Why Go Became a Standard for DevOps
Every day DevOps engineers meet numerous tasks and challenges. As infrastructure in IT projects needs constant improvements, specialists need reliable tools to provide a business with the expected results fast enough. Golang became the most wanted programming language for DevOps because it has all the features they can dream about. This easy, strong and statically typed language looks to be designed for them.
At Surf, we have developed back end and various IT-solutions for 12 years, and know how to help businesses achieve up to 90% faster release deployment due to DevOps. Using best software development practices and a client-oriented approach, we help companies get powerful business results and save resources. In this article, we’ll explain what benefits Go has for DevOps, and how the programming language helps them build up-to-date, reliable, and effective infrastructure.
What challenges DevOps meet
and how Go helps overcome them
Infrastructure to be constantly improved
Thorough control and testing, early error detection, and searching for reasons for any issues—these are typical tasks for DevOps engineers’ work. They shall be aware of what’s going on in an IT project, how to improve it without breaking the production, how to automate everything that can be automated, and provide a high level of security. There are many points requiring the specialists’ attention.
If a company uses code that is complicated for understanding and writing, DevOps engineers’ productivity is lower. In practice, they work a lot with code to check how effective it is for a project: testing, finding ways to optimize, correcting when it’s necessary, etc. This means, the DevOps-most-suitable programming language should be as easy as possible. Due to the code simplicity offered by Go, DevOps engineers work faster and are able to do more for a project. As a result, a business will have a strong infrastructure being updated and improved regularly.
Slower workflow because of manual processes
DevOps engineers don’t start to automate processes without ensuring that the automatization won’t cause risks for a system. So, specialists are often focused on taking more efficiency from the software development and deployment cycle, but if they don’t have enough tools for it, their work slows down.
How can a programming language provide DevOps engineers with appropriate tools? For example, Golang has various features to reach the aim: its lightweight Goroutines provide multithreading; convenient garbage collectors are a guarantee of strong memory management; automation scripts help engineers deploy fast. In addition, there are numerous Go libraries for DevOps engineers. Thanks to that, manual work can be automated—so, business gets expected results, saving time and money.
Weaker structure due to complicated traceability
DevOps work on IT project strategy and structure. To set goals, work out how to measure success, and achieve results, they need to promptly identify the features causing failures in production. That’s why traceability in the processes is important at each stage of production.
To ensure it, DevOps should use tools that help make all the processes transparent for the development team and for business stakeholders. Programming language is one of the tools. If it’s easy to learn and understand, the working process becomes faster. So, Go helps DevOps make quick and reasoned decisions and have a deep understanding of processes—and business saves resources.
To learn more advantages of Go in web development and find out if it matches your project, read an article.
8 Go benefits for DevOps
Here are some more advantages of Go that make it irreplaceable for DevOps.
Code easy to write and read
In Golang code can be rather long, but it doesn’t contain anything superfluous as it is in ‘older’ programming languages. To judge whether a language is easy or complicated, programmers use several methods.
One of them—the language keywords count. It’s not the most detailed method, but logical enough and exponential. The less a programmer has to have in mind writing a code, the easier it is to do the task. Here is an approximate keywords count for some programming languages including Go.
If we compare syntax and the amount of rules used in code writing, Go suprasses the majority of other programming languages, too. For example, it uses about ⅓ less rules than Python, 2 times less than Ruby, 3 times less than PHP, and 4 times less than Java or Erlang.
Target Tech noted that in Golang they loved simplified syntax, fast compile time, and small images they could build when deploying containers. Twitter wrote that back end written in Go helped them handle 5 billion sessions a day in real time. It’s only a few examples of how Go helps companies save resources: if you want to see more, read our new article.
Statically typed language features
In statically typed languages the final types of variables and functions are set at compile time. So, the compiler is 100% sure which type it is and where it is. Type checks happen once, during compilation, and options not suitable for a type are screened out in advance. It makes the working process much faster and helps detect errors at an early stage. In dynamic typing, all types are determined at runtime.
For DevOps engineers it’s important to control processes as much as possible—so statically typed languages win in this regard.
Strong typed language features
Strong typed languages do not allow mixing different types in expressions and do not perform automatic implicit conversions: for example, you cannot subtract a set from a string. Weakly typed languages perform many implicit conversions automatically, even if there may be a loss of precision or the conversion is ambiguous.
