DevOps is a portmanteau of Development and Operations, and is a set of practices and cultural philosophies that aim to streamline the software development lifecycle by fostering collaboration between development and IT operations teams. On this page, we present a guide that explores key concepts, tools, and methodologies within the DevOps ecosystem.

Table of Contents

  1. What Is DevOps?
  2. Key Tools of DevOps
    1. Kubernetes
    2. Ansible
    3. Scripting
    4. Docker
    5. Git
    6. Terraform
    7. PowerShell
    8. Bash
    9. Jenkins
  3. DevOps Methodologies
    1. Agile Development
    2. Infrasturcture as Code
    3. Microservices Architecture
  4. Collaborative Practices
  5. Advanced DevOps Concepts 
    1. Monitoring and Observability
    2. Configuration Management
    3. Security in DevOps
    4. Collaboration and Communication Tools
    5. Advanced Container Orchestration
    6. Chaos Engineering
  6. DevOps in Cloud Environments
    1. Cloud-Native Technologies
    2. Infrastructure as Code with Cloud Providers
    3. Serverless Orchestration
  7. Emerging Trends
    1. GitOps
    2. AIOps
    3. DevOps for Machine Learning
  8. Additional DevOps Definitions
  9. Additional Resources
    1. Blog Posts
    2. Books by Rheinwerk Computing

What Is DevOps?

DevOps is a collaborative approach that unifies software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops), aiming to automate and improve the continuous delivery of high-quality software. It works towards its goal through two key concepts: continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD).


CI is a development practice where code changes are regularly merged and tested in a shared repository, ensuring early detection of integration issues. CD extends CI by automating the deployment process, enabling the delivery of tested code to production or staging environments consistently.

(Back to ToC.)

Key Tools of DevOps

There are a number of key components involved in DevOps.


Kubernetes is an open-source container orchestration platform that automates the deployment, scaling, and management of containerized applications. Kubernetes uses a deployable unit called a pod, which contains one or more containers. Special services are then used as a networking abstraction to enable communication between different pods.


Ansible is an open-source automation tool that simplifies configuration management, application deployment, and task automation. The tool uses playbooks, which are files written in YAML that define a set of tasks to be executed on remote machines. Playbooks are then organized into roles, promoting modular and reusable automation.



Scripting involves writing code in scripting languages to automate tasks, configure systems, and perform various operations. Common scripting languages include Python (used for automation and scripting tasks), Ruby (used for concise syntax and readability), and Bash (used for automating tasks in Unix-like environments).



Docker is a containerization platform that allows developers to package applications and their dependencies into isolated containers. These containers run Docker images, which are lightweight, standalone, and executable packages that include everything needed to run an application.





Git is a distributed version control system used for tracking changes in source code during software development. These changes are stored in a repository that includes everything related to the project. Multiple users can work on the program at one time when utilizing Git; this is accomplished through branches, or isolated environments used for developing new features or bug fixes.



Terraform is an open-source infrastructure as code (IaC) tool that allows the provision and management of infrastructure resources. This is accomplished through providers (plugins that interface with APIs of various infrastructure platforms) and modules (reusable units of Terraform configuration).



PowerShell is a task automation framework from Microsoft, consisting of both a command-line shell and a scripting language. This framework runs off of lightweight commands called cmdlets, and can be used to create scripts for automating tasks and workflows.



Bash (short for “Bourne Again SHell”) is a widely used Unix shell and scripting language.





Jenkins is an open-source automation server written in Java, used for continuous integration, continuous delivery, and automation of software development processes.

(Back to ToC.)

DevOps Methodologies

There are a few DevOps methodologies that programmers use. These include the following.


Agile Development

Agile is an iterative and flexible software development methodology, emphasizing collaboration and customer feedback.


Infrastructure as Code (IaC)

IaC involves managing and provisioning infrastructure through machine-readable script files, enabling version control and automation.


Microservices Architecture

Microservices is an architectural style where a software application is composed of small, independent services that communicate over well-defined APIs.

(Back to ToC.)

Collaborative Practices

DevOps encourages a culture of collaboration, transparency, and shared responsibility between development, operations, and other stakeholders. It promotes the formation of cross-functional teams that include members with diverse skills, fostering a holistic approach to software delivery.

(Back to ToC.)

Advanced DevOps Concepts

In the dynamic realm of DevOps, there are numerous advanced concepts to consider.


Monitoring and Observability

Monitoring involves the systematic observation of a system's behavior, while observability is the ability to understand the internal state of a system based on its external outputs. These can be accomplished with tools like Prometheus, an open-source monitoring and alerting toolkit; and Grafana, a visualization and monitoring platform.


Configuration Management

Configuration management involves the automation of configuration-related tasks, ensuring consistency across various environments. Tools like Chef (an infrastructure automation platform) and Puppet (a configuration management tool for deployment and task automation) are used for this purpose.


