DevOps has emerged to be the mainstream focus in redefining the world of software and infrastructure engineering and operations over the last few years. DevOps is all about developing a culture of CAMS: a culture of automation, measurement, and sharing. The staggering popularity of the platform is attributed to the numerous benefits it brings in terms of improved collaboration, faster release, early bug detection, and fixing, improved productivity and much more. Organizations are facing numerous challenges with increased adoption of DevOps. Automation and bots can play a big role in improving the DevOps value.
What are ChatOps and Bots?
“Placing tools directly in the middle of the conversation” — Jesse Newland, GitHub.
Collaboration and conversation coupled together can be a great tool in helping teams learn and grow together. Today this is possible with ChatOps. An amalgamation of chat and operations, ChatOps simplifies the integration between various teams, tools and platforms of DevOps. In a nutshell, it brings the tools into conversations. A bot acts as a bridge between the collaboration and the DevOps tools. A request from the user is received by the bot in the form of a chat command through a collaboration tool. Thereafter the request is analyzed and a set of commands are executed in the target DevOps tool.
The main components of ChatOps and bots are:
It is the chat system where different teams and stakeholders are connected and they interact with each other and systems around them.
It is the brain of ChatOps which connects the collaboration tool and the DevOps tools. It enables two-way communication between the tools.
The bot executes actions such as build, deploy, test, provision and scale infrastructure on these target tools and platforms directly from the chat window. The integration enables the bot to easily communicate with tools.
Bots in the DevOps Pipeline
Bots can be implemented in different stages of the CI/CD pipeline to accelerate various processes.
- Continuous integration – Jenkins
- Continuous deployment – Ansible, Chef
- Continuous monitoring – Nagios, Grafana, Splunk
- Continuous feedback – JIRA
In addition to troubleshooting, bots also perform various other tasks including
- Rotate server logs
- On-boarding application on the monitoring tools
- Clean up servers
- Collect metrics from different tools
With ChatOps, users can stay on top of everything including organizing workflows right from their chat platforms. Yes, it is that simple. The bot is the core and it works with all the business apps to meet the business as well as operational needs.
3 ways to leverage bots for better DevOp
You can manage different workflows like deploying code through the chat platform.
Create smart and actionable alerts
Users can create smart alerts by defining different thresholds, monitoring the velocity of alerts. Based on these factors, alerts can be sent to the relevant person rather than flooding them with irrelevant alerts. Further, bots are designed to prompt the concerned person to take necessary action.
Start and Stop services and machines
Any app or service with an HTTP/REST API can be connected with a bot. It can also monitor various apps, environments and even start and stop them.
DevOps automation offers significant benefits. The key here is to choose a secure, scalable and resilient platform that can be managed through a chat platform. Customized to meet the specific requirements of a business, it should be flexible and adaptive so that it can be changed easily when workflows change. Implementing ChatOps in DevOps will streamline workflow and keep crucial players from different teams informed and thus increasing the overall productivity. In addition, the bots save time and money, improve the team’s ability to respond to emergencies.