The advancements in technology certainly made businesses more powerful but it also left many businesses, that don’t invest much in security, vulnerable at the same time. As DevOps bring radical changes to businesses, what was once overlooked comes into focus – security. While DevOps initially allowed businesses to find a balance between their operations and development, the need for bolstered security called for something more effective.

This led to the birth of DevSecOps.

The idea…

DevSecOps stands for basically everything that DevOps is all about with more emphasis on security. It promotes collaboration between development, security and operations through an ecosystem that encourages constant integration of team efforts at every step.

The goal…

The goal of a DevSecOps environment depends on the nature of the business that adopted it, the business’ goals and work culture. Many experts identify DevSecOps as a means to making manual tasks obsolete by building an automated, fully synced enterprise ecosystem.

The catch…

Such an ecosystem can be made possible only if the organization is willing to accept major changes both inside and out – changes to processes, behavior, approach etc. This is where things become complicated. CEOs generally don’t want to invest in a new culture that could potentially slow down the business.

To emphasize this point, let’s take a look at a survey conducted by Threat Stack. The security software company found that 68% of the companies that responded to the survey stated that their CEOs demand DevOps & security teams to avoid anything that can potentially decelerate business.

This is one of the biggest reasons why you don’t see DevSecOps much. Many companies don’t want such a transition at all or might quit the transition once they are halfway through towards DevSecOps.

That said, this blog will be focusing on a few major challenges that must be overcome for vitalizing DevSecOps.

When teams resist changes

At the heart of DevSecOps is an ideal environment where all teams collaborate and coordinate their efforts to bring forth a desired outcome. To achieve this, integration of teams is vital. Various teams of an organization should work in tandem with each other rather than independently.

Easier said than done.

Many organizations investing in DevOps might face the challenge of teams resisting changes. We can’t count everyone to jump on the DevOps bandwagon right away as they will be already accustomed to the existing processes and culture. So people itself can become the biggest challenge for a would-be DevOps organization.

When tools being used can complicate things

Before DevSecOps, the many teams in an organization would be working independently using tools that they feel are appropriate to do their duty. Once the company starts implementing DevSecOps, the teams will be integrated which would raise a lot of questions regarding the team’s common objective, the alignment to company goals, new practices, tools to use etc.

To implement DevSecOps, the right set of tools is the key. Choosing this right set of tools is a challenge in itself. Then comes integrating these tools to enable continuous development, deployment and testing. Syncing tools from various departments together on one single platform can be tedious and will require serious DevOps expertise.

Security for CI/CD

For years, organizations saw security just as an aspect that becomes somewhat important when the development comes to an end. But in a DevSecOps environment, security is as important as development and operations. It’s a part of Continuous Integration and Continuous Development (CI/CD).

What many organizations do is to prepare a DevOps implementation strategy that adapts to their existing security policies. What they should do is to get their security policies to adapt to their DevOps processes. Discarding outdated security methods and policies, and implementing new ones that are aligned with DevOps goals can be a major challenge.

Aiming for perfection

Adopting a DevSecOps culture is a big decision. So when organizations decide to invest in DevSecOps, they expect things to run smoothly right after the implementation is complete. But this is impossible. Things won’t be smooth just after DevSecOps is implemented. It takes some time for a DevSecOps ecosystem to grant benefits. Proper implementation would reduce that time considerably.

Many organizations give up on DevSecOps after wasting time aiming for perfection right off the bat. Similarly, trying to ensure perfect security at all stages of development isn’t practical either. Instead organizations should aim for an optimal level of security that doesn’t negatively impact the DevSecOps environment.

Endnote

DevSecOps implementation is fraught with challenges. At the end of the road to DevSecOps waits a host of benefits that significantly improve operations if organizations can successfully conquer the challenges they may face. Embrace it to get better day by day.

And if you need help leveraging DevSecOps, let the experts of AOT guide you. Drop us a message today.


DevOps generated a lot of buzz and garnered a lot of praise over the last few years. It’s expected to gain even more momentum this year. With DevOps, organizations are successfully coming out of delayed delivery cycles and are now capable of shipping products quickly.

So what is DevOps exactly?

It’s neither a set of tools nor a technology. DevOps is an approach that triggers a transformation within an organization impacting even work ethics while improving productivity and operational efficiency. The idea is to implement various beneficial concepts like automation, continuous integration & deployment, single delivery pipelines and augmented security.