Security in DevOps

DevSecOps integrates security practices into the DevOps pipeline, ensuring that security is a shared responsibility throughout the development lifecycle. This includes the following practices:

  • Static Application Security Testing (SAST): Analyzing source code for security vulnerabilities.
  • Dynamic Application Security Testing (DAST): Testing running applications for vulnerabilities.

Collaboration and Communication Tools

Tools like Slack and Jira allow members of cross-functional teams to discuss and collaborate over the internet, as well as keep track of all of the tasks that need to be completed as part of the project plan.


Advanced Container Orchestration

Developers can use the tool Helm to define and manage Kubernetes packages. Another tool called Istio is a service mesh used for connecting, securing, and managing microservices.


Chaos Engineering

Chaos engineering involves intentionally introducing failures into a system to proactively identify weaknesses and improve resilience. Tools include the following options:

  • Chaos Monkey (Netflix): Randomly terminates virtual machine instances to test system resilience.
  • Gremlin: Chaos engineering platform for simulating outages.

(Back to ToC.)

DevOps in Cloud Environments

DevOps in cloud environments delves into the seamless integration of development and operations within cloud-based ecosystems, harnessing the power of scalability and automation for accelerated software delivery.


Cloud-Native Technologies

Cloud-native technologies are designed to run and scale in cloud environments, utilizing services like serverless computing (executing code without the need to manage server infrastructure) and container orchestration. Serverless computing platforms include AWS Lambda, Azure Functions, and Google Cloud Functions.


Infrastructure as Code (IaC) with Cloud Providers

Providers that provide infrastructure as code include AWS CloudFormation, Azure Resource Manager (ARM), and Google Cloud Deployment Manager.


Serverless Orchestration

There are numerous tools for orchestrating and coordinating serverless workflows. These include AWS Step Functions, Azure Logic Apps, and Google Cloud Composer.

(Back to ToC.)

Emerging Trends

Emerging trends in DevOps illuminate the evolving landscape, spotlighting cutting-edge technologies and methodologies that are shaping the future of collaborative and agile software development.



GitOps is a set of practices that use Git as a single source of truth for infrastructure and application deployments. Tools like Flux and ArgoCD are used for automating application deployment through Git.


AIOps (Artificial Intelligence for IT Operations)

AIOps involves the application of artificial intelligence and machine learning to IT operations tasks to enhance automation and insights. Use cases where AIOps might be helpful include anomaly detection (identifying unusual patterns or behaviors in system metrics) and automated remediation (automatically resolving common issues without human intervention).


DevOps for Machine Learning (MLOps)

MLOps extends DevOps principles to machine learning workflows, focusing on collaboration, automation, and continuous delivery for ML models. Tools like MLflow and Kubeflow allow developers to manage the end-to-end machine learning lifecycle.

(Back to ToC.)

Additional DevOps Security Definitions

In addition to the information laid out above, there are a handful of important terms you should also know:

    • Blue-green deployment: A release management strategy where two identical production environments, "Blue" and "Green," are maintained. One environment serves live production traffic while the other undergoes updates. This allows for seamless rollback in case of issues.
    • ChatOps: A collaboration model that integrates chat platforms with development and operations tools, enabling teams to execute commands, receive notifications, and collaborate within a chat environment.
    • Compliance as code: Codifying and automating compliance policies and standards, ensuring that systems and applications adhere to regulatory requirements.
    • Git submodules: A feature in Git that allows a repository to include and reference another repository as a subdirectory, enabling the management of external code dependencies.
    • GitLab CI/CD: The continuous integration and continuous delivery platform provided by GitLab. It includes features for automating the software delivery process, from code commit to deployment.
    • Immutable infrastructure: An approach where once an instance or server is deployed, it remains unchanged throughout its lifecycle. Updates are achieved by replacing instances rather than modifying existing ones.
    • Infrastructure as code (IaC) best practices: Guidelines and principles for efficiently managing infrastructure through code, ensuring scalability, version control, and collaboration.
    • Infrastructure monitoring: Tracking and analyzing the performance and health of infrastructure components, ensuring reliability and identifying potential issues.
    • Microservices orchestration: The coordination of individual microservices to achieve complex, end-to-end workflows or business processes.
    • Pipeline orchestration: Coordinating and managing the various stages of a CI/CD pipeline, ensuring smooth transitions between tasks, testing, and deployment.
    • Rolling Deployment: A deployment strategy where new code or features are gradually rolled out across servers or instances, minimizing downtime by incrementally updating parts of the infrastructure.
    • Scalability in DevOps: The ability of a system to handle increasing workloads by efficiently adapting or expanding resources, ensuring performance and reliability.
    • Serverless architecture: An approach where applications are built and run without the need for traditional server management. It often involves using serverless computing platforms.
    • Shift-left testing: A practice in which testing activities are moved earlier in the software development lifecycle, catching and addressing issues as early as possible.
    • GitOps principles: A set of practices that emphasize using Git as the source of truth for infrastructure and application deployment. It includes declarative configurations and automated processes.

    (Back to ToC.)


  • Additional Resources

    Want to learn more about DevOps? Additional information can be found in the blog posts and books listed below.

  • Blog Posts