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Delivery Manager at Relevant Software

DevOps for SaaS Projects: When You Need It and How to Implement It

DevOps

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Indeed, Software as a Service (Saas) is the most attractive business model nowadays. It provides Saas entrepreneurs with quality code and a scalable application environment that satisfies customer needs with no investment risk. 

However, there is a slight clarification. You can release the true value of Saas only by combining it with DevOps, ensuring process efficiency and continuous improvement to deliver infrastructure-ready solutions.

DevOps for SaaS bridge the existing gap between development and operations, accelerate time to market, lower operational costs, and, according to 48% of companies surveyed, is extremely important for business development. These benefits are driving the global DevOps software market to sustainable growth. It will reach $12 billion by 2026, up from $2.9 billion in 2017.

According to ResearchAndMarkets, the global DevOps software market will grow from $2.9 billion in 2017 to $12 billion by 2026.

Since Relevant is a SaaS software company and an experienced DevOps service provider, we will explain why we use DevOps from a technical and practical standpoint and why DevOps outsourcing services are an excellent investment for the future.

What is DevOps?

DevOps, or merging development (Dev) and operations (Ops), is an organizational approach that speeds up application development and simplifies the maintenance of existing deployments. The paradigm brings together not only development and operations (DevOps) but also QA (QAOps), security (DevSecOps), processes, and tools.

DevOps is all about “fueling business transformation,” one of his authorities, Robert Stroud, once said. Implementing DevOps practices using specialized software solutions is the entire way to increase production without losing quality. This set of rules and techniques helps companies deliver services or products continuously, shortening the software development lifecycle.

More conceptually, you can define DevOps as an interdisciplinary community of practice focused on the study of building, developing, and operating flexible and agile systems at any scale. The emphasis on quality and service DevOps borrowed from Lean and Agile.

 The DevOps Lifecycle

The benefits of DevOps for a SaaS project

The goal of DevOps is to empower companies to create more reliable environments for their products in a shorter time frame. Long-term analysis, published in the annual Accelerate State of DevOps Report, has shown that effective DevOps organizations develop and deploy software much faster while adhering to all critical operational requirements for end-user service availability.

High-performing DevOps teams, compared to low-performing colleagues or those who are still undecided about adopting DevOps, succeed in:

  • Deploy code 46 times more often.
  • Reduce lead time from commitment to deployment by 440 times;
  • Show 96x faster downtime recovery;
  • Have a five times lower failure rate when replacing (the probability of unsuccessful changes is 1/5 times higher).

What are the advantages of DevOps for a SaaS company? 

It’s no secret that most tech companies, startups, and multinationals use DevOps to meet the ever-growing demand for software and applications. All tech giants like Amazon, Etsy, Netflix, and Facebook have successfully implemented DevOps practices in their organizations.

DevOps is also essential for growing SaaS companies or startups to reach their strategic goal faster and gain an edge in the highly competitive SaaS market.

It is DevOps that can eliminate most of the delays in software development. The trick is that developers can respond to business needs in near real-time. They no longer need to sacrifice speed (deployment frequency; time to market;) in favor of product stability and vice versa. The DevOps paradigm assumes they maintain both parameters at a high level, applying appropriate DevOps best practices.

We can distinguish three groups of benefits:

Technical advantages

  • A faster solution to the problem
  • Reducing the number of human errors
  • Less complex project management process
  • Smoother product life cycle with continuous delivery

Cultural benefits

  • Motivated, productive, and happier teams
  • Suitable employees for specific tasks
  • Improved opportunities for professional development and knowledge sharing between departments

Business benefits

  • Faster time to market for new functions or products
  • A more stable and resilient operating environment
  • Improving interagency cooperation and communication
  • Introducing innovations and creating new features for customers

DevOps for SaaS project: 7 best practices overview

While the benefits of DevOps are immense, adopting this approach is not a piece of cake. Creating a DevOps culture (such as shared responsibility) and implementing practices such as continuous delivery and deployment requires new organizational capabilities and innovative methods and tools for some, if not all, software development activities.

