The following are some of the most significant advantages of DevOps:

  • Predictability: DevOps has a far lower failure rate for new releases.
  • Maintainability: It allows for a quick recovery if a new version crashes or disables the app.
  • Reproducibility: Versioning the builds or the code provides for restoring previous versions if needed.
  • Higher quality: Incorporating infrastructure issues increases the quality of application development.
  • Time to market: Simplified software delivery cuts time to market in half.
  • Reduced risk: Integrating security into the software development lifecycle decreases faults throughout the development process.
  • Cost-effectiveness: Senior management is pleased with the cost-effectiveness of software development.
  • Stability and security: The software system is more stable, secure and tracks modifications.
  • Breaks down bigger codebases into smaller, more manageable chunks: DevOps is built on agile programming, allowing larger codebases to be broken down into smaller, more manageable pieces.

DevOps Testing Lifecycle

Following are some of the standard practices that DevOps adopts:

#01 Continuous planning

Continuous planning uses lean principles to start small by identifying the resources and outcomes needed to test the business value or vision, adapt on the fly, measure progress, learn from customer needs, pivot as needed with agility, and update the business plan.

#02 Collaborative development

The collaborative development approach enables cross-time zone collaboration between business, development, and test teams to provide high-quality software regularly. 

This features multiplatform development, multilingual programming support, user story creation, idea development, and lifecycle management. 

Continuous integration is a process and practice in collaborative development that promotes frequent code integrations and automatic builds. 

Integration issues are recognised earlier in the lifecycle (when they are easier to fix). However, the overall integration effort is decreased via constant feedback since the project often exhibits continuous and demonstrable progress by integrating application code.

#03 Continuous testing

Continuous testing lowers the cost of testing while also assisting development teams in balancing speed and quality. 

It also removes testing bottlenecks with virtualised services and makes it easier to create virtualised test environments that can be shared, distributed, and updated as systems evolve. 

By allowing integration testing early in the lifecycle, these features lower the cost of deploying and maintaining test environments and cut test cycle times.

#04 Continuous release and deployment

One important technique in this adoption path is continuous release and deployment. Continuous release and deployment automate essential operations and create a constant supply pipeline. 

In addition, it enables push-button deployment, which provides increased releases, decreased errors, and end-to-end transparency, reducing the number of manual processes, resource wait times, and rework.

Automation is crucial for ensuring that software is released consistently and reliably. 

One important goal is to automate manual activities like build, regression, deployment, and infrastructure provisioning. 

This necessitates source code version control, test and deployment scripts, infrastructure and application configuration data, and the libraries and packages that the application relies on. 

Another critical factor is the ability to query the state of all environments.

#05 Continuous monitoring

Continuous monitoring assures enterprise-grade reporting capabilities, allowing development teams to understand the availability and performance of apps in the production landscape before they are deployed. 

Continuous monitoring provides vital early input for decreasing the cost of errors and steering projects in the proper direction. 

Observability tools, which offer metrics relating to application performance, are frequently used in this technique.

#06 Continuous feedback and optimisation

Customer journeys can be analysed and pain points identified using continuous feedback and optimisation. 

Feedback can be allowed for both pre-and post-production phases topre-and optimise value and ensure that even more transactions are completed. 

This gives you fast insight into the source of client issues that affect behaviour and the company.

Read also: Testgrid’s Automation Testing Features

Features Of Testing In A DevOps Environment

Software testing evolved significantly throughout the years after Agile started its ascent. Since then, speedier and collaborative testing methodologies, tools, and technology have been brought to the testing realm.

Here’s how testing looks like in the DevOps environment:

  • Testing is an entirely automated and continuous process that enables faster software delivery.
  • Testing spans every level of the software development lifecycle.
  • Each level of the SDLC incorporates several sorts of testing. This minimises retracing in the instance that you have spotted an error.
  • Testing does not remain the duty of one team and gets shared testing responsibilities to allow everyone to understand the effects of each change.

How Will Testing Be Done In DevOps?

DevOps promotes easy cooperation and communication between development and operations teams in today’s competitive software development settings.

The two teams share responsibilities towards attaining their primary goal: frequent and faster delivering high-quality software that satisfies increasing customer expectations. DevOps’ techniques drive businesses to execute tasks as effectively as feasible with associated tools and technologies.

The DevOps culture uses the Shift Left testing strategy, which contrasts with traditional setups where testing happens after the completion of the development phase.

This strategy pushes the testing to the left, the earlier steps, of the software development process. There, testing is also started when the work begins. This approach helps to detect bugs as early as feasible.

These intrinsic qualities of a DevOps testing environment greatly enhance software quality. Still, the failure or success of the testing approach hinges on how well firms execute DevOps best practices for testing.

DevOps Testing Best Practices

Here are some of the best practices for testing that organisations need to follow to optimise the DevOps benefit.

#01 Smartly Leverage Test Automation

Developers often merge the code to a central repository in a DevOps context. This means that the code updates continually through continuous integration (CI). 

To prevent errors, you have to regularly test the code through many sorts of tests, including unit tests, functional tests, acceptance tests, and integration tests.

