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What is DevOps as a Service (SaaS)? Why You MUST Have It

Applications are moving unrelentingly to the cloud – why shouldn’t DevOps do the same? In nearly all cases, it should. In fact, there is no time like the present to embrace DevOps as a Service.

Chances are you’re already partly or mostly there – if not all the way in. That’s because many of your development and collaboration tools today run in the cloud. “Much Agile and DevOps work occurs in the cloud, making for easier collaboration and doing away with the need to manage on-premises infrastructure. The same is increasingly true for DevOps tools themselves,” argued the Progress Chef What is DevOps glossary page.

Definition: What is DevOps as a Service (DaaS)

DevOps as a Service is an approach where an organization’s entire suite of DevOps application development tools is hosted and delivered in the cloud, and all core DevOps activities likewise occur in the cloud. DevOps as Service is a major leap forward as all apps and work take place in a single shared environment.

“All tools and processes are housed in a cloud-based environment to gather the benefits of agility and flexibility. Your entire pipeline could be easily accessible by all departments (developers, testers, ops, SREs), with all necessary commercial deployment processes automated within. It is the ideal way to simplify all components related to the selection, maintenance, and management of all DevOps tools,” explained the DevOps as a Service blog.

Cloud Drives Deep DevOps Benefits

The cloud offers benefits for all manner of applications, and DevOps takes distinct advantage. “Work in the cloud and managing cloud applications and infrastructure is fundamentally different from on-premises. The benefits of DevOps in the cloud are myriad. For one, they don’t have to worry about hardware, but can scale at will just by getting more capacity, whether for computing or storage. Deploying from the cloud and then hosting the app in the cloud is far easier than installing on on-premises end points. You don’t have to configure the app for end points, and you know everyone has the same version,” the DevOps glossary page explained.

The graphic below shows DevOps as Cloud benefits.


Cloud Drives DevOps Revamp

If you haven't made the DevOps in the cloud move yet, SaaS offers a great opportunity to revamp your entire approach to DevOps. This glossary page outlines the many advantages derived from having DevOps hosted in the cloud and can certainly justify investment in migrating DevOps work to the cloud – such as a dramatic decrease in total cost of ownership (TCO) and an equally stunning increase in return on investment (ROI).

“Migrating applications to the cloud provide an excellent opportunity to modernize the hosting platform and reap the benefits of modern cloud services. For example, DevOps solutions can reduce complexity and efficiently automate everyday maintenance tasks,” the IDC Why Cloud and DevOps are Better Togetherblog said. “Adopting DevOps alongside a cloud platform offers a more seamless and focused route to improve operational activities. This is especially important for the organization that moves from start-up to scale-up status.”

DevOps as a Service Principles

There are many principles behind a proper approach to DevOps as Service, including:

  • Your organization’s philosophy already embraces core DevOps principles, best practices and culture.
  • Your DevOps processes are optimized and refined prior to migrating to the cloud.
  • You have carefully researched and vetted DevOps providers.
  • A plan to migrate to the cloud is in place.
  • All stakeholders are trained on the new system.

Cloud Drives Faster DevOps Delivery

Agility is all about speed of software delivery, whether it be new features, full updates or smaller, more frequent iterations. “According to a report from IT analyst company Freedom Dynamics, using DevOps or cloud in isolation accelerates software delivery by 50%, but when used together, there is an acceleration of 81%, which means the productivity becomes much higher and stronger. So, the rewards are genuinely high,” the IDC Why Cloud and DevOps are Better Togetherblog said.

The cloud is a game changer when it comes to DevOps processes. “Combining cloud and DevOps helps streamline software delivery. Overall, developers and the operational staff can work strategically rather than haphazardly while dealing with large unanticipated tasks,” the IDC blogsaid.

Cloud Drives DevOps Automation

IT automation is de rigueur for forward thinking enterprises. DevOps automation should be at the top of any smart shop’s list and is best done with a cloud-centric approach.

“Many private and public computing providers include CI/CD tools and implement and support DevOps on their platforms. This seamless integration reduces the overall cost of adopting DevOps automation technology and ensures centralized control and governance, contributing to a more robust and efficient DevOps process,” the Accelerate your DevOps Transformation with a SAAS-Based Approach white paper explained.

Cloud Drives DevOps Best Practices

Having your DevOps platform available as SaaS allows your team to develop and perfect best practices. The cloud is inherently shareable, which boosts collaboration. And by increasing DevOps efficiency and teamwork, SaaS allows for a more sophisticated and effective approach to continuous delivery and other key DevOps techniques.

Cloud Drives DevOps Agility

Agility is the basis of and core goal behind DevOps. The cloud and SaaS make DevOps even more agile and flexible by keeping all infrastructure resources constantly available, making teamwork a 24/7 affair.

“Cloud services enable IT teams to focus on tasks that generate value for the business instead of mundane and repeatable tasks such as provisioning hardware or patching operating systems, paving the way for agility and speed in complex IT environments,” the Chef white paper argued.

