DevOps’ Role in Developing a Robust and Secure IoT Framework

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Creating a secure IoT infrastructure is a challenge for developers, requiring a holistic approach. It requires a dynamic framework that is capable of collecting data from a cloud backend as well as directly from the embedded hardware.

Supporting this secure environment is another challenge, requiring the development of complex systems capable of deployment in a timely and cost-effective manner. This is where the relationship between DevOps and IoT proves invaluable.

In this article, we will take a close look at how DevOps adds value to the development of a robust IoT framework. We also will examine ways in which DevOps can help in creating a secure and efficient framework for IoT app development.

DevOps and IoT Framework

DevOps, with its focus on reducing delivery cycle times, can increase the speed at which IoT systems can be integrated and function in a seamless and secure manner. Seamless integration can be achieved through a combination of secure app development and operational quality assurance checks.

The DevOps methodology is rooted in the agile philosophy, which attempts to bridge the gap between different technical roles that traditionally worked in silos within the same department in IoT app development.

Using the right tools and practices, DevOps can help in creating a framework for IoT that can overcome challenges relating to the large-scale app deployment. It can help in infrastructure positioning and monitoring. Companies that have adopted DevOps methodology have reported a 38 percent increase in growth due to additional revenue sources.

Let’s take a look at some of the ways the DevOps framework can create a secure and robust environment for IoT app development resulting in increased productivity and revenues.

Application Reliability and Efficiency

One of the main functions for DevOps is to improve application reliability and efficiency—there is less need for coding and increased focus on rule-based automated configuration of key connected components. With DevOps, the app development team can identify red flags and improve operational excellence. With monitoring tools such as Log-entries, Nagios and Icinga, the team can use DevOps processes to remove latency and develop an efficient and robust IoT infrastructure.

DevOps comes with source code control of the software applications that execute in the data center. This means developers have access to the source code, which makes their job easier. The source code reduces the complexity caused by cloud connectivity, automation and virtualization.

Applications deployed through DevOps recover 96 times faster from failures and reported to have 440 times faster lead time for changes. Deeper collaboration between operations, quality assurance and development teams result in an ongoing feedback that helps increase IoT application reliability.

Security by Design

An important component of DevOps is security by design, which helps improve the security of connected systems in a DevOps environment. In security by design, the system allows continuous security testing in real time, which helps improve the security of devices connected in a network.

The security-by design approach also formalizes security controls and implements them at each stage of the IT operations. As a result, software developers can spend time efficiently developing security controls in a consistent way instead of manually building and patching individual scripts.

The DevOps approach to IoT application development can also help in gaining insights into the usage and performance, which can help in further refinement of the design delivery pipelines. This will lead to improved security and quality architecture of IoT environment.

Faster Release Cycles

Around 21 percent of respondents in a survey of 300 senior managers had stated that DevOps integration increasingly lead to meeting application delivery deadlines. The DevOps metrics lead time is used to measure how quickly the app is deployed after starting work.

DevOps integration with IoT will result in the following benefits: 

  • Developers can work on different components of an application simultaneously, which allows faster completion of activities.
  • Quick release cycles allow IoT apps to be pushed live without much delay.
  • Fast release cycles enable the app development team to build IoT applications using separately deployable services that lead to quality app deployment.

Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery (CI/CD)

DevOps framework helps overcome interoperability problem related to IoT app deployment and operations. Most systems required for IoT app integration are already running in the framework that helps in quick deployment. Businesses can choose the process to automate from staging to production using tools such as Jenkins, GitLab and TeamCity. CI/CD allows developers to respond more quickly to market demands by proactively monitoring the processes.

The approach results in faster resolution time and release of quality IoT application. Research by CA Technologies found that organizations that adopt DevOps find 21 percent increase in software delivery and 18 percent reduction in time to market due to an efficient CI/CD pipeline.

Infrastructure Automation

Infrastructure automation save systems administrators and IT resources time on manual tasks and remove the possibilities for human error during IT configuration, patch management and performance tracking. By scripting almost every command, developers can significantly reduce input requirement of administrators. Increased automation also provides stability as the system is no longer prone to human error on input. Repetitive tasks are a prime candidate for automation, as these are the most likely areas where people make mistakes.

DevOps methodology makes it possible to automate the infrastructure in multiple cloud platforms. For this purpose, developers can use tools such as Spinnaker and Terraform. Terraform is useful for defining and managing the DevOps infrastructure, while Spinnaker is more useful for managing the infrastructure after code release and deployment workflows.

DevOps framework also helps automates allocation, de-allocation and monitoring of both cellular and cloud resources, which ensures quality of service (QoS) for applications that control connected devices.

Effective Validation

Using endpoint validation can help in evaluating how data flows between different components. Testing of the components in the DevOps environment is done using scripts written in Python, Go or Groovy. The infrastructure testing involves stimulating the environment to test security and other components of the IoT app.

The app development team also can make use of infrastructure as code to test configuration and environment automation. The configuration is tested using tools such as Chef, Ansible and Puppet. In addition, virtualization tools such as Vagrant or container technology can be used to test the environment automation.

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