What Is Cloud DevOps?
DevOps is a software development approach that combines cultural principles, tools, and practices to increase the speed and efficiency of an organization’s application delivery pipeline. It allows development and operations (DevOps) teams to deliver software and services quickly, enabling frequent updates and supporting the rapid evolution of products.
Cloud computing is a powerful technology that helps organizations implement DevOps strategies, enabling the crucial cultural and technological transformation needed to compete in the modern software marketplace.
There are three important ways DevOps and cloud work together:
- DevOps leverages the cloud—DevOps organizations manage and automate infrastructure using cloud computing technology, enabling agile work processes.
- CloudSecOps (cloud security operations)—an organizational pattern that moves processes to the cloud while tightly integrating security into the entire development lifecycle. It’s like DevSecOps, only in the cloud.
- DevOps as a Service—delivering integrated continuous integration and continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipelines via the cloud, in a software as a service (SaaS) model, to make DevOps easier to adopt and manage in an organization. We’ll describe this model and also introduce DevOps as a Service offerings from Amazon, Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud.
In this article:
1. How DevOps Leverages the Cloud
DevOps processes can be very agile when implemented correctly, but they can easily grind to a halt when facing the limitations of an on-premise environment. For example, if an organization needs to procure and install new hardware in order to start a new software project or scale up a production application, it causes needless delays and complexity for DevOps teams.
Cloud infrastructure offers an important boost for DevOps and facilitates scalability. The cloud minimizes latency and enables centralized management via a unified platform for deploying, testing, integrating, and releasing applications.
A cloud platform allows DevOps teams to adapt to changing requirements and collaborate across distributed enterprise environments. Cloud services and tools also help address some of the limitations of legacy systems, accelerating the development process. Most cloud service providers offer CI/CD tools to automate DevOps processes.
Cloud DevOps solutions are often more cost-effective than on-prem automation solutions. They facilitate governance by unifying the environments and reducing the security burden on teams. The cloud offers greater control and application-specific tools to help DevOps teams maintain components from different locations.
DevOps teams can provision and manage cloud resources using code or via an automated infrastructure provisioning service, ensuring their projects maintain the desired momentum. The high level of automation provided by cloud-based DevOps services helps minimize human error and streamlines repeatable tasks. Cloud services and tools let developers automate specific tasks to use their time more efficiently.
Related content: Read our guide to infrastructure as code
2. What Is CloudSecOps (Cloud, Security, and Operations)?
SecOps is a merging of security and IT operations in a unified process. SecOps involves a team that combines skilled software engineers and security analysts that can assess and monitor risk and protect corporate assets. The SecOps team typically operates from an organization’s security operations center (SOC).
SecOps is a growing movement within the broader world of DevSecOps that integrates security with development and operations processes. SecOps is still a distinct part of DevSecOps that focuses on securing an organization’s underlying development infrastructure.
Cloud security operations (CloudSecOps) is an evolution of the SecOps function that aims to identify, respond to, and recover systems from attacks targeting an organization’s cloud assets. Security operations must reactively respond to attacks that the security tools detect, while proactively seeking out other attacks that ordinary detection methods may have missed.
CloudSecOps teams have several roles and functions:
- Incident management—identifies security incidents, responds to them, and coordinates the response with communication, legal, and other teams. In a cloud environment, incident management moves faster and involves many more moving parts than in an on-premise data center.
- Prioritizing events—this requires calculating risk scores for cloud systems, accounts, and devices, and identifying the sensitivity of cloud applications and data.
- Using security technology—traditional SOC tools include security information and event management (SIEM) solutions and other reactive systems. SOC teams are shifting from static log analysis using conventional tools to advanced analytics driven by new solutions such as extended detection and response (XDR). These solutions leverage behavioral analysis, machine learning, and threat intelligence capabilities to identify and respond to abnormal behavior.
- Threat hunting—a proactive effort to discover advanced security threats, usually triggered by a hypothetical threat scenario. Threat hunting involves tools that filter out the noise from security monitoring solutions, enabling advanced data investigation.
- Metrics and objectives—the role of a SecOps team requires keeping track of key performance indicators like mean time to detect, acknowledge, and remediate (MTTD, MTTA, and MTTR, respectively).
