Thursday

Docker and DevOps: What it is and Why it Matters

In the past, the software development process was characterized by repetitive coding and testing as well as disintegrated dev and ops teams. As a result, software implementation and deployment was painstakingly slow, up to 41% slower than what it is today. Also, it was marred by quality issues because adaptability was unheard of. This meant that issues could only be spotted and addressed after delivery.  


Devops


DevOps in present


The emergence of the cloud and the proliferation of mobile devices has spurred the massive growth of the DevOps industry. New tools and concepts are continuously being developed alongside training like the DCA certification to equip professionals to use these tools. It is expected that by 2021 DevOps will be worth $6.3 trillion. This kind of demand cannot be sustained by traditional software development models. The mobile software market comes with higher expectations. It needs high-quality software to be delivered just when it is needed and the ability of any business to match these expectations keeps it ahead of the competition. 


This is what led to the rise of the DevOps concept which is defined by efficiency. It breaks down traditionally siloed confinements by allowing continuous integration and faster releases and driving teams to work in close collaboration with each other. 


The future 


DevOps concept has shifted the culture in software development by introducing two important aspects, the agile methodology, and adaptability. Going forward, web-based IDEs (Integrated Development Environments) will make it possible to write code on the cloud without having to install any tools in the PC. 


Secondly, DevOps will evolve to integrate emerging disruptive technologies like AI and ML which will automate a major part of the development process,  data science which will concentrate development on only apps that the market needs, and IoT which will personalize applications and make them device-friendly.


It is already happening and the DevOps market is expected to grow to $12.85 billion by 2025 according to Grand View Research and to $14.97 billion by 2026 according to the Fortune Business Insights Report. 


What is DevOps? 


DevOps came as the solution to the cumbersome repetitive coding and time-consuming siloed functioning of development and operation teams in software development. 


It is a mix of philosophy, culture, and practices that borders on the agile methodology which promotes close collaboration between the development and operation teams in software development to facilitate faster releases while at the same time delivering high-quality software that meets user needs. 


DevOps culture employs a continuous integration, continuous delivery, and continuous deployment approach which comes with a host of benefits including: 


  • Shorter development lifecycle 

  • High-quality deliveries 

  • Prompt bug discovery and fixing

  • A low failure rate for new deployments 

  • Shorter time to market

  • Reduced production costs

Top DevOps Tools 


There are many DevOps tools developed for different functions. Some top DevOps tools include:


Puppet is an open-source configuration management tool that supports Windows, Linux, and Unix operating systems. This tool is used for automating the deployment, configuration, and management of applications and services across the server of an organization. 


Jenkins is an open-source CI/CD server. It uses plugins to automate stages of the development cycle to achieve continuous integration by quickly identifying issues. Jenkins has over 1000 plugins which make it compatible with nearly all DevOps tools. 


Ansible is an open-source automation tool used for software provisioning, configuration management, and application deployment, and interservice orchestration. It automates the SDLC hence speeding up production and improving productivity. 


Chef is a configuration management tool that integrates easily with cloud-based platforms and is used for automating infrastructure provisioning. 


Nagios is a monitoring system used to track infrastructure performance, detect server issues, and perform scheduled upgrades. This tool alerts users as soon as an issue in the server is detected. 


Docker is a containerization tool that lets DevOps teams build, deploy, and ship applications in packages called containers to any environment. Applications are packaged together with all its dependencies including source code, system libraries, runtime, system tools, and settings.


What is Docker? 


Docker is behind containerization technology. 


Docker is a platform as a service (PaaS) tool that allows developers to build, run, manage, and ship applications in packages known as containers hence containerization. Docker supports Linux, Windows, and Mac operating systems. 


Containerization can be defined as the process of packaging an application together with its dependencies to facilitate a seamless movement from one computing environment to another.  These dependencies include source code, libraries, config. File, runtime, frameworks, and settings. 


The computer on which Docker is installed is known as a Docker Host. This concept virtualizes the docker host OS and uses it to deliver executable applications to other computing environments. 


Why Docker matters 


Docker has proved to be an essential tool in application development. It comes with several benefits to the development community. 


  • Efficient use of computing resources. Docker containers can only host one application and its dependencies. This makes it light and portable. Owing to their small sizes, a large number of containers can be hosted on one server. 

  • Faster starts. A container does not carry an operating system which makes it light. Being light reduces the booting up time to as little as a few seconds. 

  • Standardization and consistency. Docker containers standardize the entire production environment. This allows the development team members to work in a unified building, testing, and production environments to enhance consistency. This way, picking up and fixing bugs within the system is fast and easy. 

  • Multiple environment support. Docker containers run on any environment as long as they have the same OS specifications. 

  • Faster deployments. Applications are built into parts and shipped in different isolated containers. This allows teams to work simultaneously and collaboratively in building applications. Testing is applied to parts and not the entire application making deployments fast. Secondly, there is no need to set up a new environment as the team only needs to download a Docker image to operate it on a different server. 

Docker for DevOps


There is no doubt that DevOps culture and philosophy is preferred and has widely been adopted by software developers. DevOps presents a comprehensive solution to problems that developers faced using traditional SDLC methodologies.  


Docker only comes in to strengthen DevOps functionality in the software development process. As already mentioned, it is a platform as a service (PaaS) tool whose function is directly applicable to software development. 


Both DevOps and Docker promote a CI/CD (continuous integration/continuous development) environment. The containerization approach that Docker brings to the DevOps table creates a standardized environment for both production and testing for not only fast seamless deployments but also easy interface set-up by team members. 


Bottomline


Thanks to its containerization concept, Docker has revolutionized development and the demand for professionals skilled in operating it is heating up. Is it the right time to make Docker an addition to your skillset?