DevOps, Technology

What it Takes to Become a Seasoned DevOps Engineer

It’s no secret that in life and business adaptability is the key to survival. All software-driven businesses and organizations that want to stay competitive in this day and age must adapt by seeking business models that allow them to rapidly release new software products and subsequent updates. In other words, they must align their software development and IT operations teams to promote better integration, collaboration, and communication.

In 2017, we continue seeing big companies adopt DevOps practices, and this trend isn’t likely to show the signs of slowing down anytime soon. Indeed, DevOps has become the default way how large enterprises and small startups alike pursue continuous improvement. To become a seasoned DevOps engineer, it’s no longer enough to only embrace DevOps and accumulate knowledge and expertise because embracing DevOps is what everybody is doing.

Seasoned DevOps engineers must be way ahead of the curve, being keenly aware of all the challenges and opportunities the future will bring and understand where technologies are heading. In many cases, this also includes the ability to recognize dead ends a long time before the hype starts to wane. To help you understand the current state of DevOps and its likely future, I present you with the most important DevOps trends that all DevOps engineers should know about.

Artificial Intelligence on the Rise

The DevOps culture is characterized, in many ways, by routine tasks that can be easily repeated. Many of these tasks can be automated already, but, as artificial intelligence and machine learning improve, the scope and complexity of the tasks that can be automated will increase in proportion.

“Machines will enable greater productivity among teams and businesses through the advances that machine learning and automation can offer,” believes Christian Beedgen, CTO of Sumo Logic. Tony Bradley from DevOps.com agrees, “The humans behind the DevOps will be freed from even more mundane tasks and able to focus on more innovative and creative endeavors.”

These future creative endeavors are likely to be supported by operational insight generated by AI-powered tools for analyzing huge data sets produced by applications with thousands of components and countless metrics. Most DevOps teams will likely first encounter such tools when using Azure or AWS cloud services.

It’s paramount for DevOps engineers to greet artificial intelligence as a new ally on the DevOps battlefield and put it to good use. Living in fear and worrying that artificial intelligence could make you expendable only hinders your ability to spot fruitful opportunities and gain an edge over your competition.

Containers Everywhere

Thanks to the proliferation of the microservices architecture, containerization is now in the limelight. Containers are perfect for quick and secure deployment of applications as the sets of compact, decoupled modules developed by small teams. Containers run as isolated processes with minimal runtime overhead and allowance for more agile infrastructure. They’re lightweight because they don’t need the extra load of a hypervisor, and it’s possible to run them directly within host machine.

In their assessment of the benefits and risks of adopting Docker for development and test, continuous integration, production deployment, private PaaS, and cloud portability, Gartner states that 50 percent of enterprises will be running containers in production by the end of 2018. But even many of those enterprises that will take more years to run containers in production already rely on them in development to aid in application development, testing, staging, and bug fixing.

Container management is improving to keep up with the demands of enterprises building multi-container packaged applications running in the cloud. With the launch of Docker 1.12 came the integration of the swarm Container Orchestration directly into the docker engine. “Container Orchestration allows users to define how to coordinate the containers in the cloud when the multi-container packaged application is deployed,” defines Container Orchestration IBM.

Docker Swarm isn’t the only Container Orchestration tool available. There are also open source tools like Kubernetes and paid tools like AWS ECS from Amazon. Marco Troisi, senior software engineer at Bluefin Payment Systems, predicts that Kubernetes will be the de facto industry standard for container orchestration in 2017. If he’s right, DevOps engineers will soon be expected to be deeply familiar with Kubernetes. But regardless of which container orchestration tool will take the lead, containers are the future of DevOps.

Serverless Architectures

Known as Functions-as-a-Service or FaaS, serverless computing is one of the hottest IT trends today, one with the potential to changing the way organizations develop and operate software systems.

Bernard Golden, CEO at Navica and author of “Amazon Web Services for Dummies,” thinks, “Serverless holds the potential for IT organizations to get out of the infrastructure management business completely, and focus on application development and deployment. While IT has always been a domain of constant change, next year will offer more opportunity and challenge to IT organizations than they have ever seen before.”

Serverless computing is in line with the DevOps culture and its constant desire for flexibility, agility, and adaptability. It’s also in line with the shift towards containers as it can eliminate red tape and dramatically increase the overall productivity, freeing DevOps teams from managing server infrastructure and allowing them to devote their time solely to applications.

By far the most popular serverless computing platform today is AWS Lambda, which is provided by Amazon as a part of the Amazon Web Services. Serverless platforms such as AWS Lambda are excellent for start-ups with limited resources as they only pay for the resources they really use to realize their dreams.

Conclusion

Intertwined with modern technologies, DevOps is constantly evolving and embracing innovation. DevOps engineers, both aspiring and existing, must keep up with the relentless pace of technological progress and do their best to stay ahead of the curve. Those who are aware of what the future will bring and in a great position to prepare adequately and capture as many opportunities as possible when they finally come.

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