How to Gain Greater Value From DevOps

DevOps value stream continuous transformation

Content By Devops .com

DevOps is more than just deployment and management. Fully leveraging the DevOps team and their activities can actually enhance operations and improve customer satisfaction.

Be Proactive, Rather Than Reactive

Say you deploy a new version, encounter some problems and then react. What if you could stay at least a step or two ahead by becoming more proactive?

Check your metrics and look for trends. You can spot rises in error rates or latencies over time and identify problems just as they are bubbling up. Ideally, you’ll identify them when they are merely minor issues, not when you’re already required to hit the panic button or roll back. Looking ahead to see what’s around the corner puts you in a much better place.

Use Feedback to Improve Operations

While it’s true that investing time and resources to automate tasks, such as deployment, is a good thing, it’s even better to focus on another high-value DevOps activity—bringing insights from operations into your development pipeline.

Incorporating feedback and ideas into your processes puts you in a much better place, especially because there are already tools out there to help you do those deployments and other tasks pretty easily. For example, once you’ve packaged your application into a container, you just need to push a few buttons to set up automatic scaling, load balancing and routing. With all of that automated, you can focus on what’s really important—your application.

Track Customer Behavior

Here are two gems—both easy to set up and use, from the same GitHub author—that you can use to track your customers’ behavior, monitor usage and get better insights to improve operations.

Ahoy—Use this to track user visits to your web page to determine specific named events that you want to add to your code. You can do this from either the server side and a controller, from JavaScript, or via a simple API. It uses two tables that you can easily query, plus some smart built-in data visualization capabilities.
Blazer—Use this to gain visibility to your database by just adding a mount point to your routes file so that you can access the web application. It provides an easy interface to do SQL queries and show the results.

Check the Metrics Often

Once you get these tools set up, don’t stop there. Check the metrics—weekly if possible—and see what the trends are. Ask questions. The cool thing about operations—unlike engineering and writing software where you’re trying to solve one problem—is it’s not always well defined. You may not even know what questions to ask at first. However, diving into the metrics and seeing what patterns emerge from the use and events will not just benefit your customers, but also feed back into your development cycle. This empowers you to go back and reevaluate decisions made earlier on and learn where you should direct your attention and energy going forward.

Be sure to enhance your focus on where DevOps can actually take you. It’s not just about writing automation and deployment scripts. The synergy of analysis and software is the future of DevOps.

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