We will list the DevOps best practices to optimize the development process.

New collaboration culture

The whole point of DevOps is to remove silos and improve collaboration between development, operations, and quality assurance teams. Achieving this level of cooperation requires a change in the culture and mindset of the entire development team and clarity on the overall goal and set of objectives.

In DevOps, development and operations become part of everyone’s responsibilities, regardless of their specific roles in the team. That allows the development and delivery of the software to customers faster. You can read more about speeding up software development in our blog.

Customer satisfaction orientation

Whether using the classic waterfall model or the whole DevOps approach, the goal is to meet customer expectations, and this is constant updates and the rapid provision of new features. DevOps helps streamline the release process. Because the same people write the code and manage the releases, bringing new features to the client becomes easier.

Agile and Scrum follow

The flexible design of small, iterative development steps aligns well with the DevOps approach, leading to even faster deployments. By combining DevOps with an Agile approach, you can provide limited functionality, feedback, and customer reviews. Instead of wasting time developing a complete function that you might not need, you can repeat it as you go.

CI / CD practices

Configuration management provides management and control of software changes using version control in a repeatable and standardized way. This practice has two key components: a standard strategy for managing a code repository and using version control software.

Continuous Integration (CI) is a core DevOps best practice to integrate code changes from different contributors into a central repository. CI allows to merge code changes as needed and use automated tools to validate code correctness. CI is achieved using a source code version control system. The rationale behind CI is that it is easier to spot bugs and quality issues in less code than in a large codebase written over a long period.

Continuous delivery (CD) begins where continuous integration stops. Continuous delivery is a DevOps practice that allows you to get code from constant integration into a production environment. It makes software deployment painless, low-risk and can be done quickly.

Continuous Integration vs. Continuous Delivery vs. Continuous Deployment
Source

Test-Driven Development (TDD)

This practice requires software engineers to create automated tests before writing the actual code validated by tests. With TDD, software engineers follow a short development cycle:

  • Write a failed automatic test case that serves as a specification
  • Make sure the test fails
  • Write the minimum code required to pass the test
  • Refactor the code
  • Repeat the cycle

TDD dramatically reduces the risks of software errors associated with each release, allowing you to release your product quickly.

Automated testing diminishes the load associated with manually running tests by specialized software to manage test execution, compare results, and help you speed up complex tasks with ease.

Microservices

Microservices architecture allows you to create a single application as a collection of small services. What distinguishes it from the traditional monolithic architecture, in which the user combined interface and access codes into a single program. Smaller applications are deployed as independent services linked to a microservice architecture through an application programming interface.

Microservices fit into the DevOps approach by breaking large, complex projects into smaller pieces. Various services can operate independently without affecting the entire system.

Infrastructure as code and cloud automation

It is an approach to infrastructure management in which resources such as networks and servers are provisioned and managed using machine-readable definition files.

Adding SaaS Managed DevOps to your team allows you to leverage the skills and experience of multiple solution architects and leverage SaaS DevOps strategies without high cost over the long term. For example, Infrastructure as Code allows you to duplicate infrastructure 1: 1, and then you can sell it and run it under a unique brand.

Automating software creation, testing, and release is at the heart of successful DevOps practices. It makes life easier for developers and SaaS operations engineers who collaborate in a DevOps organization. DevOps tools help you track SaaS growth metrics, generate alerts when something goes wrong, or provide overall visibility into your software’s progress.

Performance monitoring

Continuous performance monitoring is one of the best DevOps practices. You can only measure the effectiveness of a DevOps approach by tracking correct performance metrics, such as lead time, the average time to discovery, and problem severity.

Monitoring these metrics is also valuable because it allows you to determine when something is going wrong. In DevOps, the tracking metrics will depend on the goals and expectations of the organization. Some metrics, such as unit cost, are helpful for any engineering team because they are tied to profitability.