Azure DevOps

DevOps’ popularity and demand resulted in a whole new level of service quality with leading service providers like Microsoft Azure embracing DevOps to offer more effective service solutions to enterprises. Azure DevOps is Microsoft’s initiative that integrates various tools provided to clients by Azure for various stages in the development lifecycle thus empowering clients and making them capable of faster, higher quality product releases.

Here are a few reasons why organizations that are yet to adopt DevOps should go for Azure DevOps.

  • Streamlined development
  • Access to a variety of tools that aid development
  • Improved communication and team collaboration
  • Deploy and distribute apps from the cloud
  • Microsoft’s expertise with DevOps

Azure Features That Could Help with DevOps

  • Azure Repos – The organization can choose from a wide array of Git repos for their project. In addition to hosting and reliable code security, Azure offers support for pull requests for projects of all sizes.
  • Azure Pipelines – A highly useful feature that allows developers to build, test and deploy from any language to any platform and the cloud. With Azure Pipelines, the development team will also be able build and push images container registries faster and easily deploy them to individual hosts or Kubernetes.
  • Azure DevTest Labs – This is an app offered to help development teams conduct planned as well as exploratory testing for products across both desktop and web applications. Data from testing is collected for further analysis to detect defects that need to be fixed.
  • Azure Boards – Azure Boards is how the organization can track a project while multiple teams are working on it. The feature helps track a board with custom reporting, backlogs, Kanban boards etc. It’s also possible to trace each item comprehensively.
  • Azure Artifacts – With Azure Artifacts, npm, Maven and NuGet package feeds can be easily imported into the DevOps dashboard from both public as well as private sources. This in turn makes it much easier not only to create packages but also to share them with team members. The ‘artifacts’ can be easily integrated to continuous integration/continuous deployment pipelines with just a click.

Implementing Azure DevOps in an Organization

Smaller organizations will find it much easier to implement Azure DevOps with the support of Microsoft’s technical experts. Larger organizations, however, will find it quite challenging to implement DevOps efficiently.

The organization should build a team of qualified experts for implementation. The first actionable step is to analyze existing processes in order to identify those that can be automated. The next step is to gather feedback that will help the company implement DevOps. Azure DevOps offers tools that can point out the areas that need to be fixed for easier implementation. Meanwhile, the feedback from the organization’s employees can be used to identify the roadblocks to adopting DevOps. The third step is to implement robust communication channels to enable complete transparency of stakeholder interactions. Effective communication also helps avoid delays in the implementation.

Continuous Deployment

There have been many studies on DevOps since its inception. Many such studies have found that increasing continuous delivery will also result in a proportional increase in business revenue. This is one benefit of a DevOps ecosystem. Continuous deployment is a key aspect of DevOps implementation. To enable continuous deployment, Azure DevOps offers a number of tools. Choosing the right tools for the job should be based on the unique problem statement and the overall goal of application development.

Here are a few of the most widely adopted tools that could come in handy.

  • Docker
  • Jira
  • Jenkins
  • Chef
  • Ansible

Conclusion

Organizations of all sizes have started investing in DevOps to secure a more productive future. Microsoft Azure DevOps can also be useful if your organization plans to offer DevOps consultation and implementation to other companies. Azure DevOps gives results. It will be staying for a while. And it’s worth investing in.

If you want to jump on the DevOps bandwagon but lack the expertise, AOT can help. Give us a call for a quick conversation.


Software development companies have finally started to realize that to thrive in today’s competitive world, a business has to ensure connectivity and collaboration between their development and operations team. So they adopt DevOps practices that ensure a shorter software development life cycle, faster time-to-market, faster resolution of issues, and enhance overall quality of the product.

But for DevOps to deliver those results, it should be implemented effectively first. And for that, you need an efficient toolchain – a set of tools meant for proper implementation of DevOps. An organization can have more than one toolchain, and the toolchains would depend on the needs of the organization and the objectives of the DevOps ecosystem they are implementing.

No matter how qualified the DevOps team is or no matter how best it’s implemented, a DevOps environment cannot deliver on its promises if the right sets of tools aren’t involved to manage every step of a software development project – right from requirements specification and development to testing, delivery and maintenance.

That said, let’s take a look at a few of the best open source tools that are widely used for DevOps implementation.

Selenium

Selenium is hugely popular for its automation capabilities, and is primarily leveraged for the automation of web-based apps – both for testing and for performing administrative tasks. Selenium is a favorite of many companies including tech giants like Google and IBM.

