What is DevOps Automation? The Importance of Automation in DevOps

Paul Hill

February 5, 2023 • 7 min read

    In today’s world, automation is key to success in many industries – and DevOps is no different. DevOps automation is the process of automating the tasks involved in a typical DevOps workflow, from provisioning and configuration to deployment and monitoring. By automating these tasks, businesses can save time and money, improve efficiency, and speed up the delivery of their software products. This article will explain what DevOps Automation is and how you can get started learning DevOps automation.

    What is DevOps Automation

    DevOps is a revolutionary approach to improving collaboration and communication between the operations, development, and quality assurance teams. DevOps automation harnesses the power of technology to automate processes and operations through DevOps tools and techniques, such as Continuous Integration and Delivery (CI/CD).

    DevOps automates manual tasks so that time-consuming work can be streamlined more quickly and efficiently. Additionally, DevOps can also improve regulatory compliance efforts by making sure all software systems comply with regulations in real time. With DevOps automation, teams can develop and deploy software faster and with greater precision than ever before.

    Understanding Infrastructure as Code (IaC), the foundation of DevOps Automation

    Understanding Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is an essential aspect of DevOps automation that enables technical professionals to manage the complexities of data center infrastructure better. IaC drastically streamlines deployment and configuration processes, allowing users to achieve far greater results than manual configuration.

    • Represents a major shift away from traditional methods of IT and system administration, enabling teams to perform complex cloud infrastructure in mere minutes.
    • Eliminates tedious trial-and-error configurations, eliminating costly mistakes and improving operational efficiency across the board.
    • Allows for much greater scalability and portability, ensuring that workloads remain flexible and can be adjusted quickly to meet market demands.

    Common IaC tools

    Infrastructure as Code (IaC) is an incredibly powerful tool for DevOps automation, greatly simplifying the process of managing your cloud infrastructure. Immutable infrastructure and versioning are a few of the many benefits that IaC provides. Some of the most common IaC tools are:

    • Terraform
    • Kubernetes
    • Puppet
    • Ansible

    Terraform and Kubernetes are standard IaC tools used for defining your infrastructure. For example, how many VMs or containers do you want to have running?

    Puppet and Ansible are standard IaC tools for configuring those VMs or containers once they have been created with one of the IaC tools above.

    All of these tools have become commonplace in DevOps engineering teams, allowing them to reliably deploy large-scale systems quickly while easily maintaining parity across environments. These tools make it easier to maintain pre-defined infrastructure settings, which helps ensure a consistent configuration across all environments—promoting stability and reducing problems due to misconfigurations. With these advanced IaC tools, DevOps engineers can speed up their workflows and focus on higher-value tasks.

    If you want to break into the DevOps field, you should definitely learn how to use these tools and get hands-on experience with them. We offer hands-on courses for these technologies if you are interested in a structured training program that includes IT labs and practice exercises.

    Practical DevOps IaC Automation Example

    When you’re trying to learn about DevOps automation and IaC it can help to see a working example, so we have provided one below using Terraform and Ansible.

    Terraform IaC Example

    You might be wondering what exactly IaC looks like, so here is an example of an Infrastructure as Code (IaC) snippet in Terraform, a popular IaC tool:

    provider "aws" {
      region = "us-east-1"
    resource "aws_instance" "webserver" {
      ami           = "ami-0c55b159cbfafe1f0"
      instance_type = "t2.micro"
      tags = {
        Name = "Webserver"

    This code defines the creation of an Amazon Web Services (AWS) EC2 instance using an Amazon Machine Image (AMI). You can expand this code to include your ENTIRE IT infrastructure, which can be used to make sure your infrastructure stays in the desired configuration and can be quickly recreated if needed.

    Ansible IaC Example

    Now that you have your infrastructure defined and created with Terraform, we could configure that infrastructure with Ansible. Below is an Ansible playbook that will install an Apache web server and configure it to run at the start.

    - name: Install Apache Web Server
      hosts: webserver
      become: yes
      - name: Install Apache
          name: apache2
          state: present
      - name: Start Apache Service
          name: apache2
          state: started
          enabled: yes

    What does this accomplish?

    With these two IaC files defined, you now have an automated DevOps pipeline that can quickly and reliably deploy your entire stack. Of course, these configurations were kept extremely simple but could be expanded to automate the deployment of web pages and web apps. Since everything is defined in code, it’s easy to make adjustments and keep configurations up to date, and we can store our code in a repository like GitHub for version control and team collaboration.

    All of this means teams no longer need to worry about manually configuring systems or spending hours tracking down problems due to misconfiguration.

    Store your IaC in an online repository!

    Once you have written your IaC code, it’s essential to store it in a repository like GitHub or Bitbucket. This will allow you to version control the code and collaborate with other team members as well as have backups of your code (and all versions of your code). This can be useful for reverting back to an older version of your code in case you accidentally deploy broken code.

    Once you have your code stored in a repository system like those mentioned above, this allows you to implement the next essential building block of DevOps automation, which is a CI / CD pipeline.

    The CI (Continuous Integration) / CD (Continuous Deployment) Pipeline

    The CI/CD pipeline essentially allows you to make an update to your code, and the CI/CD pipeline will automatically deploy those changes when you save them. This is a drastic oversimplification, but essentially that is what it does. CI and CD are defined as follows:

    1. Continuous Integration (CI): This involves automatically building and testing software changes whenever they are committed to a version control repository. This ensures that changes are integrated and tested frequently, reducing the risk of integration problems and enabling early detection of bugs.
    2. Continuous Deployment (CD): This involves automatically deploying software changes to production as soon as they are deemed ready. This eliminates the manual process of deploying code changes and ensures that new features and fixes are made available to users as quickly as possible.

    A typical CI/CD pipeline will include multiple stages, such as:

    1. Code commit: A developer commits code changes to the version control repository.
    2. Build: The changes are automatically built and tested, and a build artifact is generated.
    3. Test: The build artifact is automatically tested using automated tests, such as unit tests, integration tests, and functional tests.
    4. Deployment: If the tests pass, the build artifact is automatically deployed to production or a staging environment.

    By automating these processes, a CI/CD pipeline helps to reduce the risk of manual errors, improve the speed and quality of software delivery, and increase the efficiency of the software development and release process. You can even configure our pipeline to reject code that doesn’t pass your automated tests.

    Server Academy’s CI/CD pipeline

    This has been a lifesaver at ServerAcademy, where we build and deploy our own custom code for our LMS (Learning Management System). Part of our CI/CD pipeline are automated tests that start Chrome and run through our application to make sure all the buttons and processes work like they should. If something breaks, the automated tests will send us a screenshot and the log files in our company Discord channel. Cool stuff!

    DevOps Automation Salaries

    DevOps is a highly sought-after skill in the technology industry and as such, it’s not surprising that salaries in this field are competitive.

    DevOps Salaries

    According to recent data from Glassdoor, the average salary for entry-level DevOps professionals is around $105,000 per year. This is a solid starting salary for someone starting in the field and provides a strong foundation for future growth and advancement.

    For senior-level DevOps professionals, the average salary jumps to $171,000 per year. This demonstrates the high demand for experienced DevOps professionals and the value that they bring to organizations. With a strong focus on automation, continuous integration and delivery, and efficient management of infrastructure, senior-level DevOps professionals play a critical role in ensuring the success of technology initiatives.

    Coding and AutomationDevOps

    Want to improve your IT skillset? Start with a free account and get access to our IT labs!


    Sign up free and start learning today!

    Practice on REAL servers, learn from our video lessons, interact with the Server Academy community!