What is WebOps? Benefiting from Web Operations
Maintaining a web presence that exceeds your customers’ expectations isn’t easy. For most organizations, the days of a static web presence meant to augment a physical operation are long gone. Instead, enterprises use content management systems like Drupal or WordPress and web-based applications to ensure their customers’ evolving needs are met.
As the purpose of your web presence has changed, so must the team supporting it. WebOps teams with diverse skill sets keep your website functioning, performant, and secure around the clock. With WebOps, you can deliver a great customer experience while swiftly making changes and improvements to your website.
What is WebOps?
WebOps — or web operations — is a multidisciplinary practice that encompasses everything your enterprise needs to develop, deploy, and manage web-based applications. WebOps transforms web teams by incorporating DevOps principles that break down the traditional infrastructure and website management silos. It establishes a comprehensive, integrated approach for handling your web presence.
The ultimate goal of WebOps is to provide the end user — the customer — with a better web experience. Whether that means faster load times, consistent uptime, more relevant content, or the confidence that their personal data is secure, a happier customer means a more successful website owner.
Is WebOps part of DevOps?
WebOps, as you might guess, adopts the principles of DevOps to revolutionize legacy practices and unlock the benefits of automation and agile practices. Web development teams are no longer siloed, passing their work to the operations teams. Processes are automated, providing faster delivery for updates. Monitoring and deployment feedback is provided back to the developers to complete the feedback loop.
The diverse skill set required to support a successful web operation also requires the collaboration of subject matter experts. For instance, not every person on the team will be a security expert. But by baking security into the process through a SecDevOps approach, it changes from an afterthought managed by a separate team to something everyone is aware of and invested in.
Why Use WebOps?
WebOps offers key advantages for creating an exceptional web ecosystem.
WebOps teams look for opportunities to create efficiencies through automation, so they can focus on solving business challenges instead of executing repetitive processes. And they’ll find many of these opportunities thanks to their wide range of skills and the collaborative nature of WebOps.
Automation starts with a continuous integration/continuous development (CI/CD) pipeline, the set of tasks required to deploy updates to the website. Continuous integration involves creating an automated process for the development and testing of software, while continuous delivery deploys that software to the necessary infrastructure environments. Configuration management, automated backups, infrastructure as code, and containerization are also key ways WebOps can streamline web operations.
WebOps reduces the chance of human error thanks to repeatable processes that evolve and adapt to new challenges. Bugs are found earlier through automated testing, simulated go-lives identify issues that otherwise would have arisen in production, and changes are quickly implemented to take advantage of new opportunities. Issues also occur less often thanks to the transparency and frequent deployments that come with WebOps.
With WebOps, the days of endlessly delayed web project launches are over. Its iterative approach makes implementing and testing changes to your existing web presence simple and fast. Customers will spend less time dealing with web issues or waiting for exciting new features, and more time accomplishing their goals.
4 Steps to Get Started with WebOps
Make adopting WebOps simple by following these four best practices.
1. Embrace a WebOps Cultural Philosophy
The foundation of WebOps is collaboration. What were formerly separate teams form a single multidisciplinary unit that takes full ownership of all web operations. WebOps requires a culture of frequent communication and a focus on solving problems instead of assigning blame. Shared communication tools and implementing a project management platform like Jira facilitate this WebOps cultural transformation, allowing team members to seamlessly collaborate and track each other’s progress.
2. Implement Automated Deployments and Testing
As noted above, WebOps relies on an automated, continuous pipeline of deployments to achieve efficiency and consistency. You can use tools like Cascade, Jenkins, and Bamboo to automate the steps required to take the development team’s changes to the production infrastructure. These tools run testing in a separate environment and allow for a simulated go-live in a staging environment. Executing this process manually is inefficient, subject to human error, and, perhaps most importantly, doesn’t lend itself to continuous improvement.
3. Monitor, Analyze, and Iterate
It’s hard to know exactly what needs improving or fixing in your web ecosystem if you aren’t monitoring it and analyzing data in real time. Monitoring and incident response is a 24 hours a day, 365 days a year activity. Customers should never lose service because of a failed WebOps strategy.
Adopting open source or commercial infrastructure monitoring tools, combined with APM solutions like New Relic, is a good first step. Deployment logs, security scans, firewall logs, and site analytics tools like Google Site Analytics are also useful.
The most important part of any monitoring strategy is iterating on what you learn. The agile nature of WebOps allows the team to reorient towards new priorities and deploy the necessary changes without delay. The smaller a change, the easier it is to implement, and the more quickly you can identify and resolve any problems it introduces.
4. Proactively Build for Scale
As your site becomes more successful, your tolerance for customer issues naturally decreases, so your WebOps team must embrace new challenges. Plan ahead and address questions in these areas and others as you grow:
- Do you have a backup strategy that allows you to look at the state of your website in the past to recover potential lost data?
- Do you have a failover strategy in the event one component of your website fails?
- Do you have a geographically redundant disaster recovery strategy?
- Do you have security features like automated intrusion detection, periodic scanning, automatic security updates, and denial of service protection?
- Do you have the right compliance controls in place?
- Have you done the load testing needed to handle any circumstance, like the possibility of a high traffic site linking to your site?
- Have you implemented every possible caching method available?
- Are you using a content delivery network (CDN) to distribute static content?
You can answer these questions by performing tabletop exercises — meetings where each team member proposes a scenario and everyone verbalizes their response to that scenario. Scenario responses are then compiled in a “runbook” and saved for a real emergency, while any issues identified by the team are captured for improvement.
WebOps Expertise at Your Fingertips
Making substantial changes to your web processes can easily lead to disruptions in service and unnecessary, costly mistakes. These challenges can make the transition to WebOps difficult — but they don’t have to! WebOps service providers are available to assist, regardless of your level of technical expertise or your budget.
Contegix’s BlackMesh WebOps services provide experts who can help your team with everything needed to create a winning customer experience, including migrations, upgrades, maintenance, automation, incident response, change management, IT infrastructure needs, and more. No matter what data or content you’re working with, Contegix empowers your team with the expertise they need to excel. Its services come with 24/7 monitoring and management, so your web team can focus on the most impactful parts of the WebOps process.
Explore the benefits of Contegix’s BlackMesh WebOps services by contacting us today!