To enhance their continuous delivery initiative, companies have long started to switch to a DevOps culture. By adapting best practices such as CI/CD pipeline, continuous testing or continuous security, teams get faster and more creative in scaling their operations.
On the other hand, the companies that are yet to take the plunge are under pressure to comply if they want to get or maintain a competitive edge.
If you are planning to implement DevOps practices, know that even though you’ll benefit greatly from it, the adoption process is not without its fair share of issues.
We asked engineers what were the biggest DevOps challenges they encountered when implementing the model and their solutions. Here’s what they shared with us.
Top DevOps Challenges
If you are planning to adopt DevOps practices, here are the top DevOps challenges that you must address in the process and how to overcome them:
1. Selecting the Right DevOps Metrics
Determining the metrics that are the most relevant and useful for a particular organization is one of the top challenges in transitioning to the DevOps model. That is because a wide range of metrics is available to measure the effectiveness and efficiency of a DevOps process, such as deployment frequency, lead time for changes, mean time to recover from failures, and defect escape rate. However, not all of these metrics may be applicable or valuable for a given organization, and identifying the metrics important to your organization can be challenging.
You could adopt a data-driven approach to identify and track DevOps metrics. This can involve using tools such as analytics platforms or dashboards to collect and visualize data on various aspects of the DevOps process. This can help organizations find the right metrics, identify the patterns and trends in their data, and focus on areas where they may be able to improve their processes or where they may be experiencing bottlenecks or other issues.
2. Security in DevOps
Security in DevOps ensures that security needs are adequately addressed throughout the development process, as traditional approaches to security can be a barrier to rapid development and deployment. It can be tough in organizations that have adopted a continuous delivery model, where code changes are made and deployed frequently.
You could use the DevSecOps approach to resolve this challenge. DevSecOps integrates security into the DevOps process from the outset. It involves the collaboration of development, security, and operations teams to build and deploy secure systems continuously and automatedly.
To put it in a better way, Radu Tizu, CTO of Multicode Plus, said, ‘Dev(Sec)Ops comes as a requirement in the current ecosystem of unlimited auto-scalable number of worker nodes – for consistency, trackability (and auditing) but also fast response times. ‘Data center is on fire?’ run this command and change the target region, and you get a brand new infrastructure deployment; ‘moving to a new region with strict data retention policies?’ do the same and replicate the infrastructure, ‘Black Friday is this Friday?’ DevSecOps can triple your capacity in no time.’
To implement a DevSecOps approach, organizations can adopt tools and processes that enable developers to identify and fix security issues early in the development cycle, such as static analysis tools and automated testing frameworks.
3. Microservices Increasing Complexity
Using microservices in a DevOps environment increases the complexity of managing a large number of independently deployable service components. This can make it more difficult to track dependencies between services, troubleshoot issues, and ensure that the overall system functions correctly.
To tackle this DevOps challenge, tools and practices that enable organizations to manage and monitor their microservices environment effectively can be adopted. This can involve using tools such as service meshes or orchestration platforms to manage communication between services and implementing monitoring and logging systems to track the health and performance of individual services.
4. Change Is Huge
Managing changes in a DevOps environment calls for balancing rapid deployment with the need to ensure the stability and reliability of the system. It can be difficult because changing a system introduces new risks and vulnerabilities, and the more frequent changes are made, the greater the potential for issues.
One solution to this challenge is to adopt a culture of continuous testing and monitoring, in which changes are thoroughly tested and validated before being deployed to production. It usually means implementing automated testing frameworks and using tools such as monitoring and logging platforms to track the performance and behavior of the system after changes are made.
However, there is an even bigger challenge to implementing testing frameworks and tools for monitoring. Neil Douek, Director of DevOps / Agility at Dops Digital says – “In my experience you can’t implement a culture, but rather nurture it into existence over a period of time. I always look towards fundamentals, such as branching strategy and repository hygiene, and then develop sustainable standards that can support CI/CD.” So, you need to ensure that your team members understand what to test (or log) in their code and how to make tests (or generate logs). Only after you and your team are satisfied with the fundamentals, you should introduce automated testing and log management rather than directly leapfrogging into it.
5. Choosing and Adopting the Right DevOps Tools
Just like the metrics, the DevOps market is filled with several DevOps tools. But, there are no standard tools that apply to all organizations because each organization may have different requirements. So, selecting and integrating the right tools into the development and deployment process is critical to achieving DevOps success within an organization.
One way to overcome this challenge is to adopt a DevOps toolchain, a set of integrated tools that work together to support the development and deployment process. A DevOps toolchain includes tools for version control, continuous integration, testing, deployment, and monitoring. You should also follow these 4 best practices for choosing DevOps tools and simplify your suite.
6. Lack of Cross-Functional Teams
Cross-functional teams in a DevOps environment ensure that team members have the necessary skills and knowledge to collaborate effectively and work together. But establishing a team with the necessary skills can be challenging because DevOps requires diverse skills and expertise, including development, operations, security, and testing.
