Swamy is an army veteran, aviation enthusiast, and a Salesforce practitioner with keen interest in business automation and a flair for writing engaging articles. He is a Salesforce certified Administrator with wide management experience in leading multinational corporations in India. He likes to write articles on trust-related issues in Cloud computing.
As the Salesforce platform allows for higher levels of customization, Salesforce has become a pivotal automation solution for many companies of all sizes to manage key company activities like sales, customer service, and data management.
Smaller companies often find platform customization manageable by using Salesforce-native capabilities like change sets to address their needs. However, for larger, more complex organizations, this is impossible to do without the risk of frequent errors due to low version control, and the accumulation of technical debt which affects developing innovative new solutions.
The Salesforce deployment process can be quite tedious for admins, developers, and consultants. Following DevOps best practices to deploy your Salesforce applications will help you counter these challenges as DevOps is a collaborative way of working with all members of a team. It is also one way you can swiftly implement change across your company.
Salesforce offers a handful of free tools that make DevOps easier, and there are also paid applications available throughout the Salesforce platform that offer more comprehensive DevOps services that focus on specific aspects of DevOps.
If your company is small and has a more basic implementation process (with only a small team of developers), you can probably make tasks easier just by using the native tools available in Salesforce, like change sets.
On the other hand, if you are part of a rather large team utilizing several complex products (i.e. Salesforce CPQ), or have many software developers working on multiple sandboxes, tools for the Salesforce DevOps process become critical.
So what exactly are DevOps Tools?
DevOps is a set of practices and tools that facilitate the automation of the software development process. Its focus is primarily on the collaboration between the product management team, the software development team, as well as operations. DevOps also enables teams to automate most of the software development processes like build, conflict management, dependency management, deployment, and helps reduce manual efforts.
In an organization, DevOps works in the cross-functional mode, involving various tools for various designed purposes, instead of just a single tool. An organization that uses DevOps coordinates these tools to fit into one or several production activities like planning, creation, verification, packaging, releasing, configuring, monitoring, and version control. Each phase of the DevOps lifecycle requires certain types of DevOps tools, and it can be said that DevOps tools ensure faster software rollout by greatly reducing the timeframe of setting up the infrastructure.
Reasons why your company might need DevOps tools:
1. Locating and fixing bugs early is cheaper
The longer errors are allowed to remain in the system, the more costly they become to fix. System bugs diminish user experience and jeopardize an update's usefulness if they are undetected. Helping to locate coding errors as they occur, code quality tools help reduce maintenance cost by ensuring proper functionality.
2. Consistency for the end user
Customer experience becomes unpleasant when an application doesn’t work the way the customer expects it should. On the other hand, an application that consistently functions without a hitch will make customers view your company on a positive light. Code quality tools help make this possible.
3. Enable quicker release rates
Companies always have to be abreast on the latest trends in the needs and demands of customers as these are ever changing. Discovering, fixing, and re-testing errors in your code can consume a lot of development time. Ensuring that your code is healthy before moving it to the next stage saves you time and allows for team members to focus on what's next.
4. Reduction in failed deployments
Coding errors greatly contribute to failed deployments and code quality tools test code as they get written to ensure better coding. This measure increases the chances of successful deployment by catching errors like continuous integration and continuous delivery.
5. Enable developers to innovate more
If your developers are dedicating too much of their time fixing bugs and issues, they are not going to be as innovative as you might want them to be. Correcting errors late in the DevOps process will reduce the amount of time team members are able to innovate. Therefore, preventing this allows your team more time to produce better quality work.
6. Assure data security with stronger code
Data security is a concern for all companies and a terrible scenario would be that coding errors will make your data susceptible to cybercriminals. Code quality tools eliminate these errors, protecting your data from cybercriminals.
7. Helps diminish technical debt
Code quality tools will correct issues as they happen, therefore allowing your team to address them in a timely manner without creating technical debt. Technical debt is basically creating an easy fix now and repaying for it later.
How will your business benefit from DevOps tools?
1. Speedy and fruitful deployments
DevOps teams can automate each phase of the software development lifecycle, allowing for faster deployment of products with efficiency and quality.