As a DevOps metric, it is good practice to monitor unit costs. He helps you create cost-optimized software from the get-go, plan your projects carefully, and find trade-offs.

7 Keystones of DevOps for SaaS Project

So when exactly do you need DevOps?

The demand for a DevOps specialist arises from the beginning of the project, and there are many reasons for that. They can help and customize environments for development, testing, deployment, and other crucial tasks. They can also advise on the server architecture as they know how to build efficient performance.

The variety of DevOps objectives in a project is enormous. The goal of these examples is to give you a rough idea of the DevOps features and of how SaaS businesses can benefit from them.

To start a project

Case 1. In Sprint Zero, a DevOps specialist can help define a SaaS solution’s technology stack and architecture when planning for future functionality.

Case 2. Experts can set up different environments for testing and production.

For the current project

Case 3. In an existing project, DevOps implementation begins by examining the system and its documentation. To perform specific tasks, such as setting up CI / CD, they need to:

  • find out what technologies are used
  • explore databases
  • see how networks, servers, etc., are configured.

This step is necessary to understand what needs to be improved or corrected. This stage takes several hours to a couple of days, depending on the case.

Case 4. Improved infrastructure and security are essential to a SaaS platform. Therefore, DevOps specialists first investigate what works well and needs to be fixed. They conduct tests, analyze the infrastructure, and evaluate the security measures taken to protect the data.

Case 5. Against the backdrop of these improvements, DevOps engineers can build infrastructure as code (IaC). You can find out how to do this by contacting our DevOps team. But in a nutshell, IaC automates the development process and speeds up changes. For a SaaS company, this service means simplifying infrastructure management.

Case 6. DevOps consulting is also helpful when deciding to change the server class level. DevOps experts can suggest server performance options, benchmark, cost, risk, and more.

Case 7. Another task of DevOps is to monitor the server and check the system’s health constantly. That helps to respond promptly to system conditions – processor load, free space on the server, etc.

Case 8. Log management is one of the best practices for improving development efficiency. Fine-tuned log management is significant because it can help you quickly troubleshoot or resolve a problem.

As you can see, the range of tasks is different – from rebuilding the architecture, managing DNS and databases, moving your project to a new server, or troubleshooting in case of a failure.

How to make DevOps part of your winning SaaS strategy: Tips

Each organization is built differently, and each faces unique influences from various external forces, so there is no united strategy that will guarantee the success of DevOps. But some points are essential to all actors who decide to build scalability in DevOps.

Cloud services

Most cloud development projects use DevOps for cloud projects, and the benefits are clear. DevOps speeds application development to meet the business unit and users; and lower coding, test, deployment, and operational costs. 

DevOps cloud as a platform gives SaaS entrepreneurs new, better visibility about how their applications are performing. And a good DevOps service provider offers:

  • Access to a highly available and reliable cloud;
  • Hybrid or multi-cloud infrastructure to run your SaaS application (for example, Google Cloud, Azure, and AWS). 

Sophisticated software architecture

That is the foundation of a successful product. Adopting DevOps strategies can build your solution using leading software architectures, such as microservices and serverless architectures. In this way, the rest of the software development lifecycle, such as development, testing will become easier. For serverless architectures, cloud providers allocate resources to run your application.

Right DevOps tools

DevOps does not have a specific or fixed set of tools. Determining the right set of tools is a core function of DevOps Strategy Consulting. For every step in DevOps, there are several tools with many options. Knowing your requirements, operating costs, and other factors is key in choosing the right tool. 

For example, by using Kubernetes and infrastructure as code, you can reduce the business costs of dynamic workloads (operations that require a lot of computing power in a short time).

Security and compliance

Because software protection begins before the code is written, implementing DevSecOps principles ensures that the DevOps process is as secure as possible. Threat modeling and architecture reviews help set the course for security requirements and controls throughout the software development lifecycle.

