How to Implement DevOps for E-commerce Companies by@OpsWorks Co.

How to Implement DevOps for E-commerce Companies

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OpsWorks Co.

A DevOps Consulting company.

In the e-commerce industry, the key to success is instant delivery and constant updates. To keep up with new trends, your website must be flexible and comprehensible. This presents developers with a daunting challenge: they must update websites and applications with new features and functions. The hardest part is to do all of this without compromising the quality of the service.

DevOps implementation for E-commerce companies provides a bunch of amazing new opportunities. With DevOps for e-commerce, you can increase the productivity of e-commerce development projects. DevOps can bridge the gap between developers and management departments, thus removing clots in the deployment process and creating a more dynamic approach to development and release. Read on to discover other advantages of DevOps for e-commerce companies.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a methodology for software development processes. It combines development (Dev) and technical support operations (Ops) that automate the infrastructure, processes, and performance of released applications. The DevOps model distributes responsibility for each team member through communication and interactions between them, which helps avoid internal conflicts in the organization. The methodology allows you to create quality software faster, and most importantly, to provide a better IT service.

Companies use DevOps to move from traditional delivery models of IT products to a continuous process through the integration of product teams and the use of automation.

Combination with Agile

The best results from using DevOps can be achieved in combination with Agile. Agile and DevOps are software development process methodologies. Its essence lies in the division of the project into smaller modules, which allows customers to control the progress of work at all stages of the life cycle and to make their own amendments. Developers can respond to customer requests immediately, making the software development process more flexible. One of the downsides to Agile is the poor interaction between the development loop and the operations loop. These flaws are addressed by DevOps. It bridges the communication gap between development and management, which increases the frequency of application updates for better and faster results. The DevOps model does not preclude Agile but supplements it with its own practices.

E-commerce IT Needs

Online businesses have one major task: to satisfy constantly growing customer demands. This isn’t limited to just the quality of service — if your website speed is low, your potential client will choose one that's faster and you won't even have a chance to prove that you have the best goods/services. So, E-commerce websites have particular demands for IT:

  • fast and flexible release of new features and functionality;
  • instant correction of errors;
  • fluent service;
  • low-cost  infrastructure support;
  • solid feedback system;
  • swift data processing/security.

These requirements can only be met if a company uses cloud services, microservice architecture, and containerization technologies for rapid deployment in different environments. In this case, the maximum effect can be achieved if you use DevOps.

DevOps for Endless E-commerce Evolution

Digitalization changes the business processes and culture of the company, increases productivity: the routine work of employees is automated, allowing them to concentrate on higher priority or creative tasks. As a result, companies are able to increase profits and compete on the vast IT market. This is exactly what your e-commerce business receives from DevOps best practices integration.

Flexible Low-Risk Releases

The ability to produce frequent, predictable, low-risk releases in a productive environment makes the process more flexible and reduces the time it takes to deliver new business benefits to companies. Testing of promising business hypotheses is accelerating testing of new models and tools, and further - bringing the most effective ones into production.

With more frequent releases, teams receive immediate feedback on the product and can react immediately, creating conditions for continuous learning and product improvement. In addition, automated quality control prevents issues from leaking into test and production environments and therefore streamlines the use of valuable team resources.

Continuous Integration & Continuous Delivery

Continuous Integration (CI) and Continuous Delivery (CD) are a concept in the DevOps methodology. The goal is to reduce the number of errors in the program code, speed up the process of detecting them, and improve the quality of the product. The essence of CI\CD is to regularly change the program code (several times a day). Further, the program code is entered into the repository, followed by assembly and testing. Testing is carried out after each change in the program code. This concept allows you to detect errors at an earlier stage, which will help save time on fixing it, because the later the bug is found, the more difficult it is to fix. And, of course, it is difficult to imagine the use of the software without delivering software to the consumer. Therefore, the CD is a must for a well-functioning DevOps e-commerce project

Automation of Testing Process

During the planning phase of product development, the DevOps model decides what architecture the application and service will use and how they will scale. Once the code is written and the application is created, the IT team can use DevOps to automate the testing process - all errors in the code will be quickly corrected. This improves the quality of the product, and users won’t notice crashes, bug fixes, or updates.

