DevOps. It sounds like it could be a type of military special forces, doesn’t it? In reality, DevOps is a methodology/mindset behind software creation. DevOps is one of the more widely adopted forms of releasing software to market. But, what is the actual definition of DevOps?
The answer is rather hotly contested. To sum up, DevOps is the combination of development (Dev) and operations (Ops), but when you get down to it, it is more in depth than that. To understand DevOps, we must look at the software creation methods before it.
The Waterfall Method
Taking a step back, the Waterfall development method was one of the earlier techniques employed by software companies. Waterfall is a cyclical approach to software, and involves several repetitious stages. First, software is extensively planned then passed to Development to, you guessed it, develop. It then makes its way to Operations to be tested, then returned to Development to improve, etc. Unfortunately, with this method, if a project’s scope changes mid-development, the created software becomes essentially useless, resulting in a large waste of money and time.
The Agile Method
The Agile development method was created to counter that major set back. Agile uses a multitude of smaller releases, with bug fixes in subsequent releases or outright changes if the project changes as well, hence “agile.” While useful, Agile comes with its own downsides. For one, creating multiple iterations of a software can cause a disjointed connection between that software and others it cooperates with. Agile also puts deadlines on the back burner because, in theory, releases are occuring often, which, in turn, can wreak havoc to a live production environment.
The Generally Accepted Definition of DevOps
DevOps is, in a sense, an extension of Agile. It utilizes a similar form of continuous releases, but relies heavily on collaboration. With DevOps, Development and Operations are in constant communication, ensuring that software is released in an efficient, effective, and ultimately timely matter. DevOps creates a culture of understanding between both teams, and ultimately, the entire company. Removing the barriers between these two teams has been so successful that DevOps has gone on to remove even more barriers between departments. Now it is common to have sales, product marketing and other departments involved with the software development process.
However, just like Waterfall and Agile, DevOps comes with its own challenges, although on a different scale. A key part of DevOps is automation and scaling. Thus, every sector of the development, operations, and security process needs to be evaluated for the ability to scale, be programmatic, and cut across functional areas.
One area of problem with DevOps is the inability to manage the identities of Development and Operations users who are using the resources involved with the software creation process (often hosted in the cloud). As well, SSH keys are an important tool in doing so, the management of which creates quite a hurdle for IT admins. An identity for DevOps focused engineers and admins isn’t just a user name and password, but also includes SSH keys, MFA tokens, and sometimes even biometrics.
DevOps with JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service®
Thankfully, JumpCloud® Directory-as-a-Service® can be a source of truth for organizations who implement DevOps. By leveraging Directory-as-a-Service, IT admins can create a unified identity for each of their end users, meaning that user accounts for tools like AWS®, GitHub, Chef, Puppet, and more can be under one authorized identity but include passwords, SSH key, and MFA tokens. JumpCloud also features cross-platform group policy object (GPO)-like capabilities, called Policies, so sysadmins can execute blanket commands or scripts to groups of Linux®, Mac®, and Windows® systems.
Learn more about how JumpCloud is revolutionizing identity and access management (IAM) for DevOps environments at our blog or by watching the webinar below. You can also contact our support team for more information. If you’re interested in JumpCloud Directory-as-a-Service, signing up for the platform is free, and so are your first 10 users.