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Collaboration in DevOps is illustrated by two team members working together in front of the DevOps infinity logo.
The DevOps methodology combines the software development and IT operations teams into a highly collaborative unit. In a DevOps environment, team members work simultaneously on the same code base, using automation and source control to accelerate releases. The transformation from a traditional, siloed organizational structure to a streamlined, fast-paced DevOps company is rewarding yet challenging. That’s why it’s important to have the right strategy, and in this guide to collaboration in DevOps, you’ll discover tips and best practices for a smooth transition.

Collaboration in DevOps: Strategies and best practices

A successful DevOps implementation results in a tightly interwoven team of software and infrastructure specialists working together to release high-quality applications as quickly as possible. This transition tends to be easier for developers, who are already used to working with software code, source control tools, and automation. Infrastructure teams, on the other hand, sometimes struggle to work at the velocity needed to support DevOps software projects and lack experience with automation technologies, causing a lot of frustration and delaying DevOps initiatives. The following strategies and best practices will help bring Dev and Ops together while minimizing friction.

Turn infrastructure and network configurations into software code

Infrastructure and network teams can’t keep up with the velocity of DevOps software development if they’re manually configuring, deploying, and troubleshooting resources using the GUI (graphical user interface) or CLI (command line interface). The best practice in a DevOps environment is to use software abstraction to turn all configurations and networking logic into code.

Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

Infrastructure as Code (IaC) tools allow teams to write configurations as software code that provisions new resources automatically with the click of a button. IaC configurations can be executed as often as needed to deploy DevOps infrastructure very rapidly and at a large scale.

Software-Defined Networking (SDN) 

Software-defined networking (SDN) and Software-defined wide-area networking (SD-WAN) use software abstraction layers to manage networking logic and workflows. SDN allows networking teams to control, monitor, and troubleshoot very large and complex network architectures from a centralized platform while using automation to optimize performance and prevent downtime.

Software abstraction helps accelerate resource provisioning, reducing delays and friction between Dev and Ops. It can also be used to bring networking teams into the DevOps fold with automated, software-defined networks, creating what’s known as a NetDevOps environment.

Use common, centralized tools for software source control

Collaboration in DevOps means a whole team of developers or sysadmins may work on the same code base simultaneously. This is highly efficient — but risky. Development teams have used software source control tools like GitHub for years to track and manage code changes and prevent overwriting each other’s work. In a DevOps organization using IaC and SDN, the best practice is to incorporate infrastructure and network code into the same source control system used for software code.

Managing infrastructure configurations using a tool like GitHub ensures that sysadmins can’t make unauthorized changes to critical resources. For example, administrators initiate many ransomware attacks and other major outages by directly changing infrastructure configurations without testing or approval. This happened in a high-profile MGM cyberattack when an IT staff member fell victim to social engineering and granted elevated Okta privileges to an attacker without having to get approval from a second pair of eyes.

Using DevOps source control, all infrastructure changes must be reviewed and approved by a second party in the IT department to ensure they don’t introduce vulnerabilities or malicious code into production. Sysadmins can work quickly and creatively, knowing there’s a safety net to catch mistakes, reducing Ops delays, and fostering a more collaborative environment.

Consolidate and integrate DevOps tools with a vendor-neutral platform

An enterprise DevOps deployment usually involves dozens – if not hundreds – of different tools to automate and streamline the many workflows involved in a software development project. Having so many individual DevOps tools deployed around the enterprise increases the management complexity, which can have the following consequences.

  • Human error – The harder it is to stay on top of patch releases, security bulletins, and monitoring logs, the more likely it is that an issue will slip between the cracks until it causes an outage or breach.
  • Security complexity – Every additional DevOps tool added to the architecture makes integrating and implementing a consistent security model more complex and challenging, increasing the risk of coverage gaps.
  • Spiraling costs – With many different solutions handling individual workflows around the enterprise, the likelihood of buying redundant services or paying for unneeded features increases, which can impact ROI.
  • Reduced efficiency – DevOps aims to increase operational efficiency, but having to work across so many disparate tools can slow teams down, especially when those tools don’t interoperate.

The best practice is consolidating your DevOps tools with a centralized, vendor-neutral platform. For example, the Nodegrid Services Delivery Platform from ZPE Systems can host and integrate 3rd-party DevOps tools, unifying them under a single management umbrella. Nodegrid gives IT teams single-pane-of-glass control over the entire DevOps architecture, including the underlying network infrastructure, which reduces management complexity, increases efficiency, and improves ROI.

Maximize DevOps success

DevOps collaboration can improve operational efficiency and allow companies to release software at the velocity required to stay competitive in the market. Using software abstraction, centralized source code control, and vendor-neutral management platforms reduces friction on your DevOps journey. The best practice is to unify your DevOps environment with a vendor-neutral platform like Nodegrid to maximize control, cost-effectiveness, and productivity.

Want to Simplify collaboration in DevOps with the Nodegrid platform?

Reach out to ZPE Systems today to learn more about how the Nodegrid Services Delivery Platform can help you simplify collaboration in DevOps.


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