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What is DevOps Life Cycle | Key Components & Phases with Examples?

April 1, 2024Anshita Bhasin
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DevOps life cycle Phases Explained with Example
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The DevOps life cycle is a comprehensive approach that combines development and operations practices to streamline and optimize the software delivery process.

It encompasses various phases, including planning, coding, testing, deployment, monitoring, and feedback. 

By integrating these traditionally separate disciplines, DevOps promotes collaboration, agility, and continuous improvement, allowing organizations to deliver high-quality software more efficiently and effectively.

For Example, In the planning phase within the DevOps lifecycle, teams diligently define project requirements and prioritize tasks to lay a robust foundation for success. 

On the other hand,  in the deployment phase, the utilization of automated tools ensures the smooth and consistent release of software updates, eliminating potential bottlenecks. 

By integrating these traditionally separate disciplines, DevOps promotes collaboration, agility, and continuous improvement, allowing organizations to deliver high-quality software more efficiently and effectively.

What Is DevOps Life Cycle?

The DevOps lifecycle is an iterative and collaborative process that integrates automation and feedback to deliver high-quality software, tailored to meet business and user requirements. 

This lifecycle consists of distinct phases, including planning, coding, testing, deployment, monitoring, and feedback.

By adhering to these phases and adopting suitable tools and practices, teams can optimize their development and delivery workflows, resulting in accelerated time-to-market and exceptional application quality.

Through the seamless integration of individuals, processes, and tools, organizations can cultivate a conducive environment for efficient software development and deployment, culminating in swifter, more reliable, and superior software products.

What are the Different Devops Life Cycle Phases?

The DevOps life cycle revolutionizes the end-to-end development processes, fostering continuous improvement and enabling organizations to achieve faster delivery timelines. This transformative journey consists of seven key stages that shape the software development and delivery landscape.

DevOps life cycle Phases
  • Plan

In this phase, the team collaborates with the business stakeholders to define the requirements for the project and identify the features that will be delivered.

The goal is to clearly understand the needs and expectations of the stakeholders.

This phase involves creating a roadmap, defining milestones, and setting project goals. An example of this phase in action could be a team using a project management tool like Jira to create a backlog of user stories and tasks.

  • Code

In this phase, the development team creates the code for the application. This involves using best practices to write high-quality, maintainable code that can be easily tested. 

The team may use a version control system like Git to manage the codebase. An example of this phase in action could be a team using an integrated development environment (IDE) like Visual Studio Code/ Eclipse to write and debug code.

  • Build

In this phase, the code is compiled and built into executable binaries or packages. This phase includes tasks such as compiling code, running unit tests, and packaging the application. 

An example of this phase in action could be a team using a tool like Jenkins / GitLab to automate the build process, ensuring that code changes are integrated and tested regularly

  • Test

In this phase, the application is tested to ensure that it meets the quality standards and requirements. This includes testing at various levels, such as unit tests, integration tests, and acceptance tests. 

An example of this phase in action could be a team using a test automation tool/ platforms like TestSigma/Selenium/Playwright/Cypress to run automated tests for the web application

  • Release

In this phase, the application code undergoes a final check for production readiness. If all requirements are met and any identified issues are resolved, the project proceeds to the deployment phase.

By conducting thorough testing, quality assurance, and preparation activities, organizations can ensure that the released application meets quality standards and is ready for end-users to utilize.   

An example of this phase in action could be a team using Jenkins / Bamboo that automates the entire release process.

  • Deploy

In this phase, the application is deployed to the desired environment which can be stage, UAT or production environment. This involves setting up the infrastructure, configuring the environment, and deploying the application code. 

An example of this phase in action could be a team using a deployment automation tool like Ansible / Chef to deploy the application across different environments.

Additionally, tools like Kubernetes and Docker are used to establish Continuous deployment pipelines for containerization and orchestration

  • Operate

In this phase, the application is monitored and maintained in the production environment. Operations teams monitor the application’s performance, availability, and security, and respond to any incidents or issues that arise

An example of this phase in action could be a team using monitoring tools like Nagios, Prometheus, and ELK stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana) to help in monitoring and logging application metrics and logs.

  • Monitor

In this phase, the application is monitored and maintained in the production environment. This includes tasks such as monitoring performance, tracking user behavior, and troubleshooting issues. 

Monitoring tools like Grafana, Datadog, and ELK stack (Elasticsearch, Logstash, Kibana) provide visualizations, alerts, and dashboards for proactive monitoring and troubleshooting.

DevOps Life Cycle: Key Components

The DevOps lifecycle transforms and optimizes the entire process of software development, making it more efficient and effective.

It creates a culture of constant improvement and focuses on delivering software faster and better. This journey consists of seven essential stages that work together to achieve these goals.

DevOps life cycle - Key Components

Continuous development

This is the crucial phase of the DevOps lifecycle that focuses on project planning,coding and continuous software development.

