codleo consulting


Jun 24, 2024 09:46 AM

As businesses increasingly depend on Salesforce, development teams on the platform face rising demands. To address these business needs, many Salesforce teams are adopting DevOps practices, which enable faster, more efficient, and safer delivery of work.

DevOps is becoming more popular within the Salesforce ecosystem, yet it remains a relatively new concept for many teams. Continue reading for an introduction to DevOps and some tips on how to begin implementing it.

What is Salesforce DevOps?

DevOps is a methodology that focuses on enhancing the speed and reliability of building, testing, and releasing software. It originated from the necessity to merge the roles of software development teams ('Dev') and operations teams ('Ops').

In the context of Salesforce, DevOps unites the individuals who create applications (developers and administrators) with those who release, monitor, and maintain them (typically administrators, team leads, or release managers).

By distributing the responsibility of software release across the entire development team, silos are reduced, leading to improved communication and collaboration.

What’s the difference between DevOps and agile development?

DevOps offers a fresh perspective on the development lifecycle and release processes. Its goal is to make release cycles faster, more secure, and less prone to errors. This approach incorporates the principles of agile development, focusing on incremental and frequent releases rather than a single, large release at the end of a project. Additionally, DevOps heavily relies on automation to streamline release cycles and feedback loops, replacing fragile manual processes with repeatable, reliable ones.

The benefits of DevOps

While DevOps is relatively new to Salesforce, it has been recognized for a long time as the most effective approach for creating and managing software on various platforms and technology stacks. This isn't a novel or untested idea; rather, it's a well-documented method with proven benefits.

The primary aim of DevOps is to enhance teams' ability to deliver new features and resolve critical issues swiftly and confidently. Therefore, it's no surprise that high-performing teams utilizing DevOps best practices achieve:

  • A higher frequency of new releases to production

  • Shorter lead times for changes and new feature development

  • Fewer bugs and service disruptions due to poor-quality code

  • Faster recovery times during service outages

In fact, Google's 2022 DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) report revealed that elite teams release 973 times more frequently than low-performing teams. Additionally, high-performing teams have a lead time from commit to deploy that is 6570 times faster than their lower-performing counterparts, and their changes are one-third less likely to fail.

These trends are also evident among teams developing on Salesforce. Our industry report indicates that top-performing teams all have mature DevOps processes, enabling them to release updates at least once a day, maintain a change failure rate under 10%, and restore lost data within days.

While the general benefits of DevOps are applicable across all software development, Salesforce DevOps offers unique advantages tailored to the Salesforce platform's specific characteristics. These include automating releases, version-controlling Salesforce metadata, and increasing collaboration using native tools like Salesforce DX. Some DevOps platforms, such as Codleo, allow you to leverage the power of SFDX without requiring the Salesforce CLI.

Teams adopting Salesforce DevOps practices with Codleo experience a 98% deployment success rate and can release up to 12 times faster compared to deploying with change sets. In essence, teams that embrace DevOps practices significantly outperform those that do not.

What does Salesforce DevOps involve?

Adopting DevOps for Salesforce development doesn't require a complete overhaul. Even small steps toward a more agile development process can yield significant benefits. Your team may already be implementing some DevOps practices!

A comprehensive DevOps strategy typically includes practices such as version control, continuous integration, automated testing, and regular backups.

Pillar 1: Version Control for Faster, More Reliable Development and Collaboration

A Git-based version control system (VCS), or 'source control,' is central to any modern Salesforce DevOps process. Source control allows your team to track changes, review contributions, and enable multiple contributors to simultaneously work on the same features. Developers can work on new features within Git branches, which are later merged into the master branch, which contains the latest stable version of the project after the work has been reviewed.

There are numerous benefits to using a version control system like Git, including:

  • Reducing Risk: By using Git as the source of truth for your development team instead of your production org, you can minimize risks and avoid costly errors.

  • Tracking Changes: Maintain a complete history of every change your team makes to your org, aiding in auditing and debugging efforts.

  • Collaboration: Multiple team members can work in the same org without overwriting each other’s work or conflicting with one another.

  • Reliable Releases: Test your changes thoroughly before release to ensure they meet your standards and are fit for purpose.

Pillar 2: CI/CD for Rapid, Continual Value Addition Without Manual Repetition

Continuous integration (CI) builds on a Git-based workflow by automating the testing and validation of changes to ensure they can be deployed. Continuous delivery (CD) focuses on releasing frequent, small changes to users through an automated process, thereby reducing the risks associated with large releases.

Together, CI/CD eliminates the pain and risk of manually deploying changes to multiple development environments and production. This approach promotes iterative and incremental development, enabling frequent small changes and immediate feedback from team members and end users. Implementing CI/CD for regular, small, and automated releases offers several benefits:

Avoiding Manual Errors: Automation helps prevent manual errors that could disrupt releases.