Selenium allows:

  • Creation of browser-based regression automation tests and suites
  • Creation of multi-language test scripts
  • Usage of same script across many environments

Docker

Those who are familiar with DevOps might have heard of Docker – a container-based platform designed to support continuous integration and continuous deployment. This can be done across a number of infrastructures. Additionally, Docker also simplifies packaging of the final product.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Windows and Linux OS compatibility
  • Deployable on any application stack
  • Capability to deploy up to 20000 containers
  • End-to-end security

Chef

Chef is a cloud-based suite of tools aimed at ensuring and enhancing the stability and scalability of the infrastructure. It’s mainly used in DevOps ecosystems to create robust software development environments.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Capability to make configurations testable and automated
  • Consistent configuration assurance
  • Customizable codes depending on requirements
  • Easy migration
  • Compatibility with popular third-party platforms like AIX and FreeBSD

Jenkins

A very popular open source tool, Jenkins is one of the best continuous integration server software available in the market today. It’s deployed on the server that handles the software development activities. Written in Java, Jenkins is also known for being highly customizable regardless of the size and complexity of the project. Furthermore, there are a plethora of plugins and add-ons available making Jenkins a potent tool that delivers the best out of a DevOps environment. Big firms like Capgemini and LinkedIn use Jenkins.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Ease-of-use for DevOps beginners
  • Capability to create scripts that facilitate integration of multiple workflows into one pipeline
  • Support of over 1000 unique plugins
  • Multiple interfaces like CLI, Rest API, and web-based GUI

Puppet

Puppet is a great tool that is designed primarily for rapid inspection, management, and maintenance of infrastructure. It grew in popularity because of its capability to deploy changes within a short time. Puppet is also primarily preferred as a configuration management tool through the software development lifecycle regardless of the platform involved. Tech giants like Microsoft, Accenture, and Google reportedly use Puppet.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Complete infrastructure automation
  • Rapid deployment
  • Real-time context reporting
  • Conflict detection and resolution

Splunk

Splunk can be effective as a log comparison tool that allows the DevOps team to compare logs generated by multiple sources in a DevOps ecosystem that spans the complete IT infrastructure of an organization. In addition to collecting logs and facilitating comparison, Splunk also comes with powerful data collection and analyses capabilities; providing organizations with meaningful insights to make strategic decisions. Furthermore, it also helps with seamless IoT integration.

Key features and benefits of the multi-faceted Splunk include:

  • Storage, management, and analysis of data
  • Business analytics
  • Multiple data formats compatibility
  • Log monitoring to detect issues and conflicts

Ansible

This is a great tool for automating development, testing and deployment, and to manage software development operation’s performance in a DevOps ecosystem. Ansible comes with a number of modules that supports a wide variety of applications. But its truly great feature is its capability to significantly reduce complexity at all stages of the lifecycle.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Push configuration
  • Agentless configuration
  • Faster development process
  • Faster deployment
  • Easier management of complex deployments

Nagios

Nagios is more like a security guard that keeps watch over the entire system and infrastructure. With Nagios, the DevOps team can monitor databases, applications, networks, logs, and even protocols. Infrastructure issues won’t be a concern anymore with Nagios as they will likely be identified before the risks become threats. Despite being open source, Nagios is entirely secure, reliable, and highly recommended. Renowned companies like Philips, Airbnb etc. use Nagios.

Key features and benefits include:

  • Better monitoring, analysis, and threat detection of mission-critical network infrastructure
  • Management, analysis, and archival of log data
  • Network traffic monitoring
  • Optimized bandwidth utilization
  • Easy log searching
  • Automatic resolution of various issues post detection
  • Facilitates better infrastructure upgrade
  • Streamlines infrastructure maintenance schedules

Conclusion

This list is not a ranking. All 8 tools mentioned above are open source, and have a successful streak when it comes to helping organizations implement an efficient DevOps ecosystem. However, choosing the right set of tools, from this list and from among the many others available, is a different matter entirely. That depends on a number of factors including the teams involved, the infrastructure of the organization, the budget, and even the work culture.

Any DevOps expert would recommend adopting a toolchain that combines several potent features to set up a secure, thriving DevOps ecosystem. And obviously, expertise matters also when it comes to wielding such a toolchain.

If your organization is prepared to go the DevOps route, AOT can offer our expertise to ensure that you implement DevOps the right way. Get in touch with our experts today.


DevOps is seen as a set of practices that combines development and operations behind the development processes to result in a shorter development cycle. But we say it’s something more.

