DevOps Meets IoT for Increased Performance and Productivity


Organizational leaders should consider an integrated hardware and software delivery approach combining technology from the Internet of Things and the DevOps ability to accelerate delivery. Because the IoT blends a number of standalone end systems, it can benefit from the DevOps approach of taking a comprehensive, end-to-end systems view.

The DevOps movement, a collaborative system between development and operations, is a culture that also fosters improved communication and teamwork. The purpose of DevOps is to build, test, and release software rapidly and reliably through quality assurance and more collaborative code reviews. These practices result in accelerated build times, end-to-end automation, and a comprehensive systems view while enabling bug fixes and new features as often as desired.

DevOps is widely recognized as a cultural transformation with many specific technical methods and procedures. It works effectively across many different platforms and technologies, including the emerging Internet of Things.

The Internet of Things, or IoT, blends a number of standalone end systems while providing open access to selected subsets of data for the development of a wide array of digital services. The IoT includes many digital devices, including mobile phones, tablets, smart watches, sensors, activators, and even automobiles—new vehicles can now have up to three million lines of code embedded into the hardware. The market for the IoT has experienced exponential growth and adoption recently, and it can benefit from the DevOps approach of taking a comprehensive, end-to-end systems view.

Because there are many parallels between DevOps and the IoT, including culture, collaboration, and data sharing, the idea of using the IoT to automatically release and deploy software is not far-fetched. Many software and DevOps engineers already use IoT devices, such as mobile phones and tablets, to operate in a variety of locations, and DevOps software solutions offer a variety of responsive and adaptive digital platforms and will continue to expand.

Likewise, the IoT involves a variety of disparate technologies, and the DevOps cross-functional view helps to understand the technical details of an effective build, package, and deployment approach. DevOps also provides the best approach for improving communication and collaboration between engineers who need to work together across different technologies and platforms.

The next phase of DevOps software is destined to incorporate hardware and software solutions to build interconnected DevOps grids. Smart city designs include integrated IoT infrastructure, which blends a variety of technologies to provide collaborative activities. DevOps facilitates sharing knowledge and helping each team member improve his or her personal productivity and quality of work.

In a research study, engineers assessed an entire smart city built within Padova, Italy. The city has wireless nodes, sensors, and gateways to interconnect devices. The system can capture different environmental data such as temperature, air quality, and electrical usage, and advanced communication technologies support added value services for the city and for the citizens. Just like in an IT department, a phased rollout of the environment emerged with infrastructure in place. The city experienced increased productivity and efficiencies, along with high citizen morale.

Could a DevOps environment be built using the same systems and technologies to realize accelerated performance?

Because both systems support collaboration, culture, and productivity, the increased use of IoT devices, both singularly and in a system, can only benefit an organization by using a combination of hardware and software solutions to build a DevOps culture. DevOps principles and practices also help improve communication and collaboration between the engineers implementing and supporting complex IoT solutions. The benefits include ensuring reliable updates to the systems and that engineers have a comprehensive view of the entire system.

The biggest challenge to the IoT might be the risk of cyber security breaches. One approach is to limit devices to operate within the firewall of the organization (or other structure, such as municipal city boundaries). Other security measures include smart chips embedded in the hardware and software solution to enable robust security protocols. Despite these challenges, the capabilities of the IoT are sure to motivate engineers to find solutions, and DevOps principles and practices can certainly help.

Converging multiple solutions and technologies have always been used to accelerate innovation and improve productivity. In the case of DevOps and the IoT, it’s clear that organizations need to continue to find ways to build a collaborative culture using a variety of innovative techniques. With the ability to interconnect complex components, the Internet of Things offers sophistication and speed that can build smart systems. Adding in elements of the DevOps culture considers the heart of the ecosystem by respecting and embracing the human element of innovation.

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