During this phase, project goals are defined based on the stakeholders’ input and the development team starts coding the application, making ongoing modifications as needed.

When it comes to planning in the DevOps lifecycle, there are no specific tools that are required. However, for effective code maintenance, the development team relies on various version control tools. Some commonly used tools for version control include GitLab, Git, TFS , SVN (Subversion), Mercurial, Jira, BitBucket, Confluence, and Subversion.

Among the mentioned tools, Git is particularly the most popular choice for managing complex projects and facilitating seamless collaboration between teams during the development process. It plays a crucial role in ensuring efficient code management and effective team coordination, ultimately leading to successful project outcomes.

Git enables developers to collaborate, track changes, and manage different versions of their codebase seamlessly. It allows for efficient branching and merging, ensuring smooth integration of new features and bug fixes into the main codebase. With Git, developers can work concurrently on different tasks, maintain a history of changes, and easily roll back to previous versions if needed. 

This makes Git an indispensable tool for teams practicing Continuous Development, as it facilitates the continuous integration and deployment of code changes in an organized and controlled manner.

Continuous integration

Continuous integration is a critical phase in the DevOps lifecycle where the focus is on incorporating updated code and new functionalities into the existing codebase. It involves frequent commits and testing at every step to ensure early detection and resolution of any issues. 

Tools like Jenkins are commonly used to facilitate this process by fetching and building the updated code, enabling seamless integration within the system.

It enables teams to integrate code changes frequently, detect issues early, and ensure the software is consistently built and tested across different environments.

This phase plays a central role in ensuring that the software evolves continuously and aligns with the end-users’ requirements.

Continuous testing

The continuous testing phase focuses on ongoing and iterative testing throughout the software development process to identify and address any defects, bugs, or errors that may have been introduced during development or integration.

It involves the continuous evaluation of the software to ensure its quality and reliability.

In continuous testing, Docker containers are utilized to simulate the entire test environment. Docker containers are self-contained packages that include all the necessary components, such as system tools, libraries, runtime code, and configurations, making it easier to replicate the testing environment.

In continuous testing, various testing techniques, methodologies, and tools are employed to ensure the quality and reliability of the software.

Automation tools like JUnit, Selenium, Testsgima, Cypress,Playwright and others are often used to automate the execution of test cases, resulting in faster and more efficient testing. 

Example, You can automate the test cases using Testsigma/Selenium/Cypress and these cases can be run regularly, triggered by code changes or system updates, providing rapid feedback and enabling quick bug detection and resolution.

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Continuous deployment

The continuous deployment phase is a critical and dynamic stage in the DevOps lifecycle, where the final code is released to production servers.

It ensures that code changes are rapidly and reliably deployed to production servers, allowing for frequent releases and continuous improvement.

In the continuous deployment phase, the code goes through a series of automated tests to ensure its quality and stability. These tests include unit tests, integration tests, and end-to-end tests, among others. 

This phase brings several benefits to organizations as It accelerates the time to market, allowing for faster delivery of new features and bug fixes. It also enhances collaboration between development and operations teams, promoting a culture of shared responsibility and continuous improvement. By automating the deployment process, organizations can minimize downtime, reduce the risk of failures, and achieve a more efficient and reliable software release cycle.

For Example: In fast-moving companies like Amazon and Meta ,a continuous deployment approach is followed to ensure rapid and frequent releases of code to production environments. This approach involves a highly automated and streamlined process that allows for multiple deployments in a single day.

After the code is developed, it undergoes thorough testing, including unit tests, integration tests, and automated scripts. These tests are designed to validate the functionality, performance, and reliability of the code. Once the code passes all the tests, it is ready for deployment.

Continuous monitoring

This phase ensures the smooth functioning and performance of the application. It involves continuous monitoring of the application’s features and functionality to detect any system faults or performance issues, such as low memory or non-reachable servers. By closely monitoring the application, the IT staff can swiftly identify any performance issues and determine their underlying causes.

During this phase, security vulnerabilities can also be automatically recognized and addressed. This helps maintain the security and availability of the service.

It allows developers to identify patterns and areas where additional effort is needed. System errors, such as server unavailability or low memory, are resolved in this phase, ensuring the availability and reliability of the service.

Various monitoring tools like Datadog, Splunk, Sensu are utilized by the operations team to monitor user activities and detect improper behavior. This proactive monitoring approach helps enhance the system’s reliability, productivity, and reduces maintenance costs. Major issues are reported directly to the development team for quick resolution, leading to faster issue resolution and improved overall performance.

Continuous feedback

Continuous feedback is an integral part of the DevOps life cycle, serving as a crucial link between the operations and development phases. It enables the ongoing analysis and improvement of the application throughout its lifecycle.

In this phase, customer behavior and input are consistently assessed to obtain valuable insights. This feedback serves multiple purposes, including identifying areas that require improvement, addressing user concerns, and enhancing the overall quality of the application.

