The never ending DevOps lifecycle

One of the most difficult concepts to wrap your head around has to be infinity. Perhaps imagining that anything can last forever is difficult because of our initial indoctrination to the “everything has a beginning and an ending” perspective. However, we must eventually either accept the notion of infinity—or at least pretend to—or else we would never pass calculus. 

When going through a digital transformation to the cloud, it is also best to accept the concept of infinity. Otherwise, it is possible to wrongly conclude that a static development is sufficient for avoiding security breaches and ever-evolving cloud security threats. Instead, as we explain in this article, security considerations should be inherent throughout your development and deployment. First, however, let’s take a closer look at the stages of the DevOps lifecycle.

Why DevOps?

Today, most people are aware of the tremendous impact software programs have on our lives. However, there are also some of us who can recall the days before terms like “computer,” “hardware,” “the cloud” or even “software” were common or even widely understood. In the early days of computing, program development was typically a linear process of coding/debugging⟹testing⟹deployment, performed by a single programmer. This structure, known as the software development life cycle (SDLC) was extended to accommodate more complex programs, integrated software architectures, and teams of developers, testers, and operators.

However, software development today requires integration with IT resources to:

  • Meet rollout demands most effectively
  • Provide a stable environment for operation
  • Promote and facilitate collaboration
  • Allow for innovation and improvements to be made 

This development operations, or DevOps, process is defined by seven stages known as the DevOps lifecycle. 

What is the DevOps Lifecycle? 

The DevOps Lifecycle is a series of phases or stages that define the DevOps software development process. The lifecycle is robust in that it is based upon the concept of continuity. In other words, optimal development only occurs when the process is continually refining and improving the software and the processes. This continuation is reflected throughout the lifecycle stages as discussed below. 

Lifecycle Stages of DevOps

The DevOps lifecycle consists of seven stages of development, each of which is continuous.

THE CONTINUOUS DEVOPS LIFECYCLE STAGES

1. Development The initial stage, which is also continuous, is where the program intent is defined and redefined. It is also where coding is done.
2. Integration This is the most important phase of DevOps. During this stage, the code is constantly being updated with new code and/or newly-tested code.
3. Testing Testing is also a continuous process As new bugs are found, they are corrected and the code is sent back through integration. Automation is used here for speed and several sections of code can be tested simultaneously by quality assessors (QAs).
4. Deployment Continuous deployment is maintained through a configuration management tool. This allows the software to remain available to users even while undergoing updates and changes.
5. Monitoring This stage is where IT becomes more involved as the program is monitored for errors and threats that need to be handled immediately or addressed by long-term changes to the code. 
6. Operations This phase consists of releasing the program and updates. The automated process is the shortest of the lifecycle.
7. Feedback Once new code is created and tested, the program is analyzed and evaluated both internally by the team and probably, more importantly, by end-users. This feedback may be used to make further improvements that require integration and testing.

The formalized software development structure above not only brings together programmers, application developers, test engineers, and IT professionals, but also maximally leverages automation to quickly deliver highly functional software with minimal errors. Over time, this continual process should deliver a bug-free application that meets its performance objectives. However, there is an important aspect of software development that is underrepresented in this DevOps lifecycle, which is discussed in the following section. 

How to Best Implement DevOps?

DevOps is an effective paradigm for developing software applications that rightly incorporates the concept of continuity. However, the DevOps lifecycle falls short in recognizing the importance of considering security at all stages. Transforming the process from DevOps to DevSecOps can help set the stage for optimal software development,

DevOps to DevSecOps

As is often the case with innovation, the advantages of success are often illuminated to such an extent that the costs of failures are overshadowed. As most enterprises are currently or plan to soon be operating in the cloud, security concerns require a greater level of consideration when developing software. What is required is good up-to-date cyber threat intelligence coupled with a DevSecOps roadmap to enhance your DevOps lifecycle process. Armed with this knowledge and an experienced consulting partner, you can implement a lean security intelligence (LS/IQ) platform to safely develop, deploy and operate your software. 

At New Context, we specialize in providing secure DevOps lifecycle services and will work with you to ensure your digital transformation is maximally secured from the ever-evolving threats in cyberspace. To get started, take our DevSecOps Scorecard and contact us for more information online, by email at info@newcontext.com, or call 1.888.773.8360.

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