17 April 2020 - Delivery Industry

DevOps for delivery services

With the whole countries on lockdown and quarantine, the delivery services face a boom in popularity. Adopting DevOps for delivery services is crucial to ensure the stability of operations.

According to the report on the global coronavirus traffic impact, published in March 2020 by SimilarWeb, food and grocery delivery services have seen a 20% increase in YoY traffic after the quarantine was enacted in the EU and US. It is safe to say that until the quarantine is lifted, such services will see an increased demand — so if you are providing food or grocery delivery services and interact with your customers online — it is crucial to ensure stable operations of your web systems and applications.

This is where DevOps comes into action, helping any business, interacting with its customers online and handling their payments through web and mobile apps ensure secure, stable and resilient daily infrastructure operations along with rapid development and release of new applications and services. But how can a business get DevOps for delivery services in the most cost-efficient way? Let’s take a look!

DevOps benefits for delivery services and any other business

First of all, what is DevOps? In short, DevOps is a software development and infrastructure management methodology, a practical implementation of Agile philosophy, concentrating on automating routine tasks to minimize time and effort to deliver and support a working product.

Why is it so great? Because in our rapidly changing world the businesses cannot allow themselves the luxury of releasing new product versions once a year or two. The market is flooded with alternatives, and if you need 6 months to implement a new feature, your customers will swap the provider and use services from a competitor that updates their product monthly.

The same goes for operational stability — would you rely on service that lags and crashes all the time? We doubt it, so it is crucial to ensure your product or service is available 24/7 and does not suffer from post-release crashes. Nobody has got time to wait for 20 hours while your team builds a hotfix after a faulty update, they just download the competitor’s app from Google Play or App Store.

Thus said, what does DevOps actually do?

In DevOps workflows, operations engineers dictate the way to organize infrastructure and workflows optimally, ensuring minimal resource consumption and achievement of business goals set. There is no “throwing the code over the wall” paradigm. Devs, Ops and QA sit and discuss how they can help each other do their work faster and in the most efficient manner.

It is important to always keep in mind, that building a product or application takes around 10-15% of its life span, testing it around 5-10%, and the remaining ~80% of the time the app works in production. Therefore, operational stability and simplicity should be the primary concern when building any product or service — so the Ops engineers have the final say in all decisions related to software delivery. 

Should the product be monolith or split into microservices? Should it run in the cloud or on dedicated servers? What release strategy to choose to ensure seamless updates? These and many more questions directly affecting the CAPEX, OPEX and overall business success must be answered prior to beginning the project — and experienced DevOps engineers have the knowledge and tools needed to make the best decisions.

DevOps teams build IaC — Infrastructure as Code, where all variables of all system environments are configured through text documents — manifests processed by DevOps tools like Terraform and Kubernetes, so any developer can create any needed environment with ease, greatly reducing the software development time.

The process of building new products and features works under CI/CD — Continuous Integration and Delivery approach — all interim operations are automated and tools like Ansible and Jenkins help form so-called pipelines — automated scenarios, where the output of the previous operation becomes the input for the next operation. This allows automating multiple manual actions, freeing up time, effort and creativity required to improve the efficiency of your operations.

To sum it up, adopting a DevOps approach will help your business become more versatile and resilient, so this time of crisis becomes your window of opportunity. But how to get access to DevOps talent?

How to hire DevOps expertise

There are three common approaches to hiring DevOps expertise:

  • in house/freelance,
  • from cloud computing providers and their affiliated partners
  • from IT outsourcing companies.

There are benefits and downsides to all of these approaches, so let’s take a closer look at each of them

  1. Hiring a DevOps engineer to your team locally or as a remote freelancer is a viable approach under normal circumstances. You get access to a DevOps expert and can completely control his/her workload, select the tools they use and the tasks they work on.

    However, in the reality of quarantine, hiring a skilled DevOps engineer in-house is literally impossible, unless your delivery business is located in one of the major startup hubs, and entrusting your mission-critical systems to a freelancer, whose working hours can differ from yours is not the wisest business decision.
  2. Working with  DevOps experts from cloud computing providers and their affiliate partners ensures professionalism and quality of services. However, this also ensures vendor lock-in, as these specialists will definitely use platform-specific tools when building your infrastructure and processes, so moving to another platform should need be would require building everything from scratch.
  3. Outsourcing to Managed DevOps services providers like IT Svit grants instant access to skilled professionals with rich experience in delivering projects similar to yours. Unlike freelancers, such teams are legally bound by SLA, NDA and contractual obligations, ensuring security and predictability of your project delivery. They will also use open-source tools to ensure your systems are modular and can be easily moved to another cloud platform if need be. The only issue here is the risk of contracting the unreliable company that will not be able to accomplish on time the tasks you need to be done.

How to avoid this? Work with reputed contractors, who have multiple positive customer reviews, ranked as leaders by independent rating agencies and have successfully solved projects similar to yours. This will ensure that even in the midst of pandemic and crisis your business will be able to stand up to the challenges and overcome them.

Should you need assistance — IT Svit is always ready to help!

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