Importance of Linux OS for DevOps Engineer
In this article, my focus is on the Linux Operating System and why it’s important in my opinion for DevOps Engineers to learn and understand the basics thoroughly. Before the title of my articles creates a wrong impression, I want to clearly state that you can be a successful DevOps Engineer without knowledge of the Linux operating system in instances where the technology stack is different, for instance, using Azure DevOps as your control flow mechanism for deployments and automation.
However, most of the organizations implementing the DevOps methodology today have Linux supporting their operations either on the cloud or on-premise infrastructure, both DevOps and Linux are also focused on automation, functionality, scalability, and constant possibility for continuous growth and improvement.
What is Linux Operating System?
First of all, let’s start by defining what an operating system is to get a better understanding. An operating system is low-level software that serves as the intermediary between software applications and hardware and facilitates all functions and processes like memory management, file management, process management, handling input and output, and controlling peripheral.
Linux is an open-source and community-developed operating system for computers, servers, mainframes, mobile devices, and embedded devices. It has support on almost every major computer platform and architecture including x86, ARM, etc, making it one of the most widely supported operating systems especially for servers and mobile devices.
The design of Linux was based on UNIX but it has evolved in deployment to run on a wide variety of hardware from phones to supercomputers. Every Linux-based OS contains the Linux Kernel — which manages hardware resources — and a set of software packages that make up the rest of the operating system.
Why Linux for DevOps?
Linux is free and open-source software (FOSS) because it was offered for use under the GNU General Public License (GPL). This decision arguably made Linux the biggest success story of the free software movement, proving the open-source projects could be as powerful as those created and sold by corporations.
Quite an amount of open source projects especially for DevOps were originally designed to work on Linux. The version control and repository “Git” was born out of the Linux kernel community after all other applications used to store code failed. Docker was originally a combination of several Linux utilities. Ansible for managing servers and Kubernetes for container orchestration was originally Linux projects as well. We can assume that most of these tools started from Linux because the OS was ideal and best for setting up infrastructure.
Currently, more organizations are adopting DevOps culture and also moving their infrastructure to the cloud which facilitates implementation of DevOps practices such as scalable infrastructure, configurable environment, and automated processes. The cloud makes application management, collaboration, and communication between teams as it provides a common platform for all of them to work on files and applications. Besides this major point, there are some other statistics to help drive the point home.
· All of the Top 500 Supercomputers in the world run on Linux
· 23 of the Worlds 25 Top Websites run on Linux
· 90% of all public cloud workload runs on Linux
· 96.3% of the Top One Million Web Servers run on Linux
· 95% of the Worlds Top One Million domains are powered by Linux
· 85% of Mobile Smartphone Operating Systems are based on Linux
· All Google, YouTube, and Facebook request are completed by Linux Severs.
Why Linux is Generally Popular?
Linux is different from the rest of the operating systems in many important aspects. Some of which are
1. Free and Easy to Use: First, and perhaps most importantly, Linux is free. You do not have to spend any amount on licensing which cuts down IT budgets for businesses, the only exception is where you need a specific distribution which is Linux tweaked by an organization. Its intuitive graphical user interface makes it easy to use and most processes can be done through the graphical user interface.
2. Open Source: Linux falls under the FOSS (Free and Open-Source Software) category. The code used to create Linux is free and available to the public to view, edit, and be contributed to. Many countries and organizations are developing their versions of Linux for strategic and specialized purposes
3. Secure: Once you have Linux installed on your system, there is no need to use an antivirus! Linux is a highly secure system. Moreover, there is a global development community constantly looking at ways to enhance its security. Each upgrade makes the OS becomes more secure and robust.
4. Stability and Performance: Linux provides very high stability, high uptime, and high availability which goes to proves why most of the servers on the internet are running Linux. The Linux operating system rarely slows down, freezes, crashes or needs rebooting in a short period.
5. Customization and Automation: Linux has great flexibility which allows for customizing to your requirements and desires. Linux had a rich and powerful command line that could be used to write shell scripts to automate routine and repetitive tasks.
I’ve mentioned several great reasons why organizations implementing DevOps should implement Linux distributions. The advantages of this far outweighs the disadvantages associated with the implementation which would definitely lead to smoother and more efficient development and deployment environment, however, choosing the right distribution of Linux can be a hard decision to make because one has to figure out the precise requirements needed in order to make the best decision.