  • Reducing Risk: Frequent, small releases make the process more reliable, reducing the risk associated with each release.

  • Minimizing Downtime: Quickly roll back mistakes and unwanted changes to minimize downtime.

  • Tightening Feedback Loops: Immediate feedback allows users to drive the development process.

  • Enabling Flexibility: Work on multiple projects simultaneously and adapt to feedback without losing existing progress.

  • Accelerating Value Delivery: Release new features and improvements to users as quickly as possible.

Pillar 3: Automated Testing for Reliable, Bug-Free Code

Testing is a crucial component of software development, and Salesforce requires developers to test at least 75% of any new code deployed to a production org. However, to ensure your team can easily review and reliably build upon your code in the future, the tests you write must be both useful and meaningful.

Automation can assist by testing changes every time they are merged into your master branch or deployed to another environment. An agile DevOps setup also allows you to populate development or testing environments with data from production, ensuring your code works with real-world data that can come in unexpected shapes and forms. Automated testing offers several advantages:

  • Saving Time and Effort: Ensure changes work correctly and can be deployed without manual testing.

  • Preventing Faulty Code: Avoid shipping defective code that could disrupt existing functionality.

  • User Acceptance Testing: Verify that you’re developing the features your organization needs.

  • Improving Quality: Reduce bugs and critical issues, allowing your team to focus on developing new features.

Pillar 4: Backup for Swift and Complete Disaster Recovery

Having a backup of your customer and organization’s data is crucial in case of disasters such as accidental data loss, data corruption from third-party integrations, malicious actions by disgruntled employees, or even a Salesforce platform outage.

However, the effectiveness of a backup solution lies in its ability to facilitate restoration. Backups and org security are fundamental to DevOps, ensuring that the business can quickly return to normal operations.

A critical aspect is the relationship between your data and the structure of your org — the metadata where your data is stored. It is essential to have continuous backups of both your data and metadata. Teams equipped with tools and processes to monitor and roll back changes to their data and metadata can restore complex data hierarchies swiftly, minimizing damage. A robust backup solution will enable you to:

  • Monitor Changes: Track changes or deletions in your org’s data and metadata.

  • Restore Efficiently: Use your familiar deployment process to restore data and metadata.

  • Test Restorations: Deploy backup data to sandbox environments for testing.

  • Comply with Regulations: Mask and delete records to adhere to data protection regulations.

Want to Learn More About Salesforce DevOps?

DevOps Launchpad is a free training platform designed for anyone looking to enhance their knowledge and skills in Salesforce DevOps. This platform provides opportunities to showcase your expertise by sharing your certifications and badges with peers and colleagues. Whether you're new to DevOps or have years of experience, DevOps Launchpad offers comprehensive training in all areas, from version control to backup. Take the next step in your DevOps journey and level up your skills today!

Where to Start with Salesforce DevOps Tools

Adopting DevOps processes gradually and improving incrementally is the best approach, rather than trying to implement everything simultaneously. Moving away from change sets and adopting version control to enhance your release process. Implementing backups early ensures the safety of your org as you make other workflow changes.

Here are several tools that can guide you to DevOps success:

  • Deployment Tools: These tools help you transfer data and metadata between environments. Some even cross-reference the source and target to ensure successful deployments.

  • Monitoring Tools: After making a release, these tools monitor your orgs, flagging any errors or unexpected changes. Some tools also offer the ability to roll back changes.

  • Version Control Tools: Platforms like GitHub or GitLab integrate with your deployment tool to track changes in your orgs, allowing the whole team to see what has changed, when, and how.

  • CI/CD Tools: These tools automate testing and Salesforce deployments, streamlining your process and enabling you to deliver quickly to end users.

  • Backup Tools: Secure your data and metadata, making it easier to locate and restore in case of a disaster. Automating daily backups puts you in the best position to recover when issues arise.

  • Automated Testing Tools: These tools expedite the code review process and catch errors and bugs in developer sandboxes long before they reach your production environment.

Codleo simplifies the complexity of DevOps, making it easy for you to adopt each DevOps practice one step at a time, as your team is ready to progress.

Join Codleo's Salesforce DevOps Implementation Fireside Chat with RS Maan and Anand Sharma

Join us for an insightful fireside chat on Salesforce DevOps implementation, hosted by Codleo Consulting, featuring RS Maan and Anand Sharma. This engaging webinar, scheduled for June 28, 2024, at 7:00 PM IST and 9:30 PM EST, will delve into the best practices, challenges, and success stories of implementing DevOps in Salesforce environments. Gain valuable knowledge and interact with industry experts to enhance your DevOps strategies and streamline your Salesforce development processes.

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