The DevOps Three Way Principle also applies directly to DevSecOps. That means that:

  • Developers shall not pass a known fault or a known critical safety defect into downstream operations, ensuring the success of the end-to-end system.
  • Engineers should shorten the feedback loop by reporting any failures, including safety, as soon as they occur.
  • The company must create a safer development culture by learning from past failures, repeating and fixing new failures/defects as described in methods one and two.
4 Things to Remember When Making DevOps Part of Your SaaS Strategy

Why outsource?

Along with the DevOps movement, a new DevOps-as-a-service (DaaS) concept has emerged. DaaS from a trusted service provider is ideal for software development teams that don’t have the time/experience or talent to manage a complex SaaS-based application infrastructure but need to do so. That frees up the best employees to focus on strategically important to your business.

DaaS collects development tools into a single cloud suite that helps teams maintain continuous delivery, continuous testing, and integration. That is why DevOps as a Service delivers improved scalability, performance, automation, and business value.

However, fast-growing grocery companies with over 150 employees have more complex business infrastructures. Therefore, they are encouraged to complement their in-house team with DevOps engineers. Now let’s look at how companies can benefit from outsourcing DevOps.

More efficient hiring

The most meaningful advantage of DevOps outsourcing companies is convenient recruitment. If you hire DevOps engineers, the vendor takes care of finding and interviewing the right candidates, leaving you control over the process as you wish. Depending on which type of outsourcing you choose, you can actively participate in the hiring process or completely outsource it to your chosen company.

Solid experience and best practices

Besides eliminating recruiting headaches, the benefits of outsourcing code development include the high skill level of your future DevOps team. Outsourcing companies prioritize service quality and ensure that their engineers are experienced, properly certified, adhere to the latest standards, and perform well in groups. That is why working with outsourced DevOps engineers results in well-documented solutions that are easy to maintain after deployment.

Expanded competencies

Another benefit of using DevOps as a service is gaining access to a broad talent pool. DevOps engineers are in short supply, and it is almost impossible to find professionals with narrow or rare competencies when assembling a team locally.

Outsourcing helps solve this problem. DaaS vendors provide engineers, tools, developers, and SaaS development services to meet your needs from the outset. In addition, the ability to select the developer level helps you better distribute tasks. You can choose the best talent for the toughest jobs and leave the common duties to less experienced employees. Thus, having DevOps shortens the development cycle and frees developers from non-core tasks.

Shorter development cycles

DevOps outsourcing companies follow DevOps best practices, so you don’t have to start from scratch. They already have all the necessary tools and resources to implement the DevOps model immediately. DevOps outsourcing shortens development cycles. The team constantly creates, releases, tests, and improves the code. That enables continuous integration and continuous product delivery.

Pricing 

Cost is a crucial aspect of the development process, as it determines the number of features in your SaaS solution and the price at which you will offer those features to customers. The advantage of outsourcing is the value for money, where offshore companies always win.

5 Key Benefits of DevOps Outsourcing

How to start?

Outsourced DevOps services provide an excellent opportunity for companies to implement DevOps without overwhelming resources. And the DevOps outsourcing company will supply you with everything you need: its proven practices, the best staff, selected methodologies, and advanced tools. All this will make your decisions more efficient and reliable. And you need:

  • Identify the business goals you would like to achieve or performance gaps you would like to close;
  • Learn about the significant benefits of DevOps outsourcing for your company or startup;
  • Find a reliable company to work with.

Conclusion

At Relevant, we provide holistic SaaS product development services, implementing any components of a successful SaaS solution: mobile and web applications, APIs, efficient storage, and cloud hosting. DevOps allows us to deliver software as a service product as quickly as possible. 

We practice an individual approach to each project – we flexibly solve infrastructure, support, and service issues and coordinate all aspects of the client’s needs and requirements.

If you are thinking of building your SaaS from scratch with DevOps, Relevant will be happy to show you how it works. To find out more about our software product development services, contact us!

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Written by
Delivery Manager at Relevant Software
I ensure delivery excellence and high-quality of software development services our company provides. We carefully pick each employee and stick to high standards of product development to ensure the highest quality of code.

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