DevOps sees the coming together of practices, philosophies, and tools that allow you to create services and applications very quickly. This means that you can improve on your apps and evolve them at a much faster rate than those developers who are using traditional software development processes. We’ve talked about DevOps, in general, a great deal, but today, we’re going to dig a little deeper and take a look at Java DevOps specifically.
What is DevOps?
DevOps is simply a portmanteau of software DEVelopment and IT OPerations. It was first called agile operations and involves different disciplines in building, operating and evolving applications and services.
Using a DevOps model, you are bringing together your development team and your operations team, and their work is no longer in silos. These teams, and sometimes together with the security and quality assurance teams, work together to bring about the new application – from developing, to testing, to deploying, and then to operating it.
Another significant characteristic – developers often use tools, which help automate processes that used to be done manually and, as such, are prone to error and take a much longer time to accomplish. They also use tools to quickly operate and support applications, as well as to be able to accomplish tasks without needing outside help, such as deploying code or allocating resources.
What is Java DevOps?
Java DevOps is simply applying DevOps practices and philosophies to Java app development. That means that compartmentalized teams are no longer needed when creating Java applications.
Some of the principles you should know include:
- Continuous integration. This practice requires developers to periodically merge the code that they have written into a central repository. After the merge, tests and automated builds are executed. This allows a team to find issues and quickly quash out bugs, improve the application’s quality and then cut the time needed to validate your apps. It also helps your team release new updates faster.
- Continuous delivery. This practice requires your team to release into production all code changes after it is written and then automatically built, and tested. If continuous integration puts your code changes onto a testing environment, continuous delivery puts it into a production environment. What does this mean? You will always have a production-ready Java application!
- Microservices. DevOps make use of microservices. Instead of having one big monolithic Java application, your application is made up of smaller and independent applications.
- Infrastructure as a code. This practice means that infrastructure is allocated and then managed by using code and development techniques. Cloud services can help your development and operations teams interact with infrastructure at a scale they are comfortable with. With infrastructure as a code, servers and infrastructure are deployed fast, automatically patched and can easily be duplicated. Your team can also automate configuration management, and also take advantage of policy as a code, where compliance with regulatory requirements is practically ensured.
Benefits of Java DevOps
- DevOps take a people-first approach. Apart from bringing together your development, operations and other teams, DevOps require team members to understand the perspective of other members of the team. That may mean a developer is sharing his or her concerns with the team and a SysOp doing the same. This kind of understanding can enable team members to help each other, such as a developer building facilities and tools that another team member needs. As such, collaboration is not only encouraged by necessity. But even as you bring teams together, it also puts focus on accountability and ownership.
- Java DevOps cuts the time to develop a Java application. This will help you deliver the right Java applications to end users faster, and even become more efficient as time wears on. You can also adapt faster to every changing market conditions and demands.
- Better application quality. DevOps almost always require a shift to continuous integration, which means that every step of the application’s development is tested and monitored. Each change is also tested. It is because of this that Java DevOps can ensure that your Java applications have a positive experience for your users. Plus, DevOps can actually increase security, rather than hinder it.
- You don’t get overwhelmed. You can manage and operate your applications, processes, and infrastructure at scale.
Considerations and Risk Mitigation
Here are the things that you should consider when shifting to DevOps for your Java projects.
- Visibility: It would be very tiresome and difficult to check if your containers have the right configurations or do not contain spyware.
- Vulnerabilities: If there are problems or if you need to update or remove components, it will be very difficult to keep up with different containers.
- Consistency: There might be components that are not reviewed. And if you use microservices, that might also mean more configurations to be checked.
The good news is that there are tools that you can use to help you manage or minimize these risks. These tools include Artifactory, Sonatype Nexus, and RogueWave OpenLogic, as well as a number of open source and paid tools.
Choose the Right Tools
Right now, you have teams developing applications using different programming languages that make their software very complex. One application might have RubyGems, nugget packages, and NodeJS package systems, among others. The reason for this is that developers tend to use the programming language that they are comfortable with. It helps that it is easy to manage these components, with little or no effort at all by automating the management processes.
Developers can also use Docker containers to introduce new components in just minutes, while also allowing them to grab entire stacks. Docker containers help make application development more flexible and faster.
However, you can easily get into trouble, and knowing the right tools can help mitigate that risk. So how do you choose your tools? Choose tools that:
- Have roles and rules that would define who could use certain components from a particular library.
- Are able to integrate with release automation tools. It should also be able to, at the very least, warn you about risky components that are going to be included in your releases.
- Can update components automatically.
- Have a database of known vulnerabilities.
- Have reporting and analytics features on components and the associated metadata.
- Give you an easy way to organize and search for components.
Other tools that you should know include Ansible, Chef, Puppet, Jenkins, Git, dynatrace, CircleCi, LaunchDarkly, Nagios, Monit, and Consul.io, among others.
Additional Resources and Tutorials on Java DevOps
Looking for more insights on Java DevOps? Check out the following resources and tutorials:
- DevOps Tutorials (Java Code Geeks)
- Devops for developers
- DevOps Tutorials (Codementor)
- DevOps Tutorial: Introduction To DevOps
- What are some DevOps tools for Java technology stacks?