Cloud Drives DevOps Value

SaaS-based DevOps enriches the entire DevOps lifecycle, leading to faster software delivery, better software through continuous feedback loops, better version control through sharable cloud-based code repositories and letting DevOps members focus entirely on creating and deploying great software, rather than tending to or even worrying about the IT infrastructure itself.

“Cloud computing provides developers and operation teams with seamless access to platforms in a single click giving a head start to development, testing and implementation teams for faster delivery,” the Cloud DevOps whitepaper said.

Cloud Drives Superior DevOps Deployment

Moving DevOps to a SaaS-based platform offers these software deployment benefits:

  • Quick setup, speedy onboarding and improved ease of use.
  • Abilit to build, customize and extend your DevOps platforms with key third-party integrations.
  • Speed Time-to-Value through collaboration, greater lifecycle efficiencies.
  • Improved CI/CD lifecycle
  • Sharable code repositories

Cloud Drives DevOps Automation

IT automation not only saves time by replacing manual tasks with automated ones, it also performs tasks that are carefully designed, tested and proven to work. “Automation and architecture as code reduce cloud complexity and even system maintenance. Add high security with automated, repeatable processes that serve to eliminate inaccurate error and, even more importantly, develop security controls from the very beginning,” the DevOps and Cloud: a Symbiotic Relationshipblog argued.

It can radically reshape how DevOps processes are performed, and this automation is brought to a higher level when done in the cloud. “Because cloud computing is centralized and highly scalable, it provides DevOps automation with a standard and centralized platform for continuous integration and continuous deployment. A tight CI/CD integration can result in time savings, in addition to considerably lower costs in comparison with on-premises DevOps automation,” argued the Cloud-and DevOps: a Winning Combination blog.

Cloud Drives Better DevOps Testing

For DevOps, testing is critical, ensuring that any code released meets the enterprise’s standards. The cloud automates and simplifies testing processes. “Cloud-based DevOps offers seamless capabilities to automatically build and tear down complex test environments, without the expense and headache of physical hardware. The cloud even enables automated testing that can be performed in simulated environments that are indistinguishable from production environments in terms of complexity and scope,” the Cloud-and DevOps: a Winning Combination blog argued. “Test environments can be developed significantly more quickly and cost-effectively in comparison with on-premises environments.”

Cloud Drives DevOps Collaboration

DevOps as SaaS makes it easy for all team members and stakeholders to access your DevOps solution stack – no matter where they are and what device they are using. Managers, the IT staff and team members all benefit from a single pane of glass view into the DevOps stack allowing them to see how the system is structured, operating and what tools they need to perform their specific tasks.

“The centralized “nature of cloud-based DevOps also fosters greater collaboration among teams, eliminating all the hassle of sharing files back and forth to team members. The cloud, alongside version control, provides an enabling environment for simultaneous development to occur and removes the risk of teams stepping on each other’s toes,” argued the Cloud-and DevOps: a Winning Combination blog. “Also, knowledge transfer can happen more easily between the development and operations teams. They can understand each other’s problems and work seamlessly together.”

Cloud Drives DevOps Organizational Performance

Smart organizations boost performance by measuring and here the cloud heartily proves its DevOps mettle. “The use of cloud computing has a positive impact on overall organizational performance. Respondents that used cloud were 14% more likely to exceed in organizational performance goals than their non-cloud using peers,” The 2022 State of DevOps Dora Report found.

Cloud Drives Down DevOps Infrastructure Costs

SaaS moves the cost of applications from a Capital Expense (CapEx) to an Operating Expense (OpEx). In doing so, upfront infrastructure costs are largely done away with, including servers, application storage, related network gear and fixed software licensing costs. Also avoided are the costs of hardware installation, on-premises software configuration, technical support services and the cost of electricity to power all this equipment.

The Chef whitepaper argues that the “The advantage of using a SaaS-based DevOps platform vs. an on-premises platform is apparent when calculating the total cost of infrastructure implementation. For instance:

  • Initial IT infrastructure cost for On-Premise = Server Cost + Storage Cost +
  • Network Equipment Cost + Software License Cost
  • SaaS-based deployment cost = Software License Cost,”

There is also significant IT staff savings as the SaaS vendor manages the underlying infrastructure that sits in the cloud. Much of this work is mundane and nonstrategic, but when not tended to, creates an attractive attack surface.

With SaaS, the provider patches the software automatically so cybercriminals can't exploit un-updated applications. By getting rid of all this grunt work, IT staffers can focus more on strategic work that drives competitive advantage.

“In SaaS solutions, software patches are updated automatically, which enables the optimization of business-critical functions, leading to performance improvements such as fewer application crashes and downtime. It also helps organizations keep pace with the latest software features and capabilities that improve end-user experience. Finally, using a SaaS-based solution allows for automatic backup to the cloud. In other words, all the data is stored centrally. The cloud makes restoring data easier and helps internal IT departments maintain industry benchmark security measures,” the whitepaper added.

