3 Strategies for Successful DevOps Automation

One critical success factor is the use of automation in multiple areas including testing, deployment, and configuration management.

The 3 Strategies for Successful DevOps Automation below will help streamline your automation initiatives and make them more productive in both the short and long term.

Still, legacy systems and processes — as well as attitudes! — can impede the effective deployment of wide-scale DevOps automation.

That’s why DevOps is more than just a “method.” Instead, it requires a complete rethinking of the company philosophy. Even then, employing automation as a fundamental principle is not as simple as “automate everything.”

What do you need to know when implementing DevOps automation? What are the common pitfalls to avoid?


Benefits of DevOps Automation

DevOps fundamentals include cross-functional teams, continuous improvement, and increased collaboration.

As opposed to a linear progression of software development from coding to release, DevOps uses a recursive workflow, so continuous improvement is possible.

A key element in this improved workflow is the use of automation across a wide range of activities and processes.


Design to show delivery pipeline between a company and their customer

There are three basic benefits:

A key element in this improved workflow is the use of automation across a wide range of activities and processes.


There are three basic benefits:

  • Development and deployment time is reduced.
  • Knowledge workers are freed up to concentrate on higher-order tasks.
  • Large volumes of testing and other reporting data can be produced more quickly.

List of advantages of DevOps

  • When DevOps elements are effectively integrated, there will be a greater return on investment (ROI): Product time to market will decrease while quality increases.


3 Strategies for Successful DevOps Automation

Still, a blind rush to “automate everything” should not be your goal. Instead, to ensure the effective application of automation from initial implementation to ongoing use, these operating principles will productively guide your efforts.

  1. Systems Audit

First, you need to perform a systems audit to identify repetitive activities within the continuous improvement and continuous deployment (CI/CD) pipeline. These include builds, testing, configuration, deployment, operation, and monitoring.

More narrowly, tasks within the following categories are prime candidates for automation:

  • occur with medium to high frequency
  • require three or more people to complete manually
  • use time-sensitive steps
  • impact multiple systems
  • must have audit documentation for compliance
  • result in bottlenecks on an ongoing basis

A systems audit is key to determining where to implement automation, but it’s also important to identify which processes are less critical to automate.

  1. Cost-Benefit Analysis

Once you’ve identified the processes most likely to benefit from automation, the next step as per DevOps.com is to perform a cost-benefit analysis for each one. This will calculate the net benefit for the organization in hours saved per year:

  • Automation time overheadinitial development hours +ongoing maintenance hours per year
  • Automation time savings= (hours to do tasks manually – hours to do tasks with automation) x number of times task is done per year
  • Net hours benefit per yearautomation time savings – automation time overhead

Still, there are intangibles to keep in mind when generating these analyses. As Scrum.org CEO Dave West says: “When deciding on what to automate.It is important to balance flexibility with removing waste.

Wasteful tasks should be automated, but only if the cost of that automation is not reduced agility. Sometimes flexibility is more important than efficiency.”

  1. Continuous Improvement KPIs

DevOps automation is about both streamlining processes overall as well as addressing bottlenecks in particular.

Still, no solution exists in a vacuum. Just as you want CI/CD for your software products, you must apply the same concept to your automated DevOps processes. After all, one seemingly minor change can have far-reaching consequences across multiple systems.

You use application performance management (APM) for your software products, and it’s equally important to continually monitor the key performance indicators (KPIs) of your automated DevOps processes. As noted above, calculating the cost-benefit ratio in hours saved per year will help prioritize which processes to automate. In addition, careful monitoring of applications will allow you to maximize resource allocation, focus on business performance goals, and control cloud sprawl.


Taking the Next Step in DevOps Automation

This discussion of DevOps automation up to this point has focused on big picture strategies for successful implementation. After an initial systems audit, your next step is to examine the best available automation solutions for your specific needs including infrastructure as code (IaC), CI/CD, and monitoring.

list of DevOps Automation Solutions with key featuresDevOps allows you to work smart as well as hard.