DevOps – About


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DevOps (a clipped compound of “development” and “operations“) is a software engineering culture and practice that aims at unifying software development (Dev) and software operation (Ops). The main characteristic of the DevOps movement is to strongly advocate automation and monitoring at all steps of software construction, from integration, testing, releasing to deployment and infrastructure management. DevOps aims at shorter development cycles, increased deployment frequency, and more dependable releases, in close alignment with business objectives.

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Definitions and history

Venn diagram showing DevOps as the intersection of development (software engineering), operations and quality assurance (QA)

In 2009 Patrick Debois coined the term by naming a conference “devopsdays” which started in Belgium and has now spread to other countries.

The term DevOps has been used in multiple contexts.

A definition proposed by Bass, Weber, and Zhu, is:

DevOps is a set of practices intended to reduce the time between committing a change to a system and the change being placed into normal production, while ensuring high quality.

In recent years, more tangential DevOps initiatives have also evolved, such as OpsDev, WinOps, DevSecOps, and BizDevOps.


Illustration showing stages in a DevOps toolchain

Illustration showing stages in a DevOps toolchain

As DevOps is intended to be a cross-functional mode of working, rather than a single DevOps tool there are sets (or “toolchains“) of multiple tools. Such DevOps tools are expected to fit into one or more of these categories, reflective of key aspects of the development and delivery process:

  1. Code — code development and review, source code management tools, code merging
  2. Build — continuous integration tools, build status
  3. Test — continuous testing tools that provide feedback on business risks
  4. Package — artifact repository, application pre-deployment staging
  5. Release — change management, release approvals, release automation
  6. Configure — infrastructure configuration and management, Infrastructure as Code tools
  7. Monitor — applications performance monitoring, end–user experience

Note that there exist different interpretations of the DevOps toolchain (e.g. Plan, Create, Verify, Package, Release, Configure, and Monitor).

Some categories are more essential in a DevOps toolchain than others; especially continuous integration (e.g. Jenkins) and infrastructure as code (e.g. Puppet).

Relationship to other approaches


The need for DevOps arose from the increasing success of agile software development, as that led to organizations wanting to release their software faster and more frequently. As they sought to overcome the strain this put on their release management processes, they had to adopt patterns such as application release automation, continuous integration tools, and continuous delivery.

Continuous delivery

Continuous delivery and DevOps have common goals and are often used in conjunction, but there are subtle differences.

While continuous delivery is focused on automating the processes in software delivery, DevOps also focuses on the organization change to support great collaboration between the many functions involved.

DevOps and continuous delivery share a common background in agile methods and lean thinking: small and frequent changes with focused value to the end customer. They are well communicated and collaborated internally, thus helping achieve faster time to market, with reduced risks.


The application of continuous delivery and DevOps to data analytics has been termed DataOps. DataOps seeks to integrate data engineering, data integration, data quality, data security, and data privacy with operations. It applies principles from DevOps, Agile Development and the statistical process control, used in lean manufacturing, to improve the cycle time of extracting value from data analytics.

Site reliability engineering

In 2003, Google developed site reliability engineering, a new approach for releasing new features continuously into large-scale high-availability systems while maintaining high-quality end user experience. While SRE predates the development of DevOps, they are generally viewed as being related to each other. Some aspects of DevOps have taken a similar approach.

Systems administration

DevOps is often viewed as an approach to applying systems administration work to cloud technology.


The goals of DevOps span the entire delivery pipeline. They include:

  • Improved deployment frequency;
  • Faster time to market;
  • Lower failure rate of new releases;
  • Shortened lead time between fixes;
  • Faster mean time to recovery (in the event of a new release crashing or otherwise disabling the current system).

Simple processes become increasingly programmable and dynamic, using a DevOps approach. DevOps aims to maximize the predictability, efficiency, security, and maintainability of operational processes. Very often, automation supports this objective.

