Research from IDC suggests that enterprise organizations need to modernize more than half of their existing applications to improve business agility and reduce risk. Growing numbers of organizations are using DevOps tools and methodologies to facilitate modernization, but it remains a time-consuming and largely manual effort with excessive failure rates.
According to a recent study by Wakefield Research, modernization projects typically last 16 months and cost about $1.5 million — yet 79 percent fail to achieve their goals. The software architects surveyed said that the lack of AI-augmented automation tools is a leading cause of failure. Development teams are forced to rely on error-plagued manual processes to analyze and update millions of lines of code when refactoring a legacy app.
Automation helps DevOps teams reduce manual efforts, speed time to market, improve quality and increase agility. It improves feedback loops between operations and development teams to ensure that software is continuously tested, integrated and delivered by multiple people working together simultaneously. This enhanced collaboration reduces errors, increases security and allows teams to focus on more strategic tasks such as designing better user experiences and developing more innovative features.
Automating Build, Test and Deployment
Automation can be implemented throughout the DevOps lifecycle. Code building, testing, deployment, infrastructure provisioning, monitoring and logging are some of the processes that can be improved with automation. In the build stage, developers can write scripts to automate the process of retrieving code from a source code repository, compiling it into a binary artifact, testing its readiness for deployment and then publishing it to a shared development repository.
Automated testing is particularly helpful for moving code into production quickly. Traditionally, this has been a manual process in which analysts physically use the app to search for defects or issues that need to be fixed. Of course, any code changes or corrections then require another round of testing. All this creates significant bottlenecks that can radically delay updates. Automated testing saves developers time by running concurrent tests and validation exercises, including performance and configuration tests, security and vulnerability analyses, and regression tests to verify code changes haven’t adversely affected existing features.
After the testing stage, code is deployed to a production environment. This often requires coordination with other code releases to ensure the right code is deployed at the right time. Manual processes can result in critical errors such as deploying the wrong code, overwriting newer code or leaving old versions in production. Automated deployment eliminates such errors by enforcing release schedules and version verification capabilities.
The CI/CD Pipeline
A continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline helps inject automation throughout the development lifecycle. It is a full set of processes that support the frequent development of small, incremental code changes that are rapidly tested, added to a version-controlled repository and then automatically put into production.
The CI/CD pipeline also enables the use of containers for bundling applications, their dependencies, tools and scripts in lightweight and scalable packages that can run in any environment. This makes it easier for developers to build and deploy applications because all the necessary elements are packaged and ready to run.
Isolating pipeline processes within containers is another beneficial feature. For example, separating all testing tools and scripts from other processes eliminates the need to build dedicated test environments and helps ensure test results aren’t impacted by unrelated processes.
Increased DevOps automation delivers important benefits such as improved collaboration between development and operations teams, faster delivery cycles, increased scalability, improved security and reduced operational costs. By leveraging these benefits, businesses can ensure that their software modernization processes are running smoothly and efficiently.
February 16, 2023