3. What Is DevOps as a Service?
DevOps as a Service is a set of cloud-based tools that enable collaboration between an organization’s development and operations teams. The DevOps as a Service provider provides a toolset that covers all relevant aspects of the DevOps process and provides them as a unified platform.
DevOps as a Service is the opposite of a “best of breed” toolchain, where teams select the tools they like best for each purpose. It can make DevOps easier to implement for organizations new to agile processes because it does not require learning and integrating multiple-point solutions.
A DevOps as a Service platform enables tracking and management of every action taken in the software delivery process. It enables organizations to set up continuous integration / continuous delivery (CI/CD) systems and pipelines to increase development velocity and provide continuous feedback to developers.
This platform approach hides the complexity of managing data and information flows across a complex DevOps toolchain. Individuals and teams involved in the DevOps process can access any relevant technology without having to find, adopt, and learn multiple tools. For example, a DevOps as a Service solution provides access to source code management (SCM), build servers, deployment management, and application performance management (APM) in one interface, with centralized auditing and reporting.
DevOps as a Service Tools and Solutions
Here are DevOps as a Service offerings provided by the world’s leading cloud providers. Each of them provides an end-to-end environment for DevOps teams, which eliminates the need to download, learn, and integrate multiple point solutions.
Related content: Read our guide to DevOps tools
Amazon Web Services (AWS) provides services and tools dedicated to supporting DevOps implementations, including:
AWS CodeCommit is a managed source control service for hosting private Git repositories. There is no need to provision or scale the infrastructure or install, configure, or operate software—the service handles these tasks for you.
CodeCommit is ideal for storing code, binaries, and other components. The service is secure and highly scalable and can work seamlessly with existing Git-based tools. It also provides online code tools you can use to edit, browse, and collaborate on private projects.
AWS CodeBuild is a fully-managed service for continuous integration (CI) in the cloud. The service can compile your source code, run tests, and create deployment-ready software packages. The service handles the infrastructure, so there is no need to provision, scale, or manage the build servers. It scales continuously and can process several builds concurrently.
CodeBuild provides two options for your environments:
- Pre-configured environments—the service provides various pre-configured environments, including Linux and Microsoft Windows.
- Customized build environments—you can bring your custom environments, including Docker containers.
CodeBuild supports various source providers, including BitBucket, GitHub or GitHub EnterpriseAWS, Amazon S3, and CodeCommit. It also integrates with various open source tools, including Spinnaker and Jenkins.
AWS CodeArtifact is a fully-managed service that lets you centrally manage artifact repositories. It lets you publish, share, and store software packages securely. It provides pay-as-you-go scalability that enables you to flexibly scale the repository to satisfy requirements. The service handles the infrastructure, so there is no need to manage software or servers.
You can configure CodeArtifact to automatically fetch your software packages and their dependencies from various public artifact repositories to ensure you have access to up-to-date software versions. It also lets you set up and enforce controls that help ensure the quality and security of various software components, including open source software.
AWS CodeDeploy is a fully-managed service for automating software deployments. It supports deployment to various environments, including on-premises servers, AWS Lambda, Amazon Elastic Compute Cloud (Amazon EC2), and AWS Fargate.
Once you automate your deployments, you are free from manual operations—CodeDeploy scales to satisfy the needs of your deployment. The service facilitates rapid releases of new features, handles complexities associated with application updates, and can help you avoid downtime during deployment.
AWS CodePipeline is a cloud service for continuous delivery (CD). It provides functionality for modeling, visualizing, and automating software delivery steps. You can employ CodePipeline to model the entire release process, including code builds, deployment to pre-production environments, application testing, and releasing into a production environment.
Once you create a model, CodePipeline can begin automatically building, testing, and deploying your application. It follows your predefined workflow during each code change. The service lets you integrate tools from the AWS Partner Network (APN) and your existing tools into all applicable release steps to create an end-to-end CD solution.
Microsoft Azure provides cloud-based services and tools that support the modern DevOps team. Here are notable services that help DevOps teams plan, build, and deploy applications:
Azure Repos provides version control tools to help you manage code. It offers the following version control types:
- Git—a popular open source distributed version control. Azure Repos lets you use Git with various tools and operating systems, including Windows, Mac, Visual Studio, Visual Studio Code, and Git partner services and tools.
