Roadmap to IT Revolution: DevOps History | Appknox

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Ever since its ideation, everyone recognized that DevOps had some unique potential. But, who would have imagined back then that a simple turn of events would revolutionize the software development industry forever?

Through continuous innovation and development, DevOps has emerged to become a significant influence in the field of software development and deployment. With an idea that big, inquisitiveness about its history and evolution are also evident. So, let's take a glimpse at the DevOps history and how some critical factors like security have a major role to play in its development.

What is Traditional Waterfall Approach?

When it comes to app development, be it web or mobile, it is all about unimaginable complexities. The basic fundamentals like writing the code, testing it, then debugging, and later deployment are present almost every time.

All these responsibilities need a certain team of experts like developers, QA engineers, and system admins to carry them out too.

So, it’s like a well-defined hierarchy of labor where every team and its members have something different to focus on. Developers hustle hard to add as many features as they can. QA teams are stressed about working around flaws and making things work out.

System admins have their own woes of keeping the whole thing up and running smoothly at all times.

Everything seems to be subtle until some problem arises. Let us suppose an issue arises and a bug is found in the piece of code. The seemingly smooth development cycle will turn chaotic with questions like who would fix the erroneous piece of code and how soon things will be back on track.

Generally, if anything troubles the production servers or deployment, the admins are the first respondents. If the issue has something to do with the code, the task is passed on to the developers.

Now, it’s up to these coding ninjas to figure out a way to fix things and pass on the baton to the QA team for testing. After all this, the tested piece of code is sent back to the system administrators for deployment.

So, in such a workflow, even a tiny problem could create a substantial amount of mess. Moreover, as the number of new releases increases (which is the real case), the whole matter may turn disastrous. With an issue that is still unresolved and plenty of features scheduled to be released, things would surely go out of hand.

Situations like these often lead to differences across teams. They might even start the blame game. Everyone, starting from developers to system administrators, would think that it must be the others who started the whole mess.

On a psychological level, such a scenario often leads to distrust resulting from a prolonged gap in communication between teams. Such a conflict of interest turns the simple cycle of software development into a nightmare. As a result, businesses may lose a lot of money and valuable time

This is the traditional Waterfall approach of project management. What popularized in the 1970s as a seemingly disciplined and laid-out strategy of problem-solving, turned out to be ineffective in terms of flexibility and communication.

In modern times, with added issues like security, the world would definitely needs something more dynamic and flexible.

Evolution of Agile

The drawbacks of Waterfall led to businesses coming up with changes in their way of handling things. This slowly evolved to become what we know as the Agile methodology. It is believed that the term Agile software development was coined somewhere around 2001.

With Agile, projects could now be launched much faster with improved teamwork and better cross-functional abilities. Even working in more demanding and turbulent environments, the teams could now respond to changes better.

One major thing that separates Agile from other software approaches is that it focuses on the people doing the work. Everything revolves around constructive collaborations and practices are based on the situation at hand.

The self-organizing teams tend to focus on the needs of clients and there is plenty of room for changes throughout the process.

Something was Still Missing…

Agile was fine, but it couldn’t be labeled as perfect. Despite close collaborations, Agile still lacked on a few fronts. Mostly, developers had to handle most of the pressure and system admins had little room to contribute.

Moreover, due to a lack of proper documentation and rigorous commitments, projects could easily fall off track. Something had to come up and bridge all these gaps.

DevOps Origin as the New Ray of Hope

The history of DevOps is simple, yet revolutionary. The concept of DevOps emerged out of a discussion between Andrew Clay and Patrick Debois in 2008. They were concerned about the drawbacks of Agile and wanted to come up with something better.

The idea slowly began to spread and after the DevOpsDays event held in Belgium in 2009, it became quite a buzzword.

What is best about DevOps is that there is more to it than it seems. It’s not just an attempt at efficiency, it is a step toward cultural change. We can call it a blend of agile philosophy with lean thinking. DevOps unites the efforts of every team involved in the project and that too with tighter integration.

This cross-department integration between developers, QA engineers, and system admins is more amazing than it sounds.

DevOps implementation ensures that developers can now take part in deployment, admins can write scripts and QA engineers know how to figure out issues other than testing. Processes can be automated and no one has to wait as they can now work more closely and come up with quicker and better solutions.

Better communication and understanding would also help teams to recognize their priorities with each other. And all of these benefits of DevOps would mean skyrocketing productivity and swift delivery speeds.

Security in DevOps:

DevOps is better with security and security is better with DevOps. Yes, you heard it right. With DevOps, security gets to be introduced early in the development cycle and this minimizes risks massively. Integrating code analysis tools and automated tests earlier in the process can lead to better identification and elimination of security loopholes. And as the software gets to the deployment stage, everything works smoothly as anticipated.

Security is not an add-on. It’s a must-have design feature. Blending security in DevOps would not only enhance the impact of DevOps but also eliminate a lot of other bottlenecks that could arise otherwise. With a rise in the frequency of cyber threats and tightening regulations, adding security to DevOps is not a choice now, but certainly an obligation.

DevOps - Final Thoughts

DevOps is one logical change the IT industry needed badly. And, there is surely a lot the IT community could learn from the history of DevOps. It is not surprising that with more and more developments, its relevance is bound to increase in the future. We saw how security merged with DevOps could change the infosec industry forever.

The bridge that DevOps created between development and operations, has now evolved into a river of activity where everyone contributes positively. Although it’s not the key to all those vaults out there, it can still unlock a plethora of opportunities for the software development domain.

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Published on Oct 4, 2019
Harshit Agarwal
Written by Harshit Agarwal
Harshit Agarwal is the co-founder and CEO of Appknox, a mobile security suite that helps enterprises automate mobile security. Over the last decade, Harshit has worked with 500+ businesses ranging from top financial institutions to Fortune 100 companies, helping them enhance their security measures.
Beyond the tech world, Harshit loves adventure. When he's not busy making sure the digital realm is safe, he's out trekking and exploring new destinations.


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