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How to level up your DevOps toolkit

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DevOps transformation series: part four

In this blog series, we’re taking a deeper dive into DevOps, with top tips for how to empower your people, carve out a new culture, and improve fundamental processes. In this final part, we’re focusing on tools – why they don’t work in isolation and what types of tech you’ll need to consider.

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Time to tool up

DevOps demands a lot from its tools. They need to be reliable, resilient, and capable of high performance round the clock to support collaborative working. While tools alone aren’t enough to kickstart DevOps – a unified culture and powerful process improvements must be adopted too – they enable consistent performance across your organisation as you scale.

Tools that support collaboration and automation, keep context-switching under control, encourage visibility, and make monitoring more effective are essential components of your DevOps toolkit. It’s worth weighing up the pros and cons of an all-in-one solution that takes care of your needs in one place versus an open toolchain to integrate third-party tools and pick and choose what’s right for your teams.

You want tools that will work seamlessly with your new DevOps processes – from planning and building to Continuous Integration and Delivery, metrics, operations and feedback. New DevOps tools are becoming available all the time, so rather than recommend specifics, we’ve put a few key thoughts together to help guide your decision-making.

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Get stuck into DevOps

If this sounds like the ideal anecdote to your DevOps dilemmas, take a look at our eBook: Approach to DevOps Transformation.

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Top toolkit talking points

1. Superpower your planning

Project tools like Jira, Confluence, and Slack make it much easier to gather feedback and organise it into actionable outputs. Integration features means you can convert user stories into your backlog. And with all team members able to access information from the same source, sharing and commenting on progress is simple too.

2. Keep code collaborative

Store your code in chains for better visibility with collaborative coding tools like Bitbucket and GitLab. You’ll want functionality that lets you initiate pull requests, so you can tell your team about changes you’ve pushed, speed up peer reviews, and get your code in the mainline more quickly. 

3. Embrace a continuous approach 

Shared repositories that let you check code as often as you need are a must to make Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) a breeze. Get everyone on the same page with a production-identical environment, and communicate team feedback with real-time chat alerts Built-into the platform.

4. Enable automatic advancements

Automatic testing takes the effort off your shoulders, speeding up development, reducing risk, and ensuring efficiency. Look for wallboards, so everyone has visibility over results, and testing tools that can analyse data and produce reports. They’ll empower your teams to identify problems before they progress. 

5. Discover better deployment

A number of tools are designed to help bring automation to deployment  – GitLab, Bamboo Server, and Microsoft Visual Studio to name a few. Above all, you’ll need to follow engineering best practice, deploying lowest-level environments first before replicating up to production. 

6. Make monitoring work to your advantage

Ongoing monitoring that lets you continuously record data will help you better understand your software’s health. These tools should integrate with your group chat and development platforms so everything is stored in the same system, speeding up problem identification and resolution.

7. Foolproof feedback loops

Your toolkit should support continuous feedback and access for everyone as well as help deliver insight. Dashboards that integrate with your code repository and deployment tools are ideal to keep information together and pre-release stress to a minimum.

8. Sure up your security strategy

The term ‘DevSecOps’ emphasises the importance of security and how it should play an integrated role in your initiatives. That means built-in (not end-of-development) security that’s part-automated and offers minimal disruption to operations. Consider an integrated development environment, and cloud-native technologies like containers and microservers. 

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A trusty toolkit

With so much choice, take a step back to figure out what will work best for your teams. Don’t necessarily go for what feels SAFe® and comfortable – what you’re used to might be counterintuitive to transformation. And don’t be greedy either – too much technology can lead to apathy from your people, a blown budget, and some tools you probably don’t even need. Investing time in building the right toolkit will put you ahead of your competitors and help make DevOps a reality.

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Don’t do it alone

DevOps is centered around the continuous improvement of software, but it’s not all about tools and tech – it requires an organisation-wide adoption of the principles and practices outlined in this blog series. Keep in mind that DevOps is designed to benefit the customer by helping organisations strive for greatness.

As you increase the reliability, stability, and security of your products, you’ll need to ask: 

  • Do we build up or buy in the skills we need?
  • What processes do we need to put in place?
  • Does our workplace culture support DevOps processes?
  • Which tools will help rather than hinder our digital transformation?

These are big decisions, and for many it makes sense to seek the advice of experts before taking a big leap. At Adaptavist, we help you stay ahead of the digital transformation game with our DevOps solutions. Our strong and dedicated team combines the right mix of strategic-led consultancy and technology-led solutions that place people, process, and tools at the heart of your business strategy.

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Discover more DevOps

To read our wider take, download the free eBook Approach to DevOps Transformation here, or contact us to find out how we can help you take that next step.

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About the authors

Jobin Kuruvilla

Jobin Kuruvilla

Jobin Kuruvilla is a DevOps subject matter expert, and an experienced solutions expert and App developer. Jobin has several certifications under his belt, including Atlassian products, GitLab certified PSE, AWS, Kubernetes, Jenkins to name a few, and has spearheaded implementing Digital Transformation for teams and enterprises.