However, organizations can provide training and resources to help DevOps teams build the necessary skills and knowledge. It involves providing training on relevant tools and technologies, as well as on practices such as agile methodologies and continuous delivery.
Another solution to this issue is to adopt a culture of collaboration and ownership within the organization. According to Lewis Stevens, Senior Cloud DevOps and Infrastructure Engineer of DigiTickets – lk message, ‘The main challenge I have found trying to implement a DevOps culture is that the Developers or the Operations team struggle to work on each other’s repositories. To overcome this, I will typically focus on creating a new small project where a developer and operations engineer is assigned solely to the project and can take ownership of it.’
While these solutions can help in creating a cross functional team, Rafal Krol, a Cloud Site Reliability Engineer at Chaos Gears also warns that change can be overwhelming for members of an organization, so the organization should introduce change gradually. He says – “If I were to name one challenge of embracing DevOps culture, I’d doubt the lack of a general agreement on the importance of learning. A cultural change takes time to ripe…”
7. Implementing the DevOps Center of Excellence
Floor Nooitgedagt, Principal Recruitment Consultant for DevOps, Cloud & Data at Apollo Solutions argues – “…If your CIO or CTO doesn’t truly advocate DevOps, it’ll be very difficult to successfully implement a strong DevOps culture across the business. And it all starts with senior management and a clear vision.”
Organizations with clear vision can implement a center of excellence (COE) model in a DevOps environment to ensure that DevOps practices are successfully implanted. COE effectively supports and facilitates the development and deployment process across the organization. But as the COE must coordinate with multiple teams and functions and may need to juggle competing priorities and demands, this can become challenging.
One way to solve this DevOps challenge is to adopt a collaborative and consultative approach to the COE model, in which the COE works closely with teams across the organization to understand their needs and goals and provides guidance and support as needed. This ensures that the COE can effectively support the development and deployment process while respecting the autonomy and independence of individual teams.
8. The Stringency of DevOps Governance
Strict governance strives for the system’s quality and stability by imposing clear policies and procedures for development and deployment. But on the other hand, overly strict governance can become a barrier to rapid development and deployment, as it may require teams to follow rigid processes and procedures that can slow down the development and deployment process. So finding the right balance between control and necessary oversight for flexibility and agility can become a challenge of the DevOps adoption process.
One solution to this challenge is to adopt a flexible and agile approach to governance, in which policies and procedures are designed to support and enable the development and deployment process rather than hinder it.
9. Managing Multiple Environments
A DevOps environment has to manage multiple environments. But, ensuring the different environments are kept in sync, and that code changes and deployments are properly tested and validated before being promoted to production can be difficult. Different environments may have different configurations and dependencies.
One way to conquer this challenge is to adopt a continuous integration and delivery (CI/CD) approach, in which code changes are automatically built, tested, and deployed through a series of automated DevOps pipeline stages.
10. Implementing Budgets
Organizations need to ensure that DevOps environments have the budget allocation aligned with the needs and goals of the organization. However, DevOps involves a wide range of activities and tools, and it can be challenging to determine which areas are most important and should be prioritized.
To solve this DevOps challenge, you could involve stakeholders from across the organization in the budgeting process and establish clear policies and procedures for allocating resources. This ensures that budget allocation is based on the needs and goals of the organization and that resources are being used effectively to support the development and deployment process.
How Sematext Can Help our DevOps Team
In the rapidly evolving landscape of microservices, the challenges of ensuring their continuous availability and optimal performance are paramount. Manual testing and deploying new functionalities across an ever-growing number of microservices can be complex and time-consuming. DevOps teams face the pressing need to replicate microservices in test environments while maintaining their stability. This is where Sematext Cloud comes into play with its array of advanced features designed to improve your DevOps processes and address potential challenges.
By seamlessly integrating Sematext agents, microservices can be monitored as they dynamically come and go, even on-the-fly. This proactive approach helps swiftly identify instability or performance issues, ensuring the reliability and efficiency of the microservices ecosystem.
Furthermore, the embrace of an active CI/CD pipeline helps both developers and operations. This collaboration facilitates rapid product patching and the introduction of new functionalities, sometimes on a daily basis. However, fully harnessing the power of CI/CD takes time and effort as both teams learn its intricacies, enhance it through plugins, and grasp its limitations.
Providing real-time monitoring and analytics capabilities, Sematext makes it easier to achieve operational performance.From monitoring microservices in real-time to refining the CI/CD pipeline, Sematext equips teams with the tools needed to enhance efficiency, minimize downtime, and deliver superior products.
Watch the video below to learn more about Sematext Cloud or start your 14-day free trial to experience the power of enhanced monitoring.
DevOps is a powerful approach to software development and deployment that can help organizations deliver value to customers faster and more reliably. However, implementing DevOps also brings with it several challenges and issues that teams must address to succeed.
Challenges like selecting and integrating the right tools, managing security risks, and coordinating across teams and functions can pressure companies trying to adopt DevOps practices. However, by understanding these challenges and adopting the right solutions, organizations can overcome these hurdles and build a successful DevOps practice that drives business value.