Current DevOps Problems & How Scout APM Solves Them
Most software companies rely on DevOps at some scale to aid their software development and deployment processes. DevOps has recently seen a major increase in popularity due to the advent of cloud-based tools and automation possibilities. DevOps can help you completely forget the woes of deploying software and focus better on building better apps and providing a holistic experience for your end user.
However, just like other things in tech, DevOps is not perfect. Multiple roadblocks exist in setting up the perfect DevOps process for an app. This article will look at some of the prominent challenges companies face regarding DevOps and how APM can solve them.
Defining DevOps and its challenges
DevOps can be defined as a set of practices, tools, and philosophies that help automate and connect the processes between software development and IT teams. DevOps helps to bring software and IT teams closer. It equips the engineers to better understand the software delivery process while maintaining high code quality.
Here are some of the prominent challenges that DevOps faces in today’s world.
Bugs in Releases
It is common for releases to contain bugs as they are rolled out to users. In the testing phase, you cannot achieve 100% code coverage and detect such issues. More often than not, some issues are encountered by your users and end up causing a bad experience for them. In some cases, the bugs might be big enough to take down the entire application hampering your revenue and stopping you from meeting your set SLAs.
Lack of Visibility Into How Each Component is Performing
Other than tackling downtimes, you must be aware of what’s causing them and prevent them at an earlier stage if possible. One way to do this is to look into the performance of each of your app’s components independently.
It is common for localized bugs to create performance bottlenecks in a limited set of components of the app. You can quickly take action on such bugs if you understand the components they are affecting. Unfortunately, the standard DevOps practices do not house any methods to gain visibility natively into your app components' performance.
Lack of awareness of production issues and downtime
One of the common reasons why downtimes run as long as they do is that it takes a lot of time to detect and identify a downtime event. Often, new users end up running into a bug and report it to your support, from where you get to know that the latest release has an issue. In an ideal world, your application should be intelligent enough to detect such issues on its own and mitigate them while your team works on a permanent fix.
The DevOps processes can only do so much to detect bugs early. You need a dedicated agent that can either test your app thoroughly once it goes into production, track user experience to understand when issues occur, or sit inside the app to see how it performs when it is being used.
Great Amount of Production Support Needed
Since applications aren’t self-equipped to handle downtimes, it comes down to your support teams to handle these effectively. This increases the workload for your support teams. You need to invest in customer support and incident response systems to ensure that critical issues are handled on priority.
In some cases, this can also increase the workload for your development teams as, ultimately, they are responsible for releasing fixes and patches that will ultimately solve such issues. If you have a system of knowing when an issue is about to occur, you could silently release the needed patches and prevent chaos.
Introducing Application Performance Monitoring (APM)
There is, however, one simple solution to all the issues listed above—Application Performance Monitoring (APM). APM tools can help you keep an eye on your application once a release is created and moves through the testing and deployment phases. You get to see how your new release performs against your preset tests and understand if there’s room for improvement in either the release or your tests.
APM tools can also help you understand how your app functions in everyday situations. With an awareness of your app’s natural performance numbers, you can easily understand when it is behaving abnormally. You can go into the details of each component’s performance and see if you can fine-tune your app's individual components.
How APM can help solve DevOps problems
The biggest way APM solves DevOps problems is by providing visibility into your app releases. Once you understand your app’s internal functioning, running RCA and fixing issues becomes easier.
Other than that, APMs also help you to understand the performance and reception of each of your releases. You get to see how each release affects the overall code quality and user experience, and you can easily improve your app architecture or individual components.
The benefits of using APM to solve DevOps problems
Here are some reasons you should use APMs to solve DevOps problems.
Identify Issues Early & Decrease Chances of Downtimes
One of the most significant benefits of using APM is that you are notified as and when issues occur in your application. Early detection of issues can save thousands of dollars you would otherwise lose in downtimes. In some cases, detecting an issue early can even save you from downtime.
If an APM can detect a buggy release before your users discover it, you can quickly roll back to a previous version while you fix the issue. Without this early warning system, you are forced to handle downtime and resolution simultaneously.
Get an Understanding of Performance Bottlenecks
Apart from identifying issues that might lead to downtime, you can also understand how each component performs. if an endpoint, for example, runs into a dearth of resources or is eating up too many resources, you get to know about it before it takes down your entire application.
With the help of APMs, you can understand how to structure your application’s architecture to ensure judicious distribution of hardware resources. Without this understanding, you are vulnerable to any tiny component taking down your entire app and leaving you with no clue about what went wrong.
Learn How Each Release is Performing
Since most DevOps practices are built around release lifecycles, APM software can help you understand the performance and reception. APM software can help you track how each of your releases performs and understand if a new release took down the overall experience for your end users.
Furthermore, you can also understand how the release affected each component of your App. you can visualize how each endpoint’s performance was impacted when a new release was rolled out. with the help of this information, you can now direct your app development efforts to ensure maximum performance in all areas.
Automate Responses to Failure
Using the early detection feature of APMs, you can understand when downtime is about to occur. but what if the downtime occurs before you can take any action? APM software can help you trigger automated responses triggered once a set threshold is reached. In many cases, it can come in handy to mitigate the issue while the team works to understand its cause.
Let's say the APM detects that the memory usage for a particular endpoint suddenly went over a safety threshold. in that case, the APM can trigger a series of actions that increases the available memory for the endpoint while sending out an alert to your incident response team to investigate why this sudden spike in memory usage was encountered. This way, your APM tool can proactively look out for issues that would otherwise cause harm to your application’s uptime.
DevOps is possibly one of the best things to happen to software and IT teams. With the adoption of DevOps, the two teams have developed a better understanding of each others’ work, which has helped improve the end-user experience by shipping better code effectively.
However, there are still a few missing pieces in the puzzle of DevOps that can be filled best using APM tools. This guide showed how APM tools easily solve the most prominent DevOps problems. If you are looking for an APM tool to do all that we discussed in this article, check out Scout APM. Scout offers a 14-day free trial that can help you understand the difference it will make in your DevOps processes.