How do you measure a DevOps strategy? In this article, we deepen the six principal useful DevOps metrics.
Implementing a DevOps strategy without being able to measure its effectiveness risks nullifying the investments made. So let's see the main DevOps metrics that you need to monitor in order to succeed.
The DevOps approach merges the skills of 'development' (Dev) with those of 'operations' (Ops) in Feature Teams that share working practices and principles and, thanks to certain software tools, develop a code distribution pipeline, as much automated as possible.
The ways of adopting DevOps have not crystallized, but evolve over time, in search of the best 'recipe' of tools, processes and skills that can lead to achieving your goals.
In particular, we find confirmation of the increased popularity of DevOps in the increasing propensity to standardize the use of test automation to maintain high quality standards, as highlighted by the thirteenth edition of the World Quality Report 2021-22 by Capgemini, Sogeti and Micro Focus.
Production: IaC, CI / CD and quality control
Various metrics can be monitored throughout the entire DevOps cycle, which hinges on three fundamental cornerstones: infrastructure automation, iterative CI / CD development, quality control and maintenance.
With regard to infrastructure automation, Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is a fundamental practice and is implemented with the use of tools such as Terraform or Ansible. The necessary infrastructure is defined with text-type scripts, allowing the automation of operations and the related deployment of the entire IT environment: hardware, opsys, network, virtual machines, and containers. The high repeatability of these operations allows you to automatically carry out a large part of the testing.
Speaking about the code, continuous integration and continuous delivery are modern development approaches. In summary, CI / CD development streamlines and automates the phases of development, testing and deployment of code, enabling a fully integrated development pipeline. The supporting tools, with different approaches, are numerous: Jenkins, Puppet, SaltStack, Git, Newman, Cypress, Test Runner, and others.
The monitoring and reporting phases require identifying the most relevant company-wide metrics starting from the build history. At this stage, a complete visibility of the parameters is important, so the quality of the dashboard becomes crucial.
What are the main DevOps metrics to monitor?
You can identify an effective set of metrics in the DevOps field. The main ones are six, distinguished by the abbreviations DF, CDT, LT, CFR, MTTR and CTV.
Let's see them briefly.
1. Deployment Frequency (DF)
The number of releases in a given time period is one of the first DevOps metrics to look at. It can involve several events, including manual scripts, automated release pipelines, and APIs calls.
Increasing the frequency of distribution reduces the number of overall errors.
2. Commit-to-Deploy Time (CDT)
Between commit and deploy there are several intermediate steps that can slow down or even block the release. The CDT measurement allows you to understand the existence of any problems and to solve them.
3. Lead Time (LT)
The Lead Time parameter records the time it takes to implement, test, and deploy the code. The correct measurement of times allows you to identify the operations that can be optimized through automation.
4. Change Failure Rate (CFR)
Among the important DevOps metrics to measure we find the CFR, which allows you to analyze whether the automation and optimization operations implemented are really effective: that is, they do not produce an excessive number of errors. When correlated with other parameters (DF, CDT), CFR offers the best quality / cost ratio.
5. Mean Time to Recovery (MTTR)
Once you make a mistake, how long does it take to fix the problem? MTTR management is a key point of the collaboration between Devs and Ops, and requires sophisticated application monitoring tools.
6. Customer Ticket Volume (CTV)
It is one of the metrics of end user satisfaction, as it measures how many errors or bugs bypass the tests and end up in production, bringing users to open tickets.
DevOps: a structured and lasting solution
We have seen how the DevOps approach is very structured, even if its implementation methods are open, since its introduction. Therefore, DevOps should be set gradually, by involving the designated people and identifying the most suitable tools, taking into consideration all the business processes.
The adoption of this methodology allows the development team to be continuously updated on the required methods and practices, increasing the robustness of the overall process and, gradually, reducing development costs. DevOps metrics are an important reference point for measuring the effectiveness of the implementation of a DevOps strategy over time, respecting the expected results.
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