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How to Talk Tech: What Is DevOps?

It’s not uncommon for clients to come to Plan A and ask something like, “We’ve been hearing about how great DevOps is, but no one’s really explained in a simple but detailed way what it actually is — is this something my company needs?”

We can answer all of that.

But before we talk about what DevOps is and how it’s provided a new way of doing software development and maintenance, it’s important to understand how things work under a traditional model. 

The traditional model of software development

Using the traditional structure, the development and operations teams perform two separate functions and don’t overlap. The development team creates the software, treating it as a finished product upon launch and, when it is completed, hands it off to the IT operations team. The operations team then deploys the software and offers customer support and patches, if needed. In a lot of ways, the traditional model of the software industry treats their products like they might an automobile — once a new car leaves the factory, it’s up to the dealerships and service teams to keep it rolling on the roads and the customer happy. 

This model serves many companies perfectly well. At Plan A Technologies, we have a lot of experience in helping our clients who like this model roll their software out this way.

But software can offer unique challenges. Constant platform updates, instantaneous user feedback, automations and more have transformed the way some software is developed and maintained. Separating the people who made the product from the people who install and maintain it can slow the whole process and create serious issues in some cases.

Enter DevOps.

So what is DevOps?

Beginning in the mid-2000s, several companies began to approach the process in a different way. In the broadest sense, DevOps is a work-model philosophy that does away with the old-school and artificial fence between the development team and the IT operations team, streamlining them into a single group to better reflect the realities of modern software development.

The overall idea is that it makes sense to have a development team involved from start to finish, instead of just a portion of the process. So when a problem arises after a product launch, the developers who actually created the code and know it better than anyone else can quickly pinpoint where the error is coming from and create a fix that won’t interfere with code anywhere else. Instead of the sometimes monthslong wait for a software update to address an issue, the DevOps model achieves much faster turnaround times for fixes. Automations like the ones our Plan A DevOps engineers use have made patches even easier and faster to get out. Now it’s being used by tech giants like Amazon and Adobe and even companies without pure tech focuses, like Netflix and Target.

What is a DevOps engineer?

DevOps engineers are trained to treat the software development process as continuous and not simply over at launch. At Plan A, our DevOps engineers’ priority is to streamline the time and work it takes to get from a bug being detected to the launch of the patch that fixes it, as well as making coding, deployment, updates and overall maintenance more efficient, more cost-effective and faster.

Our DevOps engineers have to know how to combine their software-development skills with the skills they need to manage and maintain an application once it’s out in the real world. They have to know how the software for the project they’re working on is being developed and what the plans are for it to be deployed. They also need to remain vigilant after launch, staying on top of continuous integration and development. Good DevOps engineers pride themselves not on responding to users’ needs but anticipating those needs — so needed updates are sent out before most users encounter an issue.

What can a Plan A Technologies DevOps engineer do for your company?

Our top-notch team of global DevOps talent is ready to help your company with software development, management and maintenance needs. Well-versed in proven DevOps methods, we’ll use cutting-edge automations and other technologies to push out seamless updates, increase efficiencies and ensure that your software keeps running smoothly, generating client interest and making you money well past the launch date. One of Plan A’s DevOps specialists can come in at any point from before development to well after launch — and once we get involved, know we’re ready for the long haul.


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