Organizations throughout the globe have been working for years trying to find more efficient ways to remove the barriers hindering the speed at which computing services and applications are rolled out to market. These barriers often present challenges for how DevOps and monitoring work together.
Between the requirements-and-design phase, to planning and development, to testing, software projects can take between 4 to 9 months to complete depending on their size and complexity. While it may be easier to predict how unanticipated and avoidable delays affect revenue, the picture regarding their effect on monitoring may be a bit more opaque.
Start by defining what DevOps is
DevOps combines a set of practices and tools that automates and integrates the process of software development and IT operations teams such that they work as one to increase the speed and quality of software deployment.
Software application lifecycle
In this way, DevOps teams bypass traditional siloed development and operations methodologies by managing technology through one workstream — from planning to production to delivery. This is meant to avoid challenges created by miscommunication and disjointed production schedules that can result in slow release times and delays.
Essentially, the DevOps approach to software development is to encourage team empowerment, cross-team communication and collaboration, and technology automation. The resulting DevOps lifecycle should enable increased productivity, faster implementation of changes and provide several benefits to your organization:
- Accelerated time from production to delivery.
- Better stability and reliability of the production process and the resulting application.
- Faster time to recovery once issues are identified.
- Better collaboration between combined development and operations teams.
DevOps enables speedier monitoring delivery
By its nature as a collaborative venture, communication between the development and operations teams elevates the maturity of the monitoring release lifecycle by avoiding disruptions emanating from poor communication between the teams.
Traditional siloed teams are prone to fall into the type of communication gaps leading to black holes in monitoring, such as operations not being aware of upcoming releases and their potential impact, etc. The DevOps lifecycle, however, promotes a continuous feedback loop between both teams (DevOps and monitoring) leading to:
- Improved visibility
- More noise reduction
- Speedier monitoring delivery
Monitoring and DevOps issues to lookout for
Despite the benefits of an optimized workflow between DevOps and monitoring, the relationship between the two often presents a unique set of challenges that you should be on the lookout for and be prepared to offer useful remedies to avoid roadblocks. Here are a few issues to be aware of:
Establishing the wrong monitoring requirements
Oftentimes, development teams tend to assume operational requirements, while operations teams are more tasked (or concerned) with solutions needed for service and business users. If the wrong tools or personnel are second-guessed, it can result in a disconnect affecting monitoring, operations, integrations, and ultimately a disjointed organization affecting your customer base.
The way to avoid this from happening is to ensure all stakeholders are provided the tools necessary for clear communication and cross-team collaboration such that there is no question as to what they have to do to establish the deliverables needed to meet business requirements.
Inability to implement changes in monitoring
Dependencies created by DevOps teams can sometimes mean monitoring is not advancing or developing the way the organization would like it to. The result is often monitoring, operation and integration gaps as operations teams feel they have lost the autonomy to implement changes quickly and independently.
Ensure that the application and monitoring release lifecycles continue to work independently. For example, if a change to an application is the one reason for implementing changes in monitoring, there’s no need to create roadblocks to a process that is best managed separately.
Selecting the wrong monitoring tools or too many tools
Selecting monitoring tools based solely on the development team’s language preferences, without considering any operational or integration requirements can result in, you guessed it — the implementation of a toolset that isn’t fit for purpose at hand.
When you have multiple development teams, the problem can multiply, leaving you with multiple poorly selected tools and in poor tool value across the enterprise. You can prevent this by ensuring that monitoring tool selection is a cross-DevOps-function decision whereby all requirements are considered before implementation.
Forgetting to implement monitoring best practices
Monitoring solutions that are designed without input from all functions can lead to poor best practice decisions being made:
- How to interact with event management processes
- When to implement observability vs synthetic monitoring
- Collection or exception strategies
- AIOps vs configuration functionality
The impact of these poor practices can translate into poor monitoring solutions resulting in missed alerts and increased time-to-resolution — two common issues you can be sure to hear about from your customers.
Fix them by implementing cross-function collaboration. Make it clear to DevOps stakeholders of the importance of working together to provide input on requirements and establish the required deliverables.
What it takes to succeed
There are three surefire pathways you can take that should lead to monitoring benefits once you’ve implemented a DevOps strategy.
- Establish a new level of cultural maturity in your organization by implementing one set of collective results, goals, and rewards across your DevOps teams, in addition to shared criteria for accountability across teams.
- DevOps teams should adopt agile practices (if not already in place) to improve speed and quality. Agile is an iterative approach to project management and software development that helps teams break work into smaller pieces to deliver incremental value.
- Be aware that the implementation of company-wide operational changes can be a double-edged sword making it harder to adjust to said changes. Teams should be ready to put in the effort during transition to ensure business-critical functions continue to work during the process. With the right technology in place, these steps will be decisive factors giving you a competitive edge keeping your business up and running during the transition process.
Uptrends is always willing to share what we’ve learned from the monitoring solutions we’ve provided our clients. We know what works well and what doesn’t and are always willing to share what’s the best solution for your organization.
To learn more about how Uptrends can help with your DevOps and monitoring needs, don’t hesitate to contact us. We are here to help.