What is DevOps?

A compound of development (Dev) and operations (Ops), DevOps is the union of people, process, and technology to continually provide value to customers.

What does DevOps mean for teams? DevOps enables formerly siloed roles—development, IT operations, quality engineering, and security—to coordinate and collaborate to produce better, more reliable products. By adopting a DevOps culture along with DevOps practices and tools, teams gain the ability to better respond to customer needs, increase confidence in the applications they build, and achieve business goals faster.

DevOps and the application lifecycle

DevOps influences the application lifecycle throughout its plan, develop, deliver, and operate phases. Each phase relies on the others, and the phases are not role-specific. In a true DevOps culture, each role is involved in each phase to some extent.

The DevOps lifecycle

Plan

In the plan phase, DevOps teams ideate, define, and describe features and capabilities of the applications and systems they are building. They track progress at low and high levels of granularity—from single-product tasks to tasks that span portfolios of multiple products. Creating backlogs, tracking bugs, managing agile software development with Scrum, using Kanban boards, and visualizing progress with dashboards are some of the ways DevOps teams plan with agility and visibility.

Learn more about planning efficient workloads in DevOps.

Develop

The develop phase includes all aspects of coding—writing, testing, reviewing, and the integration of code by team members—as well as building that code into build artifacts that can be deployed into various environments. Teams use version control, usually Git, to collaborate on code and work in parallel. They also seek to innovate rapidly without sacrificing quality, stability, and productivity. To do that, they use highly productive tools, automate mundane and manual steps, and iterate in small increments through automated testing and continuous integration.

Learn more about developing modern software in DevOps.

Deliver

Delivery is the process of deploying applications into production environments in a consistent and reliable way, ideally via continuous delivery. The deliver phase also includes deploying and configuring the fully governed foundational infrastructure that makes up those environments. These environments often make use of technologies like Infrastructure as Code (IaC), containers, and microservices.

DevOps teams define a release management process with clear manual approval stages. They also set automated gates that move applications between stages until they're made available to customers. Automating these processes makes them scalable, repeatable, controlled, and well-tested. This way, teams who practice DevOps can deliver frequently with ease, confidence, and peace of mind.

Learn more about delivering quality services in DevOps.

Operate

The operate phase involves maintaining, monitoring, and troubleshooting applications in production environments, usually hosted in public and hybrid clouds. In adopting DevOps practices, teams work to ensure system reliability, high availability, and aim for zero downtime while reinforcing security and governance.

DevOps teams employ safe deployment practices to identify issues before they affect the customer experience and mitigate issues quickly when they do occur. Maintaining this vigilance requires rich telemetry, actionable alerting, and full visibility into applications and the underlying system.

Learn more about operating reliable systems in DevOps.