Company executives such as CEOs, CIOs and CTOs increasingly care about the economics of their software solutions, a fact that is driving the move to DevOps in the cloud.

“As the usage of cloud services continues to grow, cost optimization will become a major concern for Chief Technology Officers. In this case, DevOps will help cut down the total cost of ownership by automating key components like application deployment and orchestration,” the IDC Why Cloud and DevOps are Better Togetherblog said. “In our experience, an organization that implements DevOps with the cloud can save money, accelerate innovation, and motivate team members. People become more energized towards their work. This will increase enthusiasm to change and fasten the improvement and advancement with commercial benefits.”

Cloud Drives Better DevOps Integrations

DevOps teams avail themselves of many different software solutions. While the bulk of these solutions may indeed come from a suite, or portfolio of tools from a single vendor, there are myriad third-party solutions you might want to use as well. And ideally, you want these solutions as tightly integrated as possible. The cloud greatly eases this integration and makes it possible for third party tools appear as part of the cloud-based DevOps stack.

“Cloud computing permits developers more control over their own components, resulting in smaller wait times. This application-specific architecture makes it easy for developers to own more components,” The DevOps and Cloud: a Symbiotic Relationshipblog argued. “By using cloud tools and services to automate the process of building, managing and provisioning through the code, service teams speed up the development process, eliminate possible human error and establish repeatability.”

One Stop Shopping

Top DevOps software vendors offer comprehensive, richly featured solutions—in fact, often a family of solutions—so you can buy a core foundation and add new functionality as needs arise.

“This allows all software lifecycle phases and cloud resources to be managed effectively from the same paradigm. For instance, if developers need to assemble the components for a solution in a particular manner, the modern automation capabilities of the cloud can streamline the whole process and make it repeatable,” the Chef whitepaper said.

Cloud Drives Better DevOps Scalability

The cloud offers near limitless scalability, allowing you to add capacity simply by requesting it from the cloud provider. IT needn't worry about buying and configuring new servers, bits of network gear and installing and setting up applications. When resource needs decline, you can simply rollback your cloud capacity saving money in the process.

It's also a snap to add new applications as the DevOps cloud provider can simply make them available to your enterprise.

Advantages of Centralization

The cloud centralizes the hosting and delivery of your DevOps applications. End users and IT get a single view of the DevOps stack. This greatly eases IT governance, compliance and control of these applications, and when integrating new third-party apps, these likewise become part of this centralized software library.

How do you Know if You Need DevOps as a Service?

The below flow diagram walks through if you need DevOps as Service.


Essential Components of DevOps as Service

Your DevOps as a Service software stack should be at least as capable as what you may have on-premises. You can look for additional benefits from a cloud native approach, including:

  • Support for Multi-Environments: Scale to include resources and devices across hybrid, pure cloud or on-premises environments.
  • Full Infrastructure as Code (IaC) support
  • Continuous compliance
  • Automated remediation
  • Support for Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM)
  • Centralized dashboard that includes compliance and configuration data

Cloud Reduces DevOps Downtime

How often do your on-premises IT resources go down, leaving end users wallowing and admins dashing to fix the problem? Pretty often, of course. SaaS applications also go down – occasionally, very occasionally – like almost never. Fortunately, DevOps teams can “reduce downtime through cloud-based continuous operations. Moreover, in the process of applying automation, developers can build stateless cloud application development, which increases availability and failover ability, in the process increasing business reliability and customer satisfaction,” the DevOps and Cloud: a Symbiotic Relationshipblog argued.

Challenges of DevOps as a Service

You certainly don’t want to move processes and operations that aren’t based on best practices to the cloud, nor do you want to automate flawed processes.

The biggest DevOps as a Service challenge is making sure your operations are ready for the move.

Take a deep look into the following issues and have a plan to perfect each in preparation for a cloud migration:

  • CI/CD
  • Compliance
  • Software development lifecycle
  • DevOps culture

How Cloud Helped One User Align with CIS Level 1

Progress Chef SaaS is a complete DevOps stack hosted in the cloud. SaaS customer iManage Risk and Governance is reaping the cloud rewards.

“We have integrated Chef SaaS within our .Net and Azure environment to configure VMs to CIS level 1 standard. Chef SaaS enables us to configure our applications in alignment with our enterprise standards and allows us to comply with Azure Profiles easily,” argued Timothy Odom

Lead SRE, iManage Risk and Governance.

Chef SaaS is a One Stop DevOps Cloud Stop

Progress® Chef® SaaS is an excellent solution to consider for your DevOps transformation needs for the future. With Chef SaaS, you get seamless configuration and deployment, continuous compliance audits and automated remediation. Chef SaaS also provides CSPM capabilities to detect misconfigurations and maintain compliance & governance on multi-cloud accounts and container environments. Chef SaaS saves time and effort by taking care of the setup and deployment of Chef, allowing IT Operations teams to focus on accelerating time-to-value and innovation.

Learn more at the Chef SaaS Solution Page.