India is seeing an unprecedented boom in startups with industry body, Nasscom, predicting that the country will be hosting the second largest startup ecosystem in the world in the next two years. By 2020, Nasscom is predicting that India will see close to 11,500 technology startups employing 2.5 lakh people.
Given this context, Indian startups are in a race to quickly build world class software, and are adopting DevOps-based practices in a big way. DevOps is perfect for startups as it helps them eliminate the time spent in configuring software and doing deployments across multiple environments. As DevOps blurs the gap between software development and the infrastructure that powers it, startups can focus more on ensuring that software that is developed is quickly validated.
“As a startup product company, the use of DevOps infrastructure tools brings a significant tracking and implementation ease to our deployments. The other area of importance for small product companies like ours is that DevOps allows us to be nimble enough to have quick turnaround on specific feature requests,” states Gunasekaran R,CEO, Fractalio Data.
Startup firms do not have any legacy infrastructure or a legacy mindset, which makes them far more suited to adopt a DevOps-based approach than large IT services firms, who may find it harder to quickly change their traditional approach. For example, in the traditional approach, developers work on releases and give it to the testers who then give it to the deployers to test out the software. As every department has a set function, neither department has a clue on what the other does.
DevOps changes this traditional paradigm of software development completely through a continuous approach – where code is automatically tested and deployed. Based on feedback, the developer improves the product through rapid releases, which allows the software product to be more thoroughly tested — ultimately leading to a product of great quality.
“Today, Dev and Ops work in unison to keep the systems up and running. The question of ‘This is not my issue’ is long gone. This leads to a better team and better focus,” declares Prasanna Raghavendra, CTO at Cloudmunch. Prasanna gives the example of implementation of ELK by the Ops team, which helps developers to search logs to understand issues across environments. This approach has elevated the appreciation of Ops by developers.
DevOps suits startup culture
Just as lean manufacturing became the rage in the world of manufacturing when it was first introduced as a concept by Toyota, DevOps is being adopted similarly in the startup world. Startups need to develop, rapid iterate and get a product quickly in the market – all principles that are part of a DevOps approach.
“It’s evident that when an idea goes through an implementation, there are plenty of changes/requirements needed to align the solution with market realities. Hence, DevOps practices become imperative for startups as it allows them to constantly review and accommodate the changes during implementation with no extra cost and time,” states Sandeep Nambiar, Head – Operations & Customer Service, bestdealfinance.com.
Adopting a DevOps approach has helped the company to maintain a seamless connect between the main site and other micro sites. “Because of DevOps practices that we followed, we were able to start parallel development on our requirement to integrate the sites, which we tested at logical intervals. Currently, the system design is such that it allows us to accommodate most of the IT operations activity through the admin console itself. Today, we are able to add processes to meet business requirements without cost and time escalation,” states Sandeep.
Similarly, Fractalio Data uses DevOps tools and practices to respond quickly to customer requests. Explains Gunasekaran R, “Our use of SaltStack in our internal product development cycle brings a significant ease of tracking and predictability to a fast changing product. Given our size and overall style of functioning using such practices , we are able to turnaround prototypes/betas in a very quick timeframe and are able to architect new types of solutions that respond to unique customer needs very quickly – something that companies with more formal and traditional methodologies cannot do.”
With the world increasingly moving towards as-a-service model, DevOps will see more traction among startups as they seek to expand and scale quickly in a world that expects IT to move faster and respond quickly to changing business models.