DevOps is a culture that brings equal attention to both the development of the product and the behind-the-scenes operations that facilitate the development of the product covering every aspect of the development lifecycle including development, deployment, testing, and post-launch support.

The culture essentially comes with a great many benefits including but not limited to higher development ROI and greater coding efficiency and quality. Additionally, it also becomes easier for project managers or product leaders to formulate a road map to get the product delivered on time while meeting client expectations.

A Proven Strategy

Before DevOps took the business world by storm, development teams were instructed to focus primarily on product features and timely product delivery. This approach often ignores the importance of operational processes behind the development, and may result in delayed deliveries, unexpected surprises, reworks incurring additional expenses etc.

DevOps teams, however, are able to avoid such scenarios provided DevOps practices are implemented effectively with the team ultimately becoming exponentially faster than they were in their pre-DevOps environment.

Implementing DevOps Practices

For DevOps to deliver the benefits it promises, proper implementation is pivotal. Here’s where things get tricky. DevOps doesn’t work the same for every organization. Many companies don’t take this fact into account while implementing DevOps. They invest in DevOps mostly because of the hype surrounding it only to regret it later.

For DevOps to be effective, it should be complemented by some DevOps best practices that can improve development workflows which leads to greater efficiency and a better quality product. There are many practices that organizations can choose.

Here are three that can ensure a project’s success in a DevOps ecosystem.

Multiple code environments – As projects often have a lot of developers working on it, many companies set up multiple coding environments to prevent conflicts between codes. The developers can work on various sets of code in tandem without overriding each other’s work. This approach also resolves merge conflicts and streamlines the code testing phase.

Common environments include:

  • Local: This environment is where the individual workstations of the developers are. The code developed in ‘local’ is not integrated into the project yet. Coding is done in isolation so as to perform certain specific functionality.
  • Sandbox: This environment helps determine where untested codes should perform and how they should perform. Additionally, code quality assessment is also a prime objective of sandbox environments.
  • QA: This environment is to test the system’s functionality and also to ensure that new code or changes wouldn’t negatively impact the existing product version.
  • Staging: This environment is to ensure that upgrades to the production environment will be done without errors.
  • Production: This stage is where the ‘live’ version of the product that end-users would be directly interacting with will be fully completed.

Versioning – This is a DevOps best practice that ensures the reliability of all technologies within a product. During development, software needs to be routinely updated to reflect database changes or to include more features.

Version control makes this process easier, efficient, and effective i.e. it doesn’t impact the existing, functioning product negatively in any way. In the off chance that it does, the software can be easily reverted back to its functioning state. So essentially, versioning or version control enables accurate updates and ensures compatibility with new technologies. The added benefit is that developers won’t need to spend time fixing mistakes while end users have a better experience without compatibility issues.

Automation – Automation is a critical component of DevOps covering various aspects including systems, pipelines, and even the infrastructure that facilitates software development. Back in the day, manual deployment was the only option and the approach came with many risks; mainly data corruption or loss.

With automation, the team can work faster without having to spend time doing repetitive, manual processes like code deployment for instance. The approach facilitates easier iterations letting the development team focus more on mission-critical tasks. If done right, the best benefit of automation would be a significant increase in development ROI.

The following is a list of practices and principles that we recommend for automation in a DevOps ecosystem for the best results.

  • Unit testing
  • Behavior-driven testing
  • Production & staging servers
  • Deployment from production to staging (if re-works are needed)

By now, you may have realized the care that should be given while implementing DevOps and DevOps best practices in an organization. At AOT, we build our solutions in a DevOps ecosystem. We have ample expertise to help you get started with DevOps as well. Let us know your queries.


If you are reading this, chances are that your business has finally decided to shift to the cloud. We won’t say you are late because there are so many businesses out there still reluctant to migrate to possibly the only technology that can assuredly secure their future – the cloud.

Stats show that organizations that have already invested in the cloud is likely to increase their use of it in the next few years.

Last year, Forbes forecasted that 80% of all IT budget would be spent on cloud solutions by the summer of 2018.

Though the present stats aren’t out yet, we suppose it’s safe to assume that Forbes was right for such is the momentum of the cloud today.

Though companies have generally seen a lot of blog posts and articles about the benefits of the cloud, they still might find it challenging to determine what cloud service they should use in their organization. For many organizations, this choice comes down to three of the biggest cloud platforms in the world – Microsoft Azure, Amazon Web Services, and the Google Cloud Platform.