Perception of Infrastructure as Code 

Infrastructure is made up of the servers, networking, and software that keep things running. The concept of treating infrastructure as code allows you to consider the infrastructure with its internal processes as simple code, flexible, and easily changeable. You can make one change in the code and the site will change. It's the same with infrastructure. If it is built according to the principles of DevOps, then one small change in the code is enough to create a new server or change the security settings. This eliminates the need for manual configuration and updating of individual components of the entire system. This ease of infrastructure change makes it easy to learn, audit, and scale.

Note: if you use DevOps when setting up the infrastructure for an online store, databases, code layouts, and/or automatic update processes, then recreating a similar store will take little time, and no system features will be lost. The entire infrastructure will be described in the form of one code; it will not need to be assembled into separate components of servers and databases. The monitoring of possible errors during store transfer will also be automatic thanks to the automation of testing processes.

The administrator will be able to implement the migration task even without immersion in the system; he will only need to use the code that describes the infrastructure. But if the first store was originally created manually, without using DevOps best practices, then the system will also have to be recreated manually, raising all the original codes, databases, and servers. In addition, many mistakes can be made due to negligence, and this can significantly lengthen the process.

Multifunctionality of Programmers

With DevOps, developers don't just write code, they understand how it affects the project. While it might seem that this isn't within the realm of developers, but rather managers or product specialists, this simply isn't the case. This approach increases the involvement of programmers in the work. Developers take on the same level of responsibility as others, and this improves the quality of the code.

Pros of DevOps for E-commerce

If you use the basic tools of DevOps for e-commerce, it allows you to implement continuous monitoring and have full control over all systems, processes, and services. Here are some of the benefits that it brings companies:

  • DevOps culture pushes teams to increase the frequency of changes. This allows even small changes or improvements to be made faster, more reliably, and more securely. And most importantly, if something goes wrong, you can quickly return to the previous version of the product and immediately fix the errors.
  • DevOps automates and reduces the cost of IT product development. Like Henry Ford's assembly line, which allowed for mass and high-quality assembly of a car, DevOps best practices allow IT solutions manufacturers to make their products more complex, less costly, and convenient for the end-user.
  • DevOps approaches and practices can be used directly by consumers. Cloud solutions are a good example. They combine both the development and final consumption of a product. For example, cloud-based CRM and ERP systems are developed on the principles of continuous deployment and are immediately used by end-users. This allows companies to save money on network infrastructure, and users get instant updates.

Developing a DevOps Culture in Your Company

DevOps is a change in both technologies and the culture of their development, adaptation, implementation in practice. In DevOps, applications are built and further supported by a single product team through the use of automation techniques for deployment, environment setup, configuration, monitoring, and testing.

The classic roadmap for the transition to DevOps has two directions:

  • planning cultural, process, and organizational changes, primarily through the introduction of a format for the work of cross-functional product teams with a sufficient set of competencies necessary to create value for the business in accordance with the profile and requirements of the product;
  • technological upgrade, which implies the introduction of CI/CD tools and practices to automate changes in functionality when deploying to the required environments.

The first step in implementing DevOps for e-commerce is setting up closer contacts between developers and system administrators. They should have a common goal: to show and implement the generated code as quickly as possible. To do this, they need to understand at least one of the DevOps tools for continuous integration and deployment systems such as GitLab CI, Jenkins, Teamcity, or their cloud counterparts.

If DevOps best practices are built into a company from scratch, then it will be correct to organize a team whose task is to develop a single corporate DevOps platform. Product teams will be able to enter it with their own code and receive the necessary action plan within the framework of the platform for the designated development goals.

This approach provides the necessary level of support for product teams from specialists responsible for the development of the DevOps platform. In turn, feedback from product teams regarding DevOps projects helps to form a better service and expand the functionality of such a platform.

Final Word

DevOps practices have become the standard for effective product development, and no Agile project is complete without them. The demand for their implementation continues to grow as business needs for new products and new functionality evolve. This process is, in fact, endless, which means that everyone who relies on digitalization and innovative growth strategies will have to accept DevOps as the main methodology.


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