Today, more than ever, software-driven businesses are looking for innovative ways to increase efficiency and minimize costs. Adopting DevOps is one of the most effective ways to achieve this. Nonetheless, every DevOps model requires continuous evaluation to ensure that everything works as it should. That’s where DevOps metrics enter the picture, to help DevOps teams monitor their tools and processes effectively.
Below are 10 DevOps performance metrics you can track, to assess the success of your DevOps practices.
10 DevOps metrics you should be monitoring for DevOps success
Getting off to a good start, with DORA’s ‘Four Keys’
A few years back, Google’s DevOps Research and Assessment (DORA) team, conducted a six-year-long research on the DevOps metrics that highly-productive DevOps teams monitor at all times. They decided upon four common metrics, indicative of effective DevOps practices, and named them “The Four Keys.” It’s noteworthy that these metrics revolved around velocity and stability; which the DORA team regards as the two pillars of a successful DevOps implementation within a company.
That said, the ‘Four Keys’ provide a good starting point for monitoring both your DevOps team’s performance, the effectiveness of your DevOps model. So let’s see how these DevOps KPIs can help your team perform better and deliver higher-quality software.
1. Frequency of deployment
This metric tracks the frequency at which new releases are being deployed — the higher the frequency, the better. To explain, the more often your team can deploy a new update in the production environment, the sooner it’s going to be released to the end-users. This is a critical DevOps metric, because the whole point of DevOps is to release new updates to customers fast; of course, with the highest quality possible.
2. Lead time for changes
Lead time (for changes) measures the time it takes for the latest changes in the code to get into production. Put differently, it’s the time it takes to implement, test, and commit the new code for deployment. Generally speaking, this DevOps metric should start ‘ticking’ when the team starts working on an item; and, should stop at the very moment it gets deployed.
Ideally, you want your lead times to be as short as possible; although this depends on the complexity of the code your team works on. Αlso, you want to keep your lead times stable over time; especially when you’ve managed to keep them short.
3. Change failure rate
The change failure rate measures the percentage of impaired deployments that occur in production. Failed deployments happen all the time, and it’s OK; as long as the MTTR and MTTD are short — two important DevOps metrics that we’ll discuss further on. The change failure rate is an indicator of the stability and overall efficiency of your DevOps processes; therefore, you need to make sure that it doesn’t increase significantly.
4. Mean time to recover (MTTR)
The mean time to recover is another important DevOps metric that measures the average time it takes to resolve an issue that occurred in production. Measuring MTTR is crucial, because not only does it show the stability of your DevOps mode,l but also your DevOps team’s promptitude towards unplanned outages or other service failures.
Moving on with six additional DevOps metrics, for optimal performance
The ‘Four Keys’ established by the DORA team make for a good starting point to improve your DevOps processes — as well as the productivity of your DevOps team. Still, they are only a starting point. Below, we touch on six additional — and equally important — DevOps metrics that will help you achieve optimal DevOps performance.
5. Deployment time
This DevOps metric tracks how long it takes your team to do a deployment; hence, it shows how fast your team can release new updates, or features, to end-users. With this in mind, it’s crucial to keep deployment time short. At the same time, you need to make sure that it doesn’t have a negative impact on the quality of the software released every time.
6. Mean time to detect (MTTD)
This is a crucial KPI because it shows if your team can respond fast, when something goes wrong. To be specific, the mean time to detect monitors the average time it takes to detect an issue in production. As it happens with other DevOps metrics, you want MTTD to be as short as possible.
7. Defect escape rate
Defect escape rate measures the number of issues that go under the radar during testing, ending up in production. This metric determines both the effectiveness of your testing process and the quality of your software. If you score high at this rate, then your testing program and your overall software need improvement. Conversely, a low defect escape rate is indicative of a successful testing process and high quality of software.
8. Application health and performance
Your applications are the most valuable IT assets for your company; thus, monitoring their health and performance should be a priority and a constant practice, within your DevOps process. When you use health and performance metrics, be mindful to do so before and after deployment, to detect any changes in your applications; along with any errors, bugs, etc.
9. Automated testing
Automated testing metrics measure the overall performance of your automated testing process. Similar to other DevOps metrics we’ve mentioned, automation testing metrics indicate constancy in your code, and overall reliability. Here, the goal is to achieve a higher percentage of code covered by automated testing.
10. SRE basics: SLOs, SLIs, SLAs
It goes without saying, these three Service-Level metrics are critical in determining the overall stability of your DevOps processes. To elaborate, with Service Level Objectives (SLO) you define the lowest level of availability — and reliability — for each of the services you provide. With the Service Level Indicator (SLI) you measure the frequency of successful system evaluation.
When you want to check whether your system has been running within your defined SLO for a given period of time, you turn to SLI to get the service availability percentage. These two will help you provide evidence that the application requirements are met. In other words, they help you track compliance with your Service Level Agreements (SLAs).
DevOps metrics for a healthy DevOps culture, and a superior end-user experience
At the end of the day, if DevOps is to maximize efficiency, minimize costs, and enhance cross-team collaboration, you need to start measuring how effectively you’re implementing DevOps in your everyday processes. While there are many DevOps metrics you can use to measure efficacy, the ones we’ve discussed above can serve as your compass; at least, in the beginning of your DevOps journey.
If applied properly, these DevOps metrics will bring about a healthy DevOps culture that will help your team develop and deliver top-quality software, faster. Eventually, this will lead to a superior end-user experience; which, in turn, will create happy and loyal customers.
Our list of DevOps metrics will indeed keep you on the right track. However, if you want to take DevOps to the next level, or if you feel you’re going to need help with managing and monitoring your applications, then check out Cycleops — a DevOps-driven cloud management platform that comes with easy-to-use automation tools. And the good news with Cycleops is that you can start for free!