In addition, in Golang transformations are made manually, and automatic implicit conversions as well as mixing different types in expressions are impossible. When programmers do certain things manually, they know everything about weak parts of the code, and by collaborating with them regularly, DevOps engineers can control processes better.
Convenient multithreading system
There is no other multithreading system that is so easy. Goroutines and channels became a godsend, even for those people who criticize Golang. Why are the features of Go so attractive to DevOps? Let’s find out.
Goroutines are light: an engineer can run them in an unlimited amount, but at the same time—without any impact on the system. So, its performance doesn’t change, and reliability stays high even in the case of unexpected hardware malfunctions. To say some words about other languages, they often have the illusion of multithreading.
For example, in Java threads require so much management and ‘bureaucracy’ that slow down the app. And in Python, there is a GPU (global interpreter lock)—thanks to it, CPU-bound Python programs become single-threaded, so multithreading becomes impossible again.
Another important point is that goroutines are easy to signal, shutdown, and control with channels. It makes Go the most wanted language for DevOps, too.
Garbage collectors and memory management
Go garbage collectors detect objects that are out of scope and cannot be referenced anymore, and they immediately free the memory space consumed by these objects. It happens without stopping the program—all the processes are concurrent.
Due to garbage collectors, resources are used in the most effective way. This makes memory management in Go very powerful. This is a great help when we work with high load systems. Wrapping it up, there is less manual work for DevOps left, and they work faster, focusing on more complicated processes.
Tools for fast deployment and testing
When you have a growing project or startup, deployment automation scripts take on the role of rollout management services. Thanks to Go tools, when software scope expands, DevOps engineers can easily control the process and provide your project with a high level of security. They actively use a standard Go library with rich built-in functionality: JSON processing, file processing, HTTP web services, built-in testing modules, etc.
Besides, most of the tools DevOps engineers use every day are written in Go. Here are some of them:
- GitHub (a large part of its infrastructure),
So, when DevOps engineers need to add something or solve a task, they work with this language. Go has everything for DevOps teams to make their work easier and more efficient.
High development speed
Thanks to Go’s low entry threshold and simplicity, programmers save time on developing and writing code itself as compared to more complicated languages. They rather focus on finding the best solutions for your business.
Go development speed is higher because the language:
- compiles code into a binary file directly, without extra steps, so it executes quickly and delivers great performance;
- code is easy—writing in the language takes less time compared to others;
- is easy to read, master, so new teammates can be onboarded very fast.
Programmers can pay attention to more important and difficult tasks than ‘code fighting’, and it brings results: DevOps engineers can build stronger infrastructure and collaborate with programmers more productively.
Want to hire a Go developer, but don’t know what to start with? Read our article and find out how to find and hire skilled Go developers.
Low entry threshold
Golang was developed as a more simple alternative to the C language. DevOps engineers avoid working with C because it is complicated to understand, to deliver, and to use in general, so processes significantly slow down—and a team loses productivity. Why did Go become the best one for DevOps? To answer this question, we should recall why the language was created.
One day Google IT specialists came to realize that they needed a universal programming language to unite the advantages of C, Paskal, and Oberon— and created Go. It was thought to be so easy that programmers writing in any other language could quickly master it—and use for various purposes, either in startups or large-scale projects.
As a result, today we have a language that can be learned for about a month by an experienced programmer, and two or three months by a beginner having fundamental knowledge in IT. For DevOps, it means the easiest code ever existed, and a complete understanding of how to control project-related processes.
To sum up
- DevOps engineers meet many challenges: for example, manual processes, complicated traceability, and infrastructure that needs constant improvements. The problems slow down the workflow and make it difficult to get the expected results.
- To control processes in IT projects, DevOps engineers need tools that are easy to master and use without any risk for business. So, if a programming language has a law entry threshold and a high level of security, it can become best for them.
- Go is a strong and statically typed language—so DevOps can control processes in a proper way. It is easy to read, write and master, and thanks to these advantages, workflow becomes faster.
- Go has many features made specially for DevOps: Goroutines, garbage collectors and tools for deployment are among them.
At Surf, we apply best software development practices based on 12 years’ experience in organizing processes and collaborating with different clients—from startups to global enterprises. We develop back-end and specific-task-oriented solutions and know everything about engineers’ tasks and tools used to solve them.