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Posted 21st November 2023

How to Overcome Major AWS DevOps Adoption Challenges

Companies continue implementing DevOps practices and tools to streamline software development. According to the DevOps Pulse 2023 report from Logz.io, 45% of companies state they have implemented DevOps, which is a 7% increase compared to 2022. AWS DevOps tools are among the popular options for DevOps enablement, especially among companies already using AWS services and cloud storage.

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How to Overcome Major AWS DevOps Adoption Challenges
AWS DevOps

Companies continue implementing DevOps practices and tools to streamline software development. According to the DevOps Pulse 2023 report from Logz.io, 45% of companies state they have implemented DevOps, which is a 7% increase compared to 2022. AWS DevOps tools are among the popular options for DevOps enablement, especially among companies already using AWS services and cloud storage.

Unfortunately, DevOps transformations don’t always go smoothly, and those powered by AWS are no exception. The 2023 DevOps Market Report from MarketsandMarkets reveals that 84% of companies encounter multiple difficulties throughout DevOps adoption, ranging from workflow disruption to the lack of skilled IT specialists.

This article highlights the main challenges of with implementing AWS DevOps and provides recommendations for avoiding them.

 

Challenge 1: Making workflow and cultural changes

Since AWS DevOps adoption involves merging software development and IT operations, it inevitably invites changes in traditional workflows which can disrupt operations and stress out employees.

For example, developers have to get used to working on the same code base together and quickly making changes in the code (given that the build frequency increases, sometimes up to several times a day). Additionally, developers can be assigned new challenging responsibilities, such as writing scripts for automated tests.

Such changes can be uncomfortable for an employee who is used to working in the traditional IT paradigm, which implies less automation and collaboration and longer development cycles. As a result, the shift to a new software development approach among IT team members can slow down or even fail.

 

Solution:

First and foremost, companies should not aim for a large-scale AWS DevOps transformation right from the start. Instead, it’s better to implement AWS DevOps gradually and minimize potential disruptions this way.

For example, a company might create a small cross-functional DevOps team and initiate a pilot software project. As part of the project, the team can create a simple two-stage CI/CD pipeline (for instance, by using the pipeline wizard in AWS CodePipeline), which can be scaled later when the team is ready.

In addition, companies should guide their employees throughout the AWS DevOps implementation by providing them with training and continuous support. For example, a company can buy courses for IT team members from the AWS DevOps Engineering Learning Plan or book relevant online classes in the AWS Classroom.

 

Challenge 2: Choosing the right AWS DevOps tools

Today, the AWS platform provides more than 200 tools, and choosing the right ones can be challenging, especially for companies that have only started their AWS DevOps journeys.

 

Solution:

Decision-makers can mitigate this challenge by researching AWS tools in advance, including their purpose in the DevOps lifecycle and the specific benefits they provide. Here are the main types of AWS solutions needed for successful DevOps adoption.

  • CI/CD

AWS CodePipeline, which was mentioned earlier, helps automate software builds, tests, and deployments, allowing teams to roll out updates and new features faster.

Due to the integration provided by AWS, the service works well with other CI/CD tools, such as AWS CodeBuild, AWS CodeDeploy, and AWS CodeStar. For continuity, teams can also integrate AWS CodePipeline with various source code repositories, such as GitHub, GitLab, and Bitbucket.

  • Microservices

When developing new software solutions, DevOps teams can build them upon a decentralized architecture such as microservices, which is easier to deploy and scale. In addition, since all microservices are separated and an error in one service can’t affect others, the software turns out to be more fault-tolerant.

AWS provides several tools for developing microservices-based software. One of them, Amazon Elastic Container Service (ECS), helps manage and orchestrate containers for microservices deployment. Another tool, AWS Lambda, helps teams build microservices and scale them automatically using serverless computing capabilities.

  • IaC

Additionally, teams can use AWS DevOps tools to create, deploy, and provision their AWS infrastructures. Here, solutions such as AWS CloudFormation and AWS OpsWorks can be helpful. The former allows teams to manage and allocate various AWS resources by using such units as stacks, while the latter helps automate server and configuration management.

  • Logging and monitoring

By using AWS monitoring tools, teams can increase the visibility of their AWS environments. For example, DevOps specialists can use Amazon CloudWatch, which can be accessed via a single AWS Management Console interface, to monitor errors occurring across Amazon RDS or Amazon EC2 instances.

  • Version control

Since DevOps involves close collaboration on the developed code, teams require specific tools for secure codebase management. AWS CodeCommit is one such tool that helps teams track data access. In addition, due to the integration with Amazon Simple Notification Service, the tool can alert DevOps specialists about any events in their repositories.

 

Challenge 3: Lack of expertise and skills

While DevOps is gaining global popularity, there remains confusion and misunderstanding about DevOps team roles. At Itransition, we consider the following roles essential for building an effective AWS DevOps team:

  • Software developer
  • Testing/QA expert
  • Automation architect
  • Cloud engineer
  • Code release manager
  • IT security engineer
  • Project manager

While developers and testers working in cross-disciplinary teams can perform many AWS DevOps tasks, other roles are still critical to the success of AWS DevOps transformation. Thus, without an experienced cloud engineer, a team won’t be able to properly use such technologies as containers and serverless computing, leading to poorer performance.

Unfortunately, many companies faced skill gaps throughout DevOps transformation, and AWS DevOps adoption is no exception. According to the Upskilling IT 2023 Report by DevOps Institute, 31% of IT leaders consider a lack of talent in their companies’ biggest DevOps adoption challenge.

 

Solution:

Although conducting employee training is the most obvious solution, this approach is not always fast and cost-effective. For example, training a cloud engineer takes months, while a company may need such competencies as soon as possible.

Implementing an enterprise LMS can help overcome some of these challenges. Such solutions help companies systematize and automate the delivery of training content, allowing them to train even remote and distributed employees efficiently.

As an alternative, companies can resort to AWS Managed Services. While this option can be expensive, companies can get expertise from in-house AWS professionals who are capable of such tasks as CI/CD automation, monitoring, and cost optimization.

 

Final thoughts

Although AWS DevOps adoption helps companies optimize and speed up software development, the transformation process itself can be complicated for businesses. For example, many companies struggle with addressing the DevOps skills gap, which negatively affects DevOps teams’ productivity and ROI of the DevOps transformation.

Although many transformation challenges can be properly addressed and resolved, due to the disruptive nature of DevOps, there is a high chance that adopters can make strategic mistakes during the transition. To make this shift smoother, companies can turn to AWS DevOps consultants to help them establish transparent and efficient software delivery cycles.

Categories: Innovation, News


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