2. Optimized incident response strategy
Prompt incident response will enable your company to respond and resolve an incident quickly and efficiently, preventing business disruption. The tool can prepare incident reports by absorbing and analyzing data from all impacted systems.
3. Advanced software quality
Software issues affect the discharge timeline and hurt the development process. The tool can help DevOps teams proactively identify bugs, prioritize them on importance, and work on them.
4. Automation of workflow
Workflow tools absorb and analyze end-to-end business data. With appropriate tools at your perusal, you'll automate the information capture process in real-time and give teams access to the information by building a dashboard that visualizes operational data.
5. Security of data
As mentioned earlier, security is of utmost importance. DevOps tools can prevent undesired data breaches. They enable better deployment without putting the integrity of the features of the releases and updates at stake.
What DevOps tools are right for your team?
Here are some points to consider when choosing the right DevOps tools for your team:
1. Look into a DevOps tool that allows your development team to plan, and one that offers a sprint planning feature.
2. Consider a DevOps tool that provides highly effective collaboration features.
3. Choosing a DevOps tool that offers support for various automation tools and API tools is the best for your team.
4. Choose a DevOps tool that allows your team to store configuration in version control.
5. Consider DevOps tools which offer both automated and manual ways to increase productivity in your DevOps processes.
6. Your team should prioritize a tool that provides continuous integration.
7. Your team’s DevOps tool should provide automated deployment and release dashboards for better visibility.
8. Your team should consider a DevOps tool that offers both application as well as server performance monitoring.
How to choose the best DevOps tools for your team?
Some factors to consider when choosing the right DevOps tools for you are as follows:
1. Should be able to Integrate with other tools.
2. Should have robust API support.
3. Should have cross-platform support.
4. Should meet the requirement of automation for different processes of software development.
5. Range of customizations offered.
6. Easy to use and manage with a central dashboard.
7. Good track record of performance.
8. Price of the tool.
9. Support for continuous integration and continuous delivery. 10. Availability of Cloud support.
11. Easy and real-time collaboration features inbuilt.
12. Bug detection and bug fixing capabilities.
13. Monitoring and analytics features.
14. How good their customer support is.
What types of DevOps Tools are available for your team?
The tools available are under the following categories:
utility of tool
Project management tools
For compiling a stock of user requirements that form coding projects, dividing them into smaller tasks, and monitoring the task until completion.
ASCII text file repositories
Coding spaces that enable multiple developers to figure on an equivalent code base simultaneously. These code repository tools must integrated with CI/CD, security, and testing tools, in order for the code to automatically move to the subsequent step when it's committed to the repository.
Continuous integration and deployment pipelines
Continuous integration and deployment tools that automate code building, testing, and deployment.
Test automation tools
Comprises of software tools for automating all testing processes like unit testing, functional testing, contract testing, usability testing, performance testing, penetration testing, and security testing.
Configuration management tools
These tools help run your infrastructure as code, preventing unwanted configuration changes across various environments. These tools allow DevOps teams to configure fully versioned and documented infrastructure just by executing a script.
These tools allow DevOps teams to detect and rectify system issues. As data is collected and analyzed in real-time, insights are provided into how code changes affect application performance.
Continuous feedback tools
Feedback is automated and it helps DevOps engineers deal with customer issues and improve product quality accordingly.
Artifact repositories store all the heavy binary artifact files that are due to be updated or changed.
Issue tracking tools
Catalogs and tracks issues allowing DevOps teams to trace them quickly to resolve them.
Communication and collaboration tools
Enable multiple teams of developers, testers, operations teams, etc. to work together.
Provide the required transparency across the organization, stakeholders, employees, and clients.
Often installed and managed by in-house developers or sometimes outsourced, these tools automate workflow processes to create, test, deliver, and deploy software applications.
Centralized storage location for critical assets like data, code, documentation, configurations, and files, that will categorize data into different branches for the various teams to work on.
Enables organizations to handle hefty data with ease, automating the method of importing and exporting system data. Moving a lot of records across multiple environments is thus made easy.
In this article, we just discussed some of the reasons why your company might need DevOps tools. Bear in mind that every team's approach and DevOps requirements are going to be different. DevOps methodologies are also changing with new tools and technologies coming in, which is going to revolutionize the industry further and make your DevOps journey better.
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