A Guide To DevOps and Software Architecture
DevOps is all the rage, even if you know a little bit about technology, you might have heard of it. If we looked back 10 or 20 years ago, development teams were struggling to get software into production with lots of mutual steps. With continuous regression, integration, delivery, and all the other DevOps stuff, a lot of software development has been automated and optimized for faster.
The constant evolution of software architecture poses new challenges, however. DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) states that software architecture is a set of capabilities that leads to better organizational performance and software delivery. Whether you are using mainframes or Kubernetes, architecture is the key that allows developers to adopt practices that foster high-quality software deliveries.
In this blog, we will discuss the evolution of software architecture, the rise of DevOps, and how one can manage complexity in software development architecture. So let’s get started.
Evolution in Software Architecture
Over the last decade, the scope of software engineering has advanced to offer more perspective and responsibility. Architecture and operations used to have a formal, contractual relationship with lots of bureaucracy a decade ago. Nowadays, architectures like microservices can freely use ex solely operational concerns.
Although at the initial state, there were no proper definitions for software architecture, where some architects refer to it as a blueprint of the system and others identify it as the system growth roadmap.
As stated in Neil Ford and Mark Richards’ book “Software Architecture Fundamentals”, Software architecture comprises four elements, architecture decision, software structure, design principle, and architecture characteristics.
Moving on, we will cover the structural evolution of software architecture.
A monolithic architecture is a single-tiered, traditional, unified architecture for designing a software application. In context, monolithic refers to “composed all in one”, “unable to change”, and “too large”. Monolithic applications are self-contained, complex, and tightly coupled. It is simple to develop, deploy, test, and scale horizontally.
However, maintaining such a large application is difficult and its size can slow down the time to start up. Even a small update, requires redeploying the entire application, and scaling modules with conflicting resource requirements can also become challenging. Not only that it is unreliable and can have difficulty in advancing and adopting new tools and technologies.
Service Oriented Architecture (SOA)
Service Oriented Architecture is a software designing architecture where services are given to other components by application through a network communication protocol. SOA integrates separately maintained, distributed, and deployed components of the application. It supports service orientation, where a service is a distinct functionality unit that can be accessed, acted upon, and updated remotely. SOA defines a way to make the components of the software application interoperable and reusable through service interfaces.
Service Oriented Architecture provides better agility, leverages legacy functionalities, and improved IT and business collaboration leading to faster time to market. Moreover, it is easier to maintain, has the same directory structure, is scalable, reliable, platform-independent, and prevents developers from creating the same functions from scratch.
Although SOA has solved 60% of the problems in software architecture, it has a huge dependency on the shared database and increased response time due to multiple services interacting with the validation of all input parameters that increase the load on the system.
Microservices architecture arises as a solution to several problems developers had to face in Monolithic architecture. It gained popularity with the emergence of cloud computing, Agile development methods, virtualization, and DevOps.
Microservice architecture is an approach to structuring an application as a collection of services that are loosely coupled, independently deployable, highly testable and maintainable, owned by a small team, and organized around one’s business needs. It allows developers to make rapid, reliable, and frequent delivery of complex and large applications. Moreover, it allows developers to adapt and evolve according to the new technology stack.
However, keep in mind that there is no silver bullet for all the problems and there might be several issues you will have to address while using Microservices as a system development architecture.
Having learned the basics of software architecture, let's move on to DevOps.
The Rise of DevOps
For years, developers and operators had different goals. On one hand, developers (Devs) tried to push new functionalities and features into the software application, while Operators (Ops) were responsible for maintaining the availability and dependability of the application.
The core aim of DevOps is to achieve both high-frequency releases of new features and dependability by promoting shared responsibility and collaboration between Dev and Ops teams.
By definition, DevOps is a set of practices that helps in reducing the time between committing changes to the system and changes being placed into the production environment, while maintaining software quality.
The practices that are used in DevOps to minimize risk and balancing time-to-market are:
Including operations as a customer and partner in development, "a first-class stakeholder". Knowing and satisfying the requirements associated with deployment, monitoring, and security.
Indulging developers to handle errors and incidents. Developers should take code responsibility and make sure it is working as expected helping first stakeholders to investigate and solve production issues.
Each development team should have a "reliability engineer" responsible for coordinating changes downstream with operations and making sure that changes are successfully deployed.
Deployment pipelines ensure that all changes to code and configuration are automated, traceable, and repeatable.