DevOps integration targets product delivery, continuous testing, quality testing, feature development, and maintenance releases in order to improve reliability and security and provide faster development and deployment cycles. Many of the ideas (and people) involved in DevOps came from the enterprise systems management and agile software development movements.

Views on the benefits claimed for DevOps

Companies that practice DevOps have reported significant benefits, including: significantly shorter time to market, improved customer satisfaction, better product quality, more reliable releases, improved productivity and efficiency, and the increased ability to build the right product by fast experimentation.

However, a study released in January 2017 by F5 of almost 2,200 IT executives and industry professionals found that only one in five surveyed think DevOps had a strategic impact on their organization despite rise in usage. The same study found that only 17% identified DevOps as key, well below software as a service (42%), big data (41%) and public cloud infrastructure as a service (39%).

Cultural change

DevOps initiatives can create cultural change in companies by transforming the way operations, developers, and testers collaborate during the development and delivery processes. Getting these groups to work cohesively is a critical challenge in enterprise DevOps adoption.

DevOps as a job title

While DevOps describes an approach to work rather than a distinct role (like system administrator), job advertisements are increasingly using terms like “DevOps Engineer“.

While DevOps reflects complex topics, the DevOps community uses analogies to communicate important concepts, much like “The Cathedral and the Bazaar” from the open source community.

  • Cattle not Pets: the paradigm of disposable server infrastructure.
  • 10 deployments per day: the story of Flickr adopting DevOps.

Building a DevOps culture

DevOps T-shirt worn at a computer conference.

DevOps principles demand strong interdepartmental communication—team-building and other employee engagement activities are often used—to create an environment that fosters this communication and cultural change, within an organization. Team–building activities can include board games, trust activities, and employee engagement seminars.


Companies with very frequent releases may require a DevOps awareness or orientation program. For example, the company that operates the image hosting website Flickr developed a DevOps approach, to support a business requirement of ten deployments per day; this daily deployment cycle would be much higher at organizations producing multi-focus or multi-function applications. This is referred to as continuous deployment or continuous delivery and has been associated with the lean startup methodology. Working groups, professional associations and blogs have formed on the topic since 2009.

Architecturally significant requirements

To practice DevOps effectively, software applications have to meet a set of architecturally significant requirements (ASRs), such as: deployability, modifiability, testability, and monitorability. These ASRs require a high priority and cannot be traded off lightly.

Although in principle it is possible to practice DevOps with any architectural style, the microservices architectural style is becoming the standard for building continuously deployed systems. Because the size of each service is small, it allows the architecture of an individual service to emerge through continuous refactoring, hence reducing the need for a big upfront design and allows for releasing the software early and continuously.

Scope of adoption

Some articles in the DevOps literature assume, or recommend, significant participation in DevOps initiatives from outside an organization’s IT department, e.g.: “DevOps is just the agile principle, taken to the full enterprise.”

A survey published in January 2016 by the SaaS cloud-computing company RightScale, DevOps adoption increased from 66 percent in 2015 to 74 percent in 2016. And among larger enterprise organizations, DevOps adoption is even higher — 81 percent.

Adoption of DevOps is being driven by many factors — including:

  1. Use of agile and other development processes and methods;
  2. Demand for an increased rate of production releases — from application and business unit stakeholders;
  3. Wide availability of virtualized and cloud infrastructure — from internal and external providers;
  4. Increased usage of data center automation and configuration management tools;
  5. Increased focus on test automation and continuous integration methods;
  6. A critical mass of publicly–available best practices.

DevOps automation

DevOps automation can be achieved by repackaging platforms, systems, and applications into reusable building blocks through the use of technologies such as virtual machines and containerization.

DevOps transformation

DevOps transformation is the process of transforming and adapting a software development methodology in accordance with agile development methods and extending this across the full organisation value stream.