- Team Foundation Version Control (TFVC)—Azure’s centralized version control system lets you store code components in one repository.
Azure Pipelines is a cloud service that builds and tests code projects automatically. It utilizes continuous integration (CI) and continuous delivery (CD) when testing, building, and shipping your code to the environment of your choice. Pipelines support numerous programming languages and project types.
Azure Boards is a cloud service that provides interactive and customizable tools for managing software projects. It offers various capabilities, such as calendar views, native support for Scrum, Kanban, and Agile processes, integrated reporting, and configurable dashboards. You can leverage these features to scale as your project grows.
Azure Test Plans
Azure Test Plans is a browser-based test management solution that provides tools for driving quality and collaboration across the development lifecycle. It includes capabilities for various types of testing, including planned manual testing, exploratory testing, user acceptance testing, and feedback reviews.
Azure Artifacts provides a cloud-based, centralized location for managing packages and sharing code. It enables you to publish packages and share them publicly or privately with your team or the entire organization. The service lets you consume packages from various feeds and public registries, including npmjs.com and NuGet.org. It also supports a range of package types, including npm, NuGet, Python, Universal Packages, and Maven.
Google Cloud DevOps
Google Cloud provides various services and tools that support DevOps implementations, including:
The Cloud Build service executes builds on Google Cloud’s infrastructure. It imports source code from a location of your choice, such as GitHub, Bitbucket, Cloud Source Repositories, or Cloud Storage, and uses your specifications to execute the build. It can produce various artifacts, including Java archives and Docker containers.
Code Build uses a series of steps when executing your build, running each build step in a Docker container. The build step can perform any action that is possible to run on a container regardless of the environment. The service lets you use Cloud Build steps or write custom build steps tailored to your specific needs.
Artifact Registry is a cloud-based service for centrally managing artifacts and dependencies. The service is fully integrated with Google Cloud tools and runtimes and supports native artifact protocols. It provides simple integration with existing CI/CD tools so you can set up automated pipelines.
You can employ Artifact Registry to secure the container software supply chain and protect repositories within a VPC Service Controls perimeter. The service lets you create multiple regional repositories in a single Google Cloud project and control access at the repository level.
Cloud Monitoring is a service that collects events, metadata, and metrics from various sources, including Google Cloud, AWS, application instrumentation, and hosted uptime probes. You can use it alongside the BindPlane service to collect data from more than 150 application components, hybrid cloud systems, and on-premise systems. Google Cloud’s operations suite ingests this data, generating insights as charts, alerts, and dashboards. You can use BindPlane as part of your Google Cloud project at no additional cost.
Google Cloud Deploy is a managed cloud service for automating application delivery. It uses a defined promotion sequence when delivering applications to target environments. You can deploy an updated application by creating a release, and the delivery pipeline will then manage the entire lifecycle of this release.
Securing Cloud DevOps with Aqua CSPM and CNAPP
To ensure cloud-based DevOps environments are secure, you need to scan, monitor, and remediate configuration issues according to best practices and compliance standards. Aqua Cloud Security Posture Management (CSPM) can help you identify security issues and remediate them across AWS, Azure, Google Cloud, and Oracle Cloud.
Aqua CSPM continually audits your cloud accounts for security risks and misconfigurations across hundreds of configuration settings and compliance best practices, enabling consistent, unified multi-cloud security. Get detailed, actionable advice and alerts, or choose automatic remediation of misconfigured services with granular control over applied fixes.
In addition, it is crucial to enforce policies consistently across all your cloud native deployments, combining cloud workload protection for VMs, containers, and serverless. Aqua’s Cloud Native Application Protection Platform (CNAPP) provides full stack security and lets you enforce cloud infrastructure best practices, automate compliance, and improve the security posture of public cloud and Kubernetes infrastructure.
Aqua leverages modern microservices concepts to enforce immutability of applications at runtime, establishing zero-trust networking, and detecting and stopping suspicious activities, including zero-day attacks.
Lastly, Aqua offers several open source projects that can help you secure cloud environments: