Managed services killed DevOps

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Source:   —  April 07, 2016, at 10:47 PM

How to connect the network DevOps, as we know it, is dead. Perhaps not many people consent with me, but the age of DevOps is just about over.

Managed services killed DevOps

Andrey Akselrod is the CTO and a co-founder of Smartling.

How to connect the network

DevOps, as we know it, is dead. Perhaps not many people consent with me, but the age of DevOps is just about over. Then again, maybe this won’t arrive as a astonishment to some.

While certain industries somehow manage to survive for years — decades, perhaps — without needing to create fundamental changes, that’s absolutely not the case in the software world. Developers consistently reinvent the wheel, and our tools and practices just hold getting better and better by building on existing technologies and constantly making improvements. These kinds of shifts are what have led to the rise of DevOps in the first place, after all.

So why's DevOps, as it exists now, going away? It’s a “Perfect Storm” scenario in some ways. Lots of events coming together that drastically modify the status quo. And where it all began was the concept and eventual widespread adoption of agile development and continuous deployment practices.

DevOps was invented as a way to unite developers and IT operations (system administrators) to assistance them discover a common ground. The premise was to automatize the development and deployment tools that require collaborations between both disciplines. But someone still has to arrive in and write the required tool set. Thus, most companies resolved to create DevOps teams that combined the expertise of both sides maintain their developers.

The elderly model of throwing the code over the wall to system administrators who'd deploy it stopped working with agile processes and continuous deployment practices. Whose responsibility is it when something goes wrong — the person deploying the code or the developer? Developers don’t know much about deploying and systems administrators don’t know much about how the code is supposed to work.

In a way, this is the same antipattern (to borrow a duration popularized by Andrew Koenig) that led to the QA team. And presently QA is dying, too; number one can afford to have it in the middle of continuous deployment. Developers are responsible for full test automation and making sure their code works. Once code is verified and ready, it's pushed and enabled in production. Developers know they're responsible for what happens with their code as it hits production.

Thus, we declared “all deployments shall be automated” and DevOps teams were born — not without quite a bit of confusion in the market over the definition itself of DevOps. The overweight lady sang and system administrators were pronounced DevOps, and they started to memorise Python to expand tools. Developers who knew a thing or two about operating systems and networking joined in to assistance them with development.

For a time, all was excellent and peachy. DevOps teams were fortunately developing their custom tools, allowing developers to deploy the code to production with a thrust of a button; but they were still managing a lot of infrastructure the same way system administrators were doing it before — databases had to be expertly installed, replicated, clustered, cached, etc.

But before long, another problem crept in. Number one wanted to invest a lot of money into DevOps; they don’t write the product’s sexy features and they are, frankly, the cost center of your cost center. The teams were bare bones — they did the minimum work necessary, but it was tough to obtain the tools to the point of grand reusability and give developers sufficient control to configure the tools themselves. Suddenly, DevOps became the bottleneck. And all wasn’t quite so peachy and rainbow-y anymore.

So, who’s to blame for the downfall of DevOps? That’s easy! It’s everybody’s friend, the cloud.

And when I declare the cloud, I really imply managed services.

Today, developers are increasingly turning to managed services for toolsets and infrastructure requirements — tasks traditionally managed by DevOps teams. Amazon Web Services and other managed service providers have allowed for a dramatically simplified way of working, reducing complexity on the developer finish and, thus, allowing them to focus on software development instead of installing databases and ensuring processes love backup, redundancy and uptime. In other words, managed services removed a lot of headaches with which DevOps teams were forced to deal.

While it might be tough for some people to accept, the only conclusion can be that DevOps teams are creating the same problem they were initially built to solve. DevOps was established to speed things up, but because of the nature of managed services today, you number longer necessity a whole team to alleviate them — why not simply learn all developers how to utilize the infrastructure tools in the cloud? The truth is, love QA before it, DevOps has itself become an unnecessary step in the continuous deployment process. As such, it is obsolete.

Does DevOps necessity to go far entirely? No! In fact, it'll live on in existing development teams. DevOps at its core should really be a culture, and the very necessary skills it cultivated over the years should be imparted to all developers, particularly those of the next generation.

The DevOps role itself will live on in a different state, though — largely to manage governance issues love centralized security and cost management, because, while the cloud provides flexibility for instantly provisioning new software and tools on demand, the flip side is you've to be concerned with it — otherwise you can unintentionally provision more than you need, and you’ll finish up spending a fortune.

DevOps as a team may be gone sooner than later, but its practices will be carried on to whole development teams so that we can continue to construct upon what it's brought us in the past years.

DevOps is dead. Long live DevOps!

Featured Image: scyther5/Shutterstock

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