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Why DevOps? The ‘game–changer’ for embedded system development



28th September - Valencia.

Facing the challenges and best practices.

The rise of cloud-native computing allied to the explosion of internet of things (IoT) devices and edge technologies has required a new way of designing, testing, deploying and maintaining embedded systems. These can amount to billions of connected entities with an always-on network and large-scale security vulnerabilities. The problem has always been how to introduce a way of delivering quality applications at speed whilst reducing the time taken to ensure security and eliminate complexities in an ever competitive market. For some, DevOps has been the answer.


According to companies like HCL successful embedded system software development demands enabling faster time to market, enhanced productivity, and the agility to support continuous product evolution to enhance customer experience, all of which drive the need to embrace DevOps for embedded software.  However moving from conventional embedded systems development models to agile models incorporating the best of DevOps is challenging.  A modern DevOps solution specifically designed for the embedded system software development lifecycle (SDLC) can address the problems and help accelerate product development and delivery.


What is DevOps

AWS describes DevOps as the combination of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that increases an organization’s ability to deliver applications and services at high velocity: evolving and improving products at a faster pace than organizations using traditional software development and infrastructure management processes.


Why DevOps are important

DevOps and processes such as Continuous Integration/Continuous Development (CI/CD) are becoming imperative in embedded systems software development for ensuring reproducible quality. New development and release methodologies drive faster time-to-market, support better team cohesion, and result in better code overall. 

The main reason for its implementation has been that developers who can write good code and who understand embedded systems are hard to find and many design teams are facing a shortage. It is further exacerbated by the requirement for developers to have security clearances. DevOps is critical in this context because it enables a small, limited talent pool to produce more software than ever before. Companies must also implement tools that support these more efficient processes, eliminate hardware roadblocks, enabling the development of high quality embedded products faster.

Bringing DevOps to the embedded software ecosystem is about providing a set of tools or a platform that does the version control, CI and CD all in a single package—a platform to simplify the workflows for companies that typically have to build all of this themselves now can deliver opportunities for tremendous efficiencies and innovation.

DevOps engineers carry out this process and to carry forward the task, they understand various aspects of DevOps as well as its culture, philosophies, tools and use DevOps to automate tasks.


The Best Practices of DevOps

Consultants Simform have recently spoken of the best practices for implementing successful DevOps, which include:

1.  Work as a cross functional autonomous team

2.  Focus on meaningful measurement

3.  Encourage continuous and transformational feedback from team and customers

4.  Focus on people, process and product

5.  Incorporate appropriate tools to suit the business

6.  Monitor code, infrastructure and environment continuously

7.  Ensure rapid response to alert or threat

8.  Implement automated provisioning

9.   Adopt test automation frameworks

10. The customer is a strong focus

11. Release smaller and frequent updates


DevOps also has the positive effect of enabling high performance teams through improved communication and collaboration, which raises team productivity and morale resulting in higher quality product.


The challenges of implementing DevOps

One of the most important challenges is that DevOps implementation requires an organizational change and mind-set which may not be present nor supported and therefore could be time-consuming to implement.

Specific expertise is required, which may not be available immediately among in house team members. Team members need to be trained on the new methodologies and tools. They need to determine how these novel methods will work at their specific organisation. DevOps and CI/CD are cultural shifts as much as they are technical and procedural.

Other challenges include the need to ensure security throughout the entire embedded development process and toolset limitations which can disrupt productivity and time to market. DevOps offers enhanced security and there is an improvement in overall quality due to the continuous testing model and the extensive use of automation.

Of equal importance is the ability to put a successful DevOps team together, in getting the right skills and mind-set in place that will allow a company to hit the ground running without the delays to train up an in-house team.

As mentioned already, there is a global shortage of these embedded development engineers available to provide these skills, and it then requires specialists in the field to search, locate and provide the right resources from day one. Specialists such as CIS who have the experience and global reach to supply the right expertise for on-site, remote or hybrid availability. Make sure you do not get left behind in the race for DevOps capability; contact CIS on info@cis-ee.com or +34 963 943 500.