Comparing the three to find the best of the bunch is rather pointless. All three are popular and widely adopted for more than one reason. They all have their fair share of pros and cons. The truth is that it’s the organization that needs to choose the right kind of cloud service that matches their business strategy and goals.

To make it easier for you, this blog will explore the characteristics of these 3 cloud platforms.

But before we begin, here are a few things to keep in mind.

The cloud provider should understand your business and its objectives – The cloud service provider that’s right for you should understand your business, its objectives, and what it aims to achieve with the cloud.

Your current architecture – Your business architecture should be compatible with your cloud provider’s. Their architecture needs to be integrated into your workflows. So compatibility should be given top priority. For instance, if your business already uses Microsoft tools, Microsoft Azure is the way to go. At the end of the day, you want seamless, hassle-free integration.

Data center locations – This factor is important if the app your business is going to host on the cloud is sensitive when it comes to data centers and their locations. For a great user experience, the geographical location of the data center hosting the app is pivotal especially if the business has branches across the globe. Your service provider should have data centers in various locations that are far from each other ideally.

With that, let’s get down to the main topic at hand starting with…

Compute services

Microsoft Azure – Azure is widely preferred for its ‘Virtual Machines’ service. Its key offers include excellent security, an array of hybrid cloud capabilities, and support for Windows Server, IBM, Oracle, SAP, Linux, and SQL Server. Azure also features instances optimized for AI & ML.

AWS – AWS’ main service is the Elastic Compute Cloud with a plethora of options including auto-scaling, Windows & Linux support, high-performance computing, bare metal instances etc. AWS’s container services support Docker and Kubernetes as well as the Fargate service.

Google Cloud – Though Google Cloud’s compute services don’t come close to its two biggest competitors, its Compute Engine is still turning heads with its support for Windows and Linux, pre-defined/custom machine types, and per-second billing. Google’s role in the Kubernetes project and considering the fact that Kubernetes adoption is increasing rapidly gives the Google Cloud an edge over others when it comes to container deployment.

Cloud tools

Microsoft Azure – Microsoft’s heavy investment in AI reflects on Azure as the platform provides impressive machine learning and bot services. Other major Azure cognitive services include Text Analytics API, Computer vision API, Face API, Custom vision API etc. Azure also offers various analytics and management services for IoT.

AWS – AWS competes with acclaimed services like the Lex conversational interface for Alexa, Greengrass IoT messaging service, SageMaker service for ML, Lambda serverless computing service etc. Amazon also unveiled AI-related services like DeepLens and Gluon.

Google Cloud – The services and tools for Google Cloud seem to mainly focus on AI and ML. We can also assume that since Google developed TensorFlow – a huge open source library to develop ML apps, the Google Cloud has a slight edge over its rivals when it comes to AI and ML. Other great features include natural-language APIs, translation APIs, speech APIs, IoT services etc.

Making the choice

Though all three are dominant in the cloud services industry, Google Cloud still seems to be trailing behind the other two. But the tech giant’s partnership with Cisco, the company’s hefty investment in cloud-computing services, and focus on machine learning may give the Google Cloud more traction very soon.

Microsoft Azure, on the other hand, initially lagged behind AWS but is now considered the most dominant cloud service provider in the world. If your business relies on Microsoft platforms and tools, it’s going to pair well with Azure. But Azure’s focus on Microsoft’s own Windows puts Linux on the backseat despite Azure’s compatibility with the open source OS. So if your business is associated with Linux, DevOps, or bare metal, Azure may not be a safe bet.

This leaves us with AWS. With its massive scale and a broad array of services and tools, AWS can easily give Azure a run for their money. Though Microsoft’s efforts are starting to pay off catapulting Azure to new heights, AWS is consistently growing every year. However, if your business is looking for a personal relationship with your cloud provider and expecting an attentive service, you may find AWS disappointing. Amazon’s massive size itself makes offering such a service practically impossible.

Conclusion

These providers can help your business with pretty much every type of digital service it needs to stay ahead of the curve in today’s dynamic market conditions. If you think these providers don’t match your business objectives, you can still seek assistance from smaller boutique cloud providers. The bottom-line is that modern businesses are going to need the cloud backing them to efficiently adapt to a technologically advanced future.  If you require assistance regarding cloud adoption and migration, the experts here at AOT can help make it easier for you. Give us a ring to learn more.

Image Background vector created by pikisuperstar – www.freepik.com