The evolution of software development has three significant milestones. First was introducing the waterfall method which followed sequential approach towards software development. Then came the Agile methodology which optimized the development life-cycle.
Now, DevOps seeks to unite development and operations to work together as a single team. It increases productivity, improves collaboration, and delivers superior products. Although both DevOps and Agile result in the development of software, they have different approaches, involve different groups and departments, and structure production differently. So, in order to evaluate DevOps versus Agile, it’s important to understand the overall philosophy of each, where they’re similar and where they’re different, as well as how to integrate each within your team.
What is Agile:
Agile is a methodology that focuses on delivering small manageable increments of a project through iterative development and testing. It was introduced as an alternative to the traditional waterfall methodology, known for its structured, linear, sequential life-cycle.
Dynamic processes such as project management and software development require the ability to adapt to changes and new conditions. The inflexible waterfall approach couldn’t meet the expectations of the fast-paced world of continuous technological innovation. Thus, Agile was born.
Agile Software Development:
Agile software development involves implementing agile frameworks, such as Scrum and Kanban. Each software development life-cycle starts with breaking up the project into manageable stories and requirements. The tasks are organized into sprints. A sprint takes place over two weeks, during which the team works on getting a specific feature up and running.
During the sprint, the team focuses on building, testing, and deploying software, making adjustments along the way. Once they complete a sprint, they move on to the next, until the project is complete. Such a practice allows continuous delivery of software. At the same time, customers, stakeholders, and project managers can follow and give feedback to ensure satisfactory results.
Some development stages can also include automated processes to speed up integration (such as automation testing and code management) and ensure everything is working correctly.
During development, the team collaborates, gives each other feedback, and reviews their work after each sprint, during regular retrospective sessions.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is a software development methodology which improves the collaboration between developers and operations team using various automation tools. These automation tools are implemented in various stages which are part of Devops Lifecycle.
Unlike traditional software development, DevOps consists of a continuous cycle of building, testing, deploying, and monitoring software. DevOps’ main objective is to deliver quality software efficiently.
The following principles are the foundation that steers the engineering process in a DevOps environment. Since automation is the key in DevOps methodology each principle is applied via tools:
Continuous Development. Developers submit code changes to a central repository several times a day. Prior to submitting code to the master repository (master branch), all code must be verified. To facilitate collaboration, other developers can track changes. Git and SVN are some popular tools to achieve version control.
Continuous Integration. Members of the development team integrate their code in a shared repository, several times a day. Each developer segments the work into small, manageable chunks of code and detects potential merge conflicts and bugs quicker. Jenkins which is an open-source automation server is very often used for continuous integration.
Continuous Deployment. A big part of DevOps is automating processes to speed up production. Continuous deployment involves automating releases of minor updates that do not pose a substantial threat to the existing architecture. This has two parts: Virtualization & Containerization and Configuration management. While Docker and Kubernetes are used for containerization. Puppet is used for configuration management.
Continuous Testing. Such a strategy involves testing as much as possible in every step of development. Automated tests give valuable feedback and a risk assessment of the process at hand. Selenium helps in building automated tests.
Continuous Operations. The DevOps team is always working on upgrading software with small but frequent releases. That is why DevOps requires constant monitoring of performance. Its main goal is to prevent downtime and availability issues during code release. Nagios is an open-source devops tool which is used for monitoring systems, networks and infrastructure.
Collaboration. One of the main goals of DevOps is to foster collaboration and feedback sharing. Development and Operations need to proactively communicate and share feedback to maintain an efficient DevOps pipeline commonly referred as CI/CD pipeline.
Agile Vs DevOps:
Agile and DevOps both aim towards delivering quality software in a timely manner. The difference between Agile and DevOps is that Agile focuses on optimizing the development life-cycle, while DevOps unites development and operations in a CI/CD environment. DevOps and agile are not mutually exclusive. DevOps is an extension of agile built around the practices that are not in Agile’s focus. When used together, both practices improve software development and lead to better products.