DevOps: The Missing Piece Of The SaaS Development Puzzle
In order to build great SaaS products, development teams need to work efficiently and with minimal delays. In today’s development environment, a lot of complexity is involved like scope creep and miscommunications on requirements. DevOps is an efficient set of software development and deployment processes that facilitate communication and collaboration between software developers and IT operation teams. According to the 2022 Gitlab survey among 5 000 DevOps specialists, 70 percent of DevOps teams manage to regularly and continuously release their code thanks to robust DevOps infrastructure.
Organizations that want to achieve high availability and low latency in their software are actively adopting DevOps strategies along with next-gen development solutions, like Rust programming. In this article, we're going to explore how DevOps can enhance SaaS development.
Why is DevOps essential for a SaaS project?
The SaaS model has been around for more than a decade. The market has evolved over time and so have the challenges associated with managing SaaS applications.
The DevOps approach is the best way to efficiently run a SaaS application. It allows organizations to scale up their development and operations teams while ensuring that developers can get access to the infrastructure and tools they need to build quality software quickly.
One of the standout DevOps sample projects is a widely known SaaS product Salesforce. The company not only uses DevOps practices for their internal development but also makes a step forward and offers their customers a full set of DevOps tools to efficiently build and deploy apps with Salesforce.
There are diverse ways to build a DevOps-SaaS interconnection. You can even follow Saleforce’s example and create a completely unique DevOps as a service product. In the next section, let’s explore the benefits of DevOps for SaaS.
Benefits of applying DevOps practices during SaaS development
There are many benefits of applying DevOps practices during SaaS development. To begin with, it allows you to create a “culture of continuous improvement” that’s essential for your success as a software business. Here are some of the main benefits of adopting DevOps:
Increased speed of software delivery. When you adopt DevOps, you can release your product much quicker thanks to continuous integration and delivery practices, which gives your customers greater value and helps you keep up with changes in the market.
Improved quality of code. Diverse DevOps strategies like GitOps, for instance, help developers to identify bugs early on in the development process and timely fix them before releasing the product into production. This also helps in reducing costs associated with bug fixing after deployment (which can be quite expensive).
Enhanced communication among team members. When everyone is working off the same version control repository, it’s easy for developers to keep each other up-to-date on the progress being made on various projects or tasks within an individual SaaS project. This makes it much easier for everyone involved with a specific feature or component to stay in sync with each other throughout the development process — whether they’re working from different offices or on different continents.
Reduced risk. Automated testing and continuous integration help reduce the risk of releasing faulty code by providing frequent feedback on code quality.
Let’s sum it all up then. If you start developing your SaaS project with DevOps practices, you can quickly launch your product to the market, have better guarantees that the application code will have a required quality level, and as a cherry on top, you’ll face much fewer risks when deploying your solution in production. Sounds like a perfect scenario. Let’s learn then what you need to efficiently start with your SaaS project backed up with DevOps techniques.
How to implement DevOps in a SaaS project
Below are a few things to consider to successfully implement DevOps practices.
Define your goals and objectives.
The first step is to determine what you want from your DevOps initiative in terms of your SaaS project. For example, do you want to improve collaboration between development and operations? Do you want more frequent releases? Or do you need more stability in production? These questions will help you decide which practices will be most effective for your particular situation.
Choose a toolchain for automation.
There are many different tools available for automating tasks such as configuration management, deployment, and monitoring — including Chef, Puppet, Ansible, SaltStack, and Docker containers. Pick one that works best for your team’s needs based on factors such as ease of use, cost, and integration with other tools in your stack (for example, if you’re already using Docker containers).
Set up the environment for testing and development.
Once you have selected the right set of tools for automation, it is time to set up an environment where tests can be executed automatically after every code change pushed into the repository by developers or testers. Once this environment is ready with all test cases and configurations needed you’re good to go with using DevOps best practices in your SaaS project.
Make sure to also regularly evaluate to what extent DevOps techniques are helping your SaaS project to run more efficiently. In the next section, we give you a few tips that can help you start the development process with much more confidence.
Tips on developing a winning SaaS solution using DevOps techniques
As you may have guessed already, DevOps is a universal method that can elevate many projects and SaaS is one of the use cases. We’d like to share with you a few tips that can help you improve the development and deployment as of your SaaS project so of any other project as well.
The team is your everything. In order to build a successful SaaS product, you need a team that is experienced in building SaaS applications and has solid experience with DevOps. You’ll need people who understand both development and operations well enough to build something worthwhile for your business. If you don’t have these resources available internally, consider outsourcing some of these tasks so that you can focus on what matters most — getting results from your application.
Start small, but start now. Don’t wait until your product is ready for prime time. Start with a minimum viable product (MVP) right away, even before you have all the features that you want to offer in the final product. This will allow you to get feedback from potential customers and improve your product continuously.
Use agile development processes like Scrum or Kanban to manage your development team(s), instead of the waterfall model or other traditional approaches that lead to huge time delays between when requirements are defined and when they’re delivered into production environments. In combination with DevOps, these practices will help you deliver value more quickly.
Any SaaS business that wishes to ensure a successful product launch is likely to benefit from implementing the principles of DevOps. Equipping a development team with the right tools, infrastructure, and training necessary to effectively implement new features can ensure a more streamlined and efficient process. By empowering developers with the ability to make their own decisions, along with assessing the outcomes of those decisions in real time, a team can work as efficiently as possible. This may also result in fewer bugs being released into production, helping you release a SaaS solution with a smooth customer experience.
Featured Image by Safar Safarov on Unsplash