As a recommended practice, you can automate these tests to gain faster and earlier feedback on regularly merged code. More successful DevOps teams have a more significant share of automated test cases, and they have commonly integrated automation suites.

As you move in the SDLC, test automation stretches deeper from code level into domains like – API testing, Load testing, Performance testing, etc.

This doesn’t mean that you should automate everything in the testing scope. However, there has to be some space for manual testing. This caution is essential. If you automate a test procedure that isn’t valuable, you’re simply automating and putting additional waste into the process.

Recommendations for efficient test automation include:

  • Using good, quality test data
  • Identifying test cases that are suitable candidates for automation
  • Running test cases in parallel to boost automation speed
  • Continually modifying the testing strategy using an up-to-date automated testing scope
  • Teams may typically write and run more test cases to prevent bugs by employing test automation effectively.

#02 Get Help From Test Automation Engineers

While testing is a shared duty across every team, organisations like to employ the unique knowledge of test automation engineers to maximise the overall test automation coverage percentage. For instance, such engineers would serve a crucial role in reaching automation ambitions.

Typically, during a product release, the automation engineer assumes ownership in conducting automated tests on the related environment and reporting any detected issues. 

Then they work together with the development teams to find the solutions to resolve such errors. Then, as part of the work, they clean up existing test cases according to the new changes introduced to the system.

You can observe how test automation engineers contribute to harnessing the benefits of test automation in a thriving DevOps culture.

#03 Selection Of The Right Testing Tools

To maximise the benefits of test automation, you need to incorporate the correct testing tools for your organisation—not some “best of” testing solution.

When choosing a set of test automation tools, the first thing to examine is if your team has the requisite skills and ability to use that product. For example, several open-source testing tools demand a reasonable level of programming expertise to use them. Do your test engineers have this?

Then assess the overall cost of the instrument, including training fees, upgrades, and maintenance, to see if it is within the testing budget. Finally, always check if adequate technical assistance is accessible for the tools.

Automation testing tools should enable easy development and execution of test cases without generating complex setups. For example, here is a collection of open-source and commercial software testing tools commonly utilised by companies.

#04 Track Effectively Using Right Metrics

Using metrics to measure the failure or the success of testing is another excellent practice. This method gives management a clear view of how the modifications introduced to the programme have impacted the organisation.

These metrics provide good insights into areas that are more prone to failures, and continuous testing yields immediate numbers for them. 

Metrics also assist teams in forecasting if the number of defects will increase or decrease with additional modifications added to the system over time. Then, more innovative ideas can be implemented to overcome failures.

Test execution time measurements allow automation engineers to uncover better ways of building test cases that boost performance. 

As the execution of automation suits has become a crucial phase of a software release, test execution metrics helps to manage the release timeframe properly.

#05 Maintenance of Proper Documentation

Maintaining adequate documentation makes the testing process more organised and transparent to everyone in the organisation. Successful DevOps teams commonly develop testing-related documents, including:

  • Summary reports of tests
  • Quality management plan
  • Specifications of testing done
  • Risk assessment reports
  • Regression test reports

These are usually prepared at the beginning of the testing phase or delivered as test results. In addition, documents like QMPs or Test Management Plans offer a complete overview of the testing planned to carry out, including every aspect of the evaluated features. Moreover, test summary reports provide an in-depth explanation of the test outcomes.

Of course, another importance for documentation is that it’s terrific reference material for trainers. However, proper documentation can save organisation costs.

As a best practice, maintain all documentation in a safe area where they are accessible and visible to everyone in the business. Standardise document formats and employ templates to preserve the quality—hence the value.

Read also: Automation Testing: The Beginner’s Guide To What, Why, & How?

How To Set Up Test Automation?

As we explained previously, automation testing is a fundamental reason behind this entire DevTestOps phenomenon. Running massive volumes of nightly regression suites every night or on weekends manually undercuts the aim of DevOps.

Let’s go into the setting up of test automation.

Test automation abilities are hard to obtain as it’s technically demanding. DevOps will be a distant goal for firms that are not there yet or in the earliest phases of embracing test automation in their delivery chain.

For a successful DevTestOps execution, an automation engineer should have an excellent understanding of the functionalities of the software, choice of automation, inherent technical details, CI/CD tools, reporting needs, scripting language, automation framework design, ability to set up continuous testing needs and competence to develop test scripts in parallel with development.

Imagining you’re thinking out test automation for your firm, there are four action items you can consider:

  • Have a champion inside or outside consulting business who knows the goals and plans to attain them.
  • Pick a person who has experience in test automation but a broad understanding of software development in general.
  • Engineering brilliant champions- these champions have a clear vision, acquire experiences from different sources, and impose the proper technical approach, processes, and guidelines that’ll dramatically increase quality.
  • A perfect balance of automated and manual testing can assist get a much higher ROI.

Generally, in DevTestOps culture, all the teams will work together to streamline processes that encourage in-built product quality in keeping with the culture.

DevOps Testing Tools

#01 Selenium

It is a set of several open-source software tools used for automated software testing of web applications across various browsers/platforms.

Most typically used to generate comprehensive, browser-based regression automation suites and tests, Selenium—like Jenkins—has a massive repository of open source tools beneficial for many kinds of automation difficulties. With support for programming languages including C#, Java, PHP, JavaScript, Python, Perl, Ruby, .Net, etc., Selenium may be used to develop automation scripts that run against most recent web browsers.

#02 JMeter

It is also an open-source load testing tool to measure websites’ performance. This load testing tool can be utilised in the DevOps technique.

JMeter allows doing load and performance tests for multiple server types. It also loads a testing tool that saves its test plans in XML format, which will enable users to construct the test plan using a text editor. In addition, the programme can be used to do automated and functional testing of the apps.

#03 SoapUI

It is a test automation tool for especially functional, web services, security, and load testing. Built explicitly for API testing, SoapUI supports both REST and SOAP services. SoapUI provides drag and drops capabilities for generating test suites, test steps and test requests to design complicated test scenarios without writing scripts.

#04 Jenkins

It is an open-source DevOps testing tool that can automate many operations such as building, testing, and delivering software. It helps in the testing that allows developers to quickly detect and address flaws in their codebase to automate testing of their builds.

In addition, it provides outstanding assistance to scale out to a significant number of nodes and spread the burden equitably. It is compatible with any OS and Linux, Mac OS, or Windows versions.

It also allows straightforward installation as Jenkins comes as a WAR file. All users need to place WAR into your JEE container, and you are setting up ready to start. Moreover, Jenkins may be ready to set up and adjust with the help of its online interface.

#05 Cucumber

It is an open-source software testing tool built in Ruby. Cucumber enables you to write test cases that anyone may easily understand regardless of their technical skills.

It emphasises defining ‘behaviour’ rather than establishing ‘tests’ and increases communication among a cross-functional product team. It also helps to reach a wider audience via non-technical terminology. Finally, cucumber will assist you in understanding how the system should perform from the developer’s and customer’s perspectives.

#06 TestComplete

TestComplete is a robust and complete collection of mobile and web app testing tools. Moreover, to have an easy-to-use record and playback function, TestComplete allows testers to utilize JavaScript, VBScript, Python, or C++Script to develop test scripts. 

In addition, the tool contains an object recognition engine that can accurately recognise dynamic user interface elements, making it extremely useful in applications with dynamic and regularly changing user interfaces.

#07 Maven

It is the latest build testing tool with various new features compared to Ant, such as dependence, etc. It is a project build or management tool. Maven is used to check the compilation difficulties amongst framework components whenever various test engineer integrates their files into the same framework.

It always maintains the monitor, framework components, or build, and it offers to make a status modification whenever alteration happens in the framework. Maven offers new capabilities like dependency, which is used to download the dependent jar from the internet before the test execution.

With the help of Maven, we can perform the test scripts in the command line without an eclipse. And it constantly supplies the framework folder structure.

#08 Appium

Appium is again an open-source automation solution for mobile applications. It is one of the most excellent testing tools in DevOps that allows users to test every kind of native, mobile, web, and hybrid apps. It also supports automated tests on emulators and simulators. Appium is actively utilised in the DevOps process.

It has a quick setup process and is a simple application that uses very little memory of the test process. Therefore, testing Native apps does not need an SDK. Instead, it offers standard automation APIs that may be utilised for all platforms.

#09 Bamboo

It is a CI/CD server from Atlassian. And like Jenkins and many other CI/CD servers, Bamboo also allows developers to automatically produce, integrate, test, and deploy source code. Bamboo is intimately connected with other Atlassian products such as HipChat for team communication and Jira for project management.

Unlike Jenkins, a completely free and open-source automation tool, Bamboo is commercial software connected out of the box with other Atlassian products such as Bitbucket, Jira, and Confluence.

Read also: Codeless Automation Testing: Getting Started

Developing The Right DevOps Testing Strategy

A practical DevOps testing approach is targeted at producing, testing and deploying software faster and more frequently. If you’re lucky enough to start in a “greenfield” firm without an established coding culture, it’s a good idea to try to develop and automate your software delivery pipeline upfront. So, for example, suppose you’re successful out-of-the-gate in creating a Continuous Delivery DevOps pipeline. 

In that case, you will serve the higher-quality softwares to your users and customers faster than your competitors, which will make your business much more competitive. As a result, you will rapidly fulfil the business demand and change according to the market needs.

If you are building a DevOps strategy for an existing organisation, you start relying on your current development and testing processes and the bottlenecks in your software delivery process. These bottlenecks could include inefficient, error-prone manual processes and poor-quality, big-bang rollouts that fail production, resulting in furious users.

There are several approaches to acquire a handle on the present state of your deployment procedures, including employing workflow visualisation tools like flowcharts and business process maps to assess and comprehend your existing delivery processes. A Kanban board is the most straightforward visual process management tool you can use to help make these decisions.

Like the one illustrated below, Kanban boards are generally simple sticky notes on a whiteboard to indicate project status, progress, and other issues.

Conclusion

DevOps is an increasingly prominent methodology that integrates developers and operators into a unified entity. It’s notably differentiated from traditional IT operations and complements (but is not the same as) agile.

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