DevOps is a set of practices that combines software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). It aims to shorten the systems development life cycle and provide continuous delivery with high software quality.[1][2] DevOps is complementary with Agile software development; several DevOps aspects came from Agile methodology.

Academics and practitioners have not developed a unique definition for the term “DevOps”.[a][b][c][d]

From an academic perspective, Len BassIngo Weber, and Liming Zhu—three computer science researchers from the CSIRO and the Software Engineering Institute—suggested defining DevOps as “a set of practices intended to reduce the time between committing a change to a system and the change being placed into normal production, while ensuring high quality”.[6]

The term DevOps, however, has been used in multiple contexts.

In 2009, the first conference named devopsdays was held in GhentBelgium. The conference was founded by Belgian consultant, project manager and agile practitioner Patrick Debois.[8][who?][9] The conference has now spread to other countries.[10]

In 2012, the State of DevOps report was conceived and launched by Alanna Brown at Puppet.[11][12] As of 2014, the annual State of DevOps report was published by Nicole Forsgren, Gene Kim, Jez Humble and others.[13][14] In 2014, they found that DevOps adoption was accelerating.[13] Also in 2014, Lisa Crispin and Janet Gregory wrote the book More Agile Testing, containing a chapter on testing and DevOps.

As DevOps is intended to be a cross-functional mode of working, those who practice the methodology use different sets of tools—referred to as “toolchains“—rather than a single one.[17] These toolchains are expected to fit into one or more of the following categories, reflective of key aspects of the development and delivery process:[18][unreliable source?][19][unreliable source?]

  1. Coding – code development and review, source code management tools, code merging.
  2. Building – continuous integration tools, build status.
  3. Testing – continuous testing tools that provide quick and timely feedback on business risks.
  4. Packaging – artifact repository, application pre-deployment staging.
  5. Releasing – change management, release approvals, release automation.
  6. Configuring – infrastructure configuration and management, infrastructure as code tools.
  7. Monitoring – applications performance monitoring, end-user experience.

Some categories are more essential in a DevOps toolchain than others; especially continuous integration (e.g. JenkinsGitlabBitbucket pipelines) and infrastructure as code (e.g., TerraformAnsiblePuppet).[20][unreliable source?][21][unreliable source?]

Forsgren et al. found that IT performance is strongly correlated with DevOps practices like source code management and continuous delivery.[13]


Main article: Agile software development

Agile and DevOps serve complementary roles: several standard DevOps practices such as automated build and test, continuous integration, and continuous delivery originated in the Agile world, which dates (informally) to the 1990s, and formally to 2001.[22] Agile can be viewed as addressing communication gaps between customers and developers, while DevOps addresses gaps between developers and IT operations / infrastructure.[23] Also, DevOps has focus on the deployment of developed software, whether it is developed via Agile or other methodologies.[22].


ArchOps presents an extension for DevOps practice, starting from software architecture artifacts, instead of source code, for operation deployment.[24]. ArchOps states that architectural models are first-class entities in software development, deployment, and operations.


TestOps is to hardware development what DevOps is to software development. The idea is a toolchain that links design and test operations together. In the case of hardware, design means EDA tools and the CAD department, and test means electronic measurement equipment like oscilloscopes and so on.[25]

Continuous delivery[edit]

Main article: Continuous delivery

Continuous delivery and DevOps have common goals and are often used in conjunction, but there are subtle differences.[26][27]

While continuous delivery is focused on automating the processes in software delivery, DevOps also focuses on the organizational change to support great collaboration between the many functions involved.[26]

DevOps and continuous delivery share a common background in agile methods and lean thinking: small and frequent changes with focused value to the end customer.[28][unreliable source?] Lean management and continuous delivery are fundamental to delivering value faster, in a sustainable way.[14] Continuous delivery focuses on making sure the software is always in a releasable state throughout its lifecycle.[13] This makes it cheaper and less risky to deliver the software.[13]

Improved collaboration and communication both between and within organizational teams can help achieve faster time to market, with reduced risks.[29][30]

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