New on StackedUp: The 2019 Guide to Tech Stack Management | Check it out >

The Airstack Team’s POV on DevOps

When you think about DevOps, technology is probably the first thing that springs to mind. But it’s more than that – DevOps is a cultural movement. One that stresses an agile and collaborative relationship between developers and IT operations, brings greater speed to the application development lifecycle, and improves the end user experience.

In order to actualize the mindset and practice of DevOps, you need to learn, use and share a set of technologies.

Illustration of groups holding tech logos

That’s something we discovered a long time ago as we built our own DevOps tech stack. We built a foundation using Amazon Web Services, and added tools onto it – Amazon CloudWatch, Loggly, and others. Over time, our stack has grown to include GitHub and CodeSummit for source code repository, Jenkins for continuous delivery and Slack for collaboration.

Is it really all about the tools?

That’s what works for us, but there are many other solutions out there that could serve you just as well. Other technologies include Microsoft Azure, developer tools (Python and Java), source code repository tools (GitHub, GitLab, and Atlassian), continuous integration technologies (CircleCI and Spinnaker), and continuous delivery platforms (Chef, Puppet, and Red Hat Ansible). You could also add container orchestration services and security products to the mix (54% of DevOps professionals are now taking on security on behalf of their organizations).

The trick is managing all of it, which is no small feat. The number of available tools and their capabilities is changing rapidly. According to DevOps.com, the market for DevOps tech is expected to outpace the rest of the IT market by 18%, hitting $8.8 billion by 2023.

How we manage it all

Simply selecting the right tool can be a headache, but we also had to figure out ways to support and handle them. Each new tool added to any DevOps stack brings one more log-in to manage, more user documentation to catalog and reference, and potential integrations to be mindful of.

In addition, the larger a DevOps stack gets, the harder it becomes for new hires to adapt to the technology the business uses. This is particularly true for DevOps teams who overwhelmingly prefer open source over proprietary software. Although open source code is free, navigating the landscape is a complex process. Each tool must be tested, evaluated, and managed. This discovery process generates a ton of information that must be easily accessed and distributed to stakeholders.

Pro tip: Map it all out

DevOps is all about gaining agility and efficiency, but a growing and disheveled tech stack can undermine those efforts. One way around this is to look for a better way to visualize and access the tools that your company’s teams are using.

We found that organizing our DevOps tools into an internal app catalog to be a useful first step. By mapping each tool to every layer in our DevOps stack anyone, including new hires, could see each element of our DevOps technology ecosystem.

Here’s a simple example of how we mapped it out on the free Slide tool from the Airstack team.

Screenshot of Airstack DevOps Stack

https://slide.airstack.com/view/airstack-devops-stack

If you wanted to take it a step further, our official Airstack lets you add documents, screenshots, training videos, and other resources – in a centralized dashboard view – so all the critical expertise has a home. This places everyone on the same page with easy access to any DevOps tool your company has invested in, and the expertise needed to become a pro at each.

If you’re in the early stages of transitioning to DevOps, this discipline of tech stack management is especially useful. When you have a clean slate it’s easier to assess and identify the different applications you have at your disposal. You can set things up so that everyone has visibility into what tools you have (or are still discovering), how to use them, and opportunities to maximize integrations, even as your tech stack grows in the future.

The promise of DevOps achieved!

Tech stack management is often applied to marketing, sales or HR stacks where digital addiction is resulting in the overprovisioning and overlap of tools, data silos, and confusing the customer experience. But, as IT leaders continue to promote the DevOps culture and vendors respond with a gazillion “DevOps technologies”, we’ve tried to bake in the practice of tech stack management from the beginning. We’ve found that the more you can reach across departments, facilitate collaboration, and help teams have a better idea of the solutions available to them and how to use them, the better positioned you’ll be to support a DevOps mentality.

If you’re not sure where to start with mapping your own DevOps tech stack, check out these example tech stacks made in Airstack. Or, if you’ve got a tech stack you want to map out, knock it out in minutes on Airstack Slide.

Learn more at Airstack.com.