See also


  1. Jump up ^ Loukides, Mike (7 June 2012). “What is DevOps?”.
  2. Jump up ^ Samovskiy, Dmitriy (2 March 2010). “The Rise of DevOps”. Fubaredness Is Contagious.
  3. Jump up ^ Kim, Gene. “DevOps Culture Part 1”.
  4. ^ Jump up to: a b Lyman, Jay. “DevOps mixing dev, ops, agile, cloud, open source and business”. 451 CAOS Theory.
  5. Jump up ^ Debois, Patrick. “Agile 2008 Toronto”. Just Enough Documented Information. Retrieved 12 March 2015.
  6. Jump up ^ Debois, Patrick. “DevOps Days”. DevOps Days. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  7. Jump up ^ “Surprise! Broad Agreement on the Definition of DevOps”.
  8. Jump up ^ Bass, Len; Weber, Ingo; Zhu, Liming. DevOps: A Software Architect’s Perspective. ISBN 978-0134049847.
  9. Jump up ^ Schitzer, Eran (Oct 2015). “DevOps Must Also Mean OpsDev”.
  10. Jump up ^ Weinberger, Matt (25 November 2014), Microsoft study finds everybody wants DevOps but Culture is a Challenge, Computerworld
  11. Jump up ^ Shoeb, Javed (21 June 2017). “Introducing BizDevOps – Why DevOps Doesn’t Work for Enterprise Applications”. Retrieved 21 June 2017.
  12. Jump up ^ Gartner Market Trends: DevOps – Not a Market, but Tool-Centric Philosophy That supports a Continuous Delivery Value Chain (Report). Gartner. 18 February 2015.
  13. Jump up ^ Edwards, Damon. “Integrating DevOps tools into a Service Delivery Platform”.
  14. Jump up ^ Seroter, Richard. “Exploring the ENTIRE DevOps Toolchain for (Cloud) Teams”.
  15. Jump up ^ Theakanath, Thomas. “DevOps Stack on a Shoestring Budget”.
  16. Jump up ^ “Stronger DevOps Culture with Puppet and Vagrant”. Puppet Labs. Retrieved 22 October 2015.
  17. ^ Jump up to: a b c Chen, Lianping (2015). “Continuous Delivery: Huge Benefits, but Challenges Too”. IEEE Software. 32 (2): 50–54. doi:10.1109/MS.2015.27.
  18. Jump up ^ Best Practices in Change, Configuration and Release Management (Report). Gartner. 14 July 2010.
  19. ^ Jump up to: a b Humble, Jez; Farley, David (2011). Continuous Delivery: reliable software releases through build, test, and deployment automation. Pearson Education Inc. ISBN 978-0-321-60191-9.
  20. Jump up ^ Hammond, Jeffrey (9 September 2011). “The Relationship between DevOps and Continuous Delivery”. Forrester Research. Forester.
  21. Jump up ^ Ambler, Scott W. (12 February 2014). “We need more Agile IT Now!”. Dr. Dobb’s The world of software Development. San Francisco: UBM.
  22. ^ Jump up to: a b Chen, Lianping (2018). Microservices: Architecting for Continuous Delivery and DevOps. The IEEE International Conference on Software Architecture (ICSA 2018). IEEE.
  23. Jump up ^ “From DevOps to DataOps, By Andy Palmer – Tamr Inc”. Tamr Inc. 7 May 2015. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  24. Jump up ^ DataKitchen (15 March 2017). “How to Become a Rising Star with Data Analytics”. data-ops. Retrieved 23 August 2017.
  25. Jump up ^ Beyer, Betsy; Jones, Chris; Petoff, Jennifer; Murphy, Niall Richard (April 2016). Site Reliability Engineering. O’Reilly Media. ISBN 978-1-4919-2909-4.
  26. Jump up ^ “SRE vs. DevOps — a False Distinction? –”. 18 May 2017.
  27. Jump up ^ Love DevOps? Wait until you meet SRE
  28. Jump up ^ “How to stay relevant in the DevOps era: A SysAdmin’s survival guide”.
  29. Jump up ^ “What is DevOps?”. Retrieved 21 October 2014.
  30. Jump up ^ Nasrat, Paul. “Agile Infrastructure”. InfoQ. Retrieved 31 March 2011.
  31. Jump up ^ Bourne, James (23 January 2017). “New research questions strategic importance of DevOps despite rise in usage”. CloudTech.
  32. Jump up ^ Emerging Technology Analysis: DevOps a Culture Shift, Not a Technology (Report). Gartner.
  33. Jump up ^ Loukides, Mike (11 June 2012). What is Devops?. Oreilly Media.
  34. Jump up ^ “Gartner IT Glossary – devops”. Gartner. Retrieved 30 October 2015.
  35. Jump up ^ Jones, Stephen; Noppen, Joost; Lettice, Fiona (21 July 2016). “Management challenges for DevOps adoption within UK SMEs”.
  36. Jump up ^ “Is DevOps a Title? –”. 20 March 2014. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  37. Jump up ^ “DevOps: A Job Title or a School of Thought?”. Monster Career Advice. Retrieved 22 July 2017.
  38. Jump up ^ “What are known useful and misleading memes in the DevOps culture?”. Retrieved 29 June 2017.
  39. Jump up ^ Sharwood, Simon. “Are Your Servers Pets or Cattle?”. The Register. Retrieved 2 July 2018.
  40. Jump up ^ Walls, Mandi (15 April 2013). “Building a DevOps Culture”. OReilly Media.
  41. Jump up ^ Roach, Patrick. “Dice Breakers: Using DevOps principles and nerdery to reimagine Team building”.
  42. Jump up ^ “10+ Deploys Per Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation at Flickr”.
  43. Jump up ^ “SAM SIG: Applied Lean Startup Ideas: Continuous Deployment at kaChing”. SVForum.
  44. Jump up ^ Humble, Jez. “Why Enterprises Must Adopt Devops to Enable Continuous Delivery”. Cutter IT Journal.
  45. Jump up ^ “Applied Lean Startup Ideas: Continuous Deployment at kaChing”.
  46. Jump up ^ “DevOps Days 2009 Conference”.
  47. Jump up ^ Edwards, Damon. “DevOps Meetup Recap”.
  48. Jump up ^ Chen, Lianping (2015). Towards Architecting for Continuous Delivery. The 12th Working IEEE/IFIP Conference on Software Architecture(WICSA 2015). Montréal, Canada: IEEE.
  49. Jump up ^ Chen, Lianping; Ali Babar, Muhammad (2014). Towards an Evidence-Based Understanding of Emergence of Architecture through Continuous Refactoring in Agile Software Development. The 11th Working IEEE/IFIP Conference on Software Architecture(WICSA 2014). IEEE.
  50. Jump up ^ “DevOps is Agile for the Rest of the Company”.
  51. Jump up ^ Harvey, Cynthia (9 January 2017). “10 Ways DevOps is Changing the Enterprise”. Datamation.
  52. Jump up ^ “Virtual Infrastructure products: features comparison”. Welcome to IT 2.0: Next Generation IT infrastructures.
  53. Jump up ^ Ellard, Jennifer. “Bringing Order to Chaos through Data Center Automation”. Information Management. SourceMedia. Archived from the original on 11 June 2010.
  54. Jump up ^ “Impact of DevOps on Testing”.
  55. Jump up ^ “Unleashing the Full Potential of Containerization for DevOps”. Unleashing the Full Potential of Containerization for DevOps. 20 September 2017. Retrieved 20 June 2018.
  56. Jump up ^ “Containers vs. virtual machines: A simplified answer to a complex question”.
  57. Jump up ^ “Is DevOps Transformation a Holy Grail? – DZone DevOps”.
  58. Jump up ^ “SMEs Can Benefit from DevOps, Too –”. 20 October 2017.

Further reading

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