By using these pipelines, maximize the velocity of delivery by continuously deploying changes from check-in to production.
Infrastructure as Code (IaC). Operations provisioning and configuration using software, with the same quality control practices, that is versioning, testing, and reviewing, as application software.
In a DevOps model, the development team and operation teams are not separated and are sometimes merged into a single team where engineers work throughout the application development lifecycle, from development to deployment to operations.
An alternative DevOps model where quality and security teams also become tightly integrated with the DevOps team in the software development lifecycle is referred to as DevSecOps.
Using the DevOps model, the development and operations team together can move at high velocity, provide rapid delivery, make the application more reliable by monitoring and logging, increase security, enhance collaboration, and scale infrastructure and development processes with ease.
Incorporating DevOps into Software Development
The core concepts of development and management will be the same. However, the technology stack will change depending upon the audience, internal/external requirements, and platform.
Some of the areas that you need to consider while creating a DevOps pipeline for software development include Version Control System, automation, and deployment strategy.
It can be described as the process of logging and managing any changes to source code of the software application. Technologies like code repositories like GitLab, Bitbucket, and Git make it easier to manage the source code.
With the acceleration of the development environment, version control systems help developers and operations teams to work smarter and faster while reducing development time and increasing deployment success.
Version control system also keeps track of each change made in the code so that if someone had made a mistake, changes could be rolled back easily to fix the mistake and minimize disruptions.
Put simply, version control systems reduce code conflicts, allow easy rollbacks to prior versions of the application, and improve development efficiency and visibility.
Another major consideration in integrating DevOps in software development is automation. The DevOps team needs to automate different tasks that are repetitive and continuously lookout for new tasks that can be automated.
With automation, human errors can be minimized, frees developers to focus on other crucial tasks, and saves a lot of time spent on repetitive manual tasks.
The next thing to consider is the deployment strategy. The deployment stage in DevOps is focused on high scalable and available cloud infrastructure. A deployment strategy is a way to upgrade or change an application without downtime. Among the six deployment strategies (basic, multi-service, rolling, blue-green, canary, and A/B testing) blue-green deployment strategies is the most used one. However, you can go for the one that is most suitable for your application development.
In short, a version control system, automated pipeline, and strong deployment strategy can help a business in building a pipeline that completely includes all system development life cycle stages.
DevOps & Microservices Architecture Better Together
Architectures based on microservices introduce change, which is often well received by those building modern applications. The result is increased productivity and the ability to provide solutions to those who request scalable and flexible applications quickly. Developers and operations professionals in DevOps fields can benefit from microservices in the following ways:
Availability: Releasing or updating a new version of the microservices-based applications requires just a bit of downtime, however, in the case of monolithic it requires redeployment of the entire application making it difficult to achieve project goals on time.
Deployability: The increased agility that microservices offers adds the capability of the system to roll out new changes of a service. This agility in microservices is because of shorter build, deploy, and test cycles. It also adds flexibility in the service security, persistence, monitoring, and replication of the application.
Scalability: Scaling microservices is made possible by using pools, clusters, and grids. Due to this characteristic, microservices are well suited for deployment in the cloud.
Reliability: Whenever there is an error or bug in the microservices application, it only affects a certain service that is independent of other services making it the suitable solution for the DevOps team.
Management: In microservices, application development is divided between smaller and more independent teams using agile methods making it easy to manage.
Modifiability: The flexibility of microservices allows integration of new frameworks, libraries, data sources, and other resources. Microservices, because of their loosely coupled structure and modularity, are easy to work with. It also supports dynamic discovery and binding over a registry.
Embracing a common toolset for development and operations, microservices improve DevOps productivity. By using the same set of tools, developers can establish common terminology, processes, dependencies, and problems. In turn, this simplifies collaboration between developers and operations, allowing these entities to work together on a problem and successfully fix a build configuration or build script. Combined, microservices and DevOps improve performance and accuracy.
In simple terms, microservices are tailor-made architecture solutions for DevOps that offer services-based ways to divide a large and complex application into smaller independent services, allowing delivery teams to handle these services as separate entities. That ultimately makes it easier to develop, test, and deploy applications.
The core purpose of microservices in DevOps consists of process streamlining, increased quality and productivity of the application while moving it to a flexible architecture. This leads to development of a cloud-native app that can fulfill user demands quickly.
So that was all we were going to share with you in this blog, and we hope it will be useful for you as a developer and business owner. In case you have any queries or want to hire developers from us, then get in touch with our experts now!