Is It Time to Redefine Ops?

A while back, Forrester Research analyst Mike Gualtieri wrote a blog post titled I Don’t Want DevOps. I Want NoOps, where he proposes taking operations out of the developer equation:

The goal of NoOps is … to improve the process of deploying applications. But, NoOps means that application developers will never have to speak with an operations professional again. NoOps will achieve this nirvana, by using cloud infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service to get the resources they need when they need them.

Gualtieri’s reasoning didn’t quite make sense to me. For one thing, someone has to manage whatever IaaS and/or PaaS that’s deployed. As our own Floyd Strimling points out in a recent post:

Regardless of how much automation is built into the Cloud, it will never be perfect and someone must understand how everything works and, more importantly, how to fix it!

In other words, operations teams may be moving away from a traditional rack ’em-stack ’em definition, but they still are necessary to keep your organization running. Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies said in our recent conversation that somebody has to maintain the computers connected to these various cloud-based services:

Even if none of them are geeks, there’s still going to be an operations team. Maybe all they do is pull complicated levers or push big red buttons when they flash, but [they’re] still operations no matter what.

Molly Stamos, director of product management at cloud monitoring provider Boundary, explained to me that while cloud services like Amazon EC2 may now deliver the infrastructure, you still need to monitor your network for latency or the flow of your application’s traffic, among other things.

Added Stamos:

[Operations] no longer has to worry about racking and stacking and understanding how to configure a network switch. They’ve moved up the stack and are managing it at that layer. They’re moving into a new space, where they need to understand the architecture and environment the application requires to be successful.

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Image thanks to OldTasty