Most organizations that adopt DevOps do so to improve collaboration between teams, so everyone works towards the goal of developing (and delivering) high-quality software to end-users.
However, many organizations also embrace DevOps to build systems with high uptime. These are primarily organizations that use mission-critical applications and need extremely high availability and uptime so drive business outcomes.
Despite all the advances in technology, outages are a common phenomenon across industries. While a few seconds of downtime is usually not a problem, several instances of prolonged downtime can wreak havoc for businesses – especially those that require 24×7 availability of the mission-critical applications. Such unplanned downtime can not only lead to substantial costs, it can also severely impact customer experience, business reputation, and market position.
Take the example of a healthcare institution. Doctors and nurses need to constantly be able to access stored patient records – including medical history, prescribed medication, lab results, dietary restrictions, allergy information and more – to provide the right quality of care. Even the slightest technical disruption or sluggish performance can lead to delayed treatments – which not only impacts the business of healthcare institutions but also puts patients’ lives at risk. The same can be said about the financial trading sector, where organizations need round-the-clock availability and uptime of trading systems – especially when volumes swell and volatility spikes.
Although there is no foolproof way for companies to prevent outages, embracing DevOps can greatly improve uptime. DevOps can not only help detect and manage planned (and unplanned) downtimes, but it can also help teams build a robust backup and disaster recovery strategy while enabling them to carry out end-to-end application performance management.
By strengthening the incident management process, teams can enable redundancy, minimize alert noise, and rollback bad releases – before they impact customer experience.
|Uptime in the DevOps context has a lot to do with determining what measurements and thresholds for uptime are sufficient for the company. By finalizing metrics to quantify and laying down a process to measure and monitor them across the DevOps lifecycle, teams can monitor (and maintain) uptime and take preventive actions to reduce the frequency of failures as well as the time between two failures.|
Metrics also allow teams to implement tools to reduce coding issues and thus bring the time to repair or resolve issues – while greatly bringing down error rates. They are a great way to track quality problems, performance, and uptime-related issues, and ensure deployments do not cause outages or major issues for users.
Uptime is a valuable metric that can enable teams to understand the availability of their service or application which is key to sustaining customer satisfaction. It also indicates how quickly teams can respond to issues and resolve them – without affecting application performance or availability. If teams can quantify the amount of planned + unplanned downtime, they can take steps to proactively deal with issues and ensure a 99.95% or equivalent SLAs. That said, here are some business metrics correlated to uptime that DevOps teams can capture to understand how often incidents occur and how quickly they can respond to and resolve those incidents to maintain uptime:
DevOps teams trying to achieve high uptime often end up spending an immense amount of time and cost – which tends to delay time-to-market. Therefore, while designing processes to ensure high uptime, teams should learn to find the right balance between quality and cost in a way that best meets their needs.
|Most failures that DevOps teams experience are because the underlying infrastructure is unable to scale that causes the application to crash. Integrated Infrastructure as code (Category 2 and 3 – DevOps) is a great approach to overcome failures caused due to infrastructure limitations. Such an approach allows team members to write code to create and manage the infrastructure as well as control changes using updated code.|
Here are some considerations to keep in mind while designing a high uptime implementation strategy:
For several industries, high uptime of systems and applications can mean the difference between success and failure. Although modern-day code is extremely complex and fragile, it is critical for certain industries to ensure code works as intended – without causing any downtime or unavailability issues.
Since even a few seconds of downtime can have a far-reaching impact on reputation and revenue, embracing DevOps is a sure-shot way of enhancing (and ensuring) high uptime of applications. Using DevOps, teams can quantify an array of uptime metrics and take the right steps to improve uptime.