This feedback loop is established through various channels, including surveys, questionnaires, user interviews, and social media platforms.

By actively engaging with users and incorporating their feedback, businesses can continuously iterate and enhance their applications. 

This iterative process ensures that the application remains relevant, user-friendly, and responsive to evolving user requirements. The continuous feedback loop is an integral part of the DevOps life cycle, enabling a collaborative and customer-centric approach to software development.

Continuous operations

It is the final key component of Devops Life Cycle which focuses on automating release processes, improving software quality, and reducing downtime.

By implementing continuous operations, organizations can shorten development cycles and constantly promote and market their products, leading to faster time-to-market. DevOps practices enhance software products, making them more efficient and appealing to new customers.

The primary objective of continuous operations is to maximize application uptime and ensure uninterrupted services. By saving time through automation, developers can accelerate the application’s time-to-market and deliver value to customers more efficiently.

Best Practices for the DevOps Life Cycle

Below are some of the best practices for good execution of the devops lifecycle. 

  • Foster a culture of collaboration and effective communication between development, operations, and other teams involved in the software delivery process. Encourage regular meetings, cross-functional collaboration, and the use of collaboration tools to ensure everyone is aligned and working towards common goals.
  • Use agile methodologies and techniques such as user stories, backlog management, and sprint planning to prioritize and track work.
  • Implement code review processes to ensure code quality, promote knowledge sharing, and identify potential issues.
  • Automate testing wherever possible to ensure efficient and reliable test execution.
  • Use testing frameworks and tools like Testsigma, Selenium, JUnit, Postman to automate and manage tests.
  • Implement Continuous Integration and Delivery: Establish robust CI/CD pipelines that automate the build, testing, and deployment processes. Continuously integrate code changes, perform automated testing, and aim for frequent and smaller releases to minimize risk and ensure faster feedback loops.
  • Invest in Continuous Monitoring and Feedback: Implement a comprehensive monitoring system to gain insights into application performance, user behavior, and system health. Leverage monitoring tools and analytics to detect issues, identify areas for improvement, and gather feedback from end-users.
  • Encourage Learning and Continuous Improvement: Promote a culture of learning, experimentation, and continuous improvement. Encourage teams to share knowledge, attend industry events, participate in training programs, and experiment with new tools and technologies.
  • Encourage Cross-Team Collaboration: Collaboration should extend beyond development and operations teams. Involve other stakeholders, such as QA, security, and product management, in the DevOps process to foster a holistic approach and ensure shared ownership of the software delivery lifecycle.

Benefits of the DevOps Life Cycle

Adopting the DevOps lifecycle helps organizations achieve several benefits that ultimately contribute to faster and more reliable software delivery, improved quality, and increased efficiency. Here’s a summary of the key benefits:

  • DevOps enables organizations to accelerate the software delivery process, reducing time to market and ensuring higher-quality releases.
  • DevOps practices, such as continuous monitoring and automation, help identify and resolve issues more quickly, reducing complexity and downtime.
  • By adopting DevOps principles, organizations can easily scale their infrastructure and applications to meet increasing demands while maintaining high availability.
  • The DevOps lifecycle promotes stability through rigorous testing, automation, and continuous feedback, resulting in more stable and reliable production environments.
  • DevOps lifecycle emphasizes automation and efficient resource allocation, optimizing resource utilization and reducing human errors.
  • DevOps lifecycle emphasizes monitoring and analytics, providing organizations with enhanced visibility into system performance, user behavior, and other metrics.
  • DevOps lifecycle promotes a culture of continuous learning, experimentation, and innovation, enabling organizations to introduce new features and improvements rapidly.
  • The DevOps lifecycle covers various critical areas, including change management, testing, monitoring, and quality assurance, ensuring comprehensive and holistic software delivery

What is the DevOps workflow?

The devops workflow is a sequence of tasks that emphasizes agility, automation, and collaboration between development and operations. It involves continuous integration, continuous delivery, continuous deployment, and continuous monitoring. 

By following this workflow, organizations can experience benefits such as faster product delivery, faster issue resolution, greater scalability and availability, more stable operating environments, better resource utilization, greater automation, greater visibility into system outcomes, and greater innovation. These benefits contribute to improved software delivery, increased efficiency, and enhanced customer satisfaction.

Conclusion

In summary, the DevOps lifecycle is a continuous software development process that incorporates automated workflows and iterative development. It involves combining all the phases in an agile development sprint and leveraging DevOps toolchains to address key stages. 

By following the DevOps lifecycle, organizations can achieve continuous improvement, collaboration, and automation, leading to more efficient and reliable software delivery.

Suggested Readings

A Detailed Guide to DevTestOps

DevOps Test Automation 

Devops Principles: Benefits And How to Implement it? 

Why to Invest in DevOps Orchestration 

DevOps for Agile Teams

Why DevOps is Important for Modern Businesses

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