The traditional separation between development and operations teams is becoming less common as DevOps bridges the gap. However, many systems administrators are struggling to adjust from IT Operations to DevOps, and may not even be aware of what they don’t know. This is a common issue among customers worldwide.
To successfully shift from IT Ops to DevOps, it’s not enough to just have the right equipment and software – you also need people who are trained and prepared. As IT works to support and safeguard developers who are pushing boundaries with their creative ideas, we need to find ways to give them the tools and understanding necessary to make the transition easier.
To achieve this, IT needs to consider new aspects such as automating tasks, updating configuration management, enhancing data management, and implementing a set of secure enterprise-level APIs. It all begins with asking the appropriate questions.
What is IT Ops?
Information Technology Operations, or IT Ops, plays a crucial role in the modern business landscape. It is the nerve center of any organization, being responsible for the development, implementation, and maintenance of the infrastructures that support business operations.
IT Ops generally encompasses areas such as network administration, data management, systems administration, IT support, and essentially any work related to hardware and software support. It’s all about keeping systems up and running, ensuring data is safe and secure, and providing the necessary technical support to users who might need it. From managing databases to troubleshooting network issues to maintaining server health, IT Ops is all about maintaining the smooth flow of information within a business.
The focus of IT Ops is often on stability and reliability. Its main concern is to ensure that the IT environment in a business operates efficiently and effectively. When everything in the IT department is functioning correctly, it means less downtime, fewer outages, and a more streamlined business operation. This often means having a more reactive approach, dealing with issues as they arise and ensuring that operations return to normal as quickly as possible.
What is DevOps?
DevOps, on the other hand, is a cultural and professional movement that seeks to bridge the gap between the development (Dev) and operations (Ops) teams. The term DevOps is a combination of ‘development’ and ‘operations’. The main aim of DevOps is to foster better communication and collaboration between these two business units.
At its core, DevOps is a philosophy or ethos that promotes a collaborative working relationship between Developers and IT Operations, leading to more efficient and faster production cycles. DevOps practices encourage shorter, more controllable iterations through a development life cycle.
The DevOps model is built on the concept of Continuous Integration/Continuous Delivery (CI/CD), where developers regularly merge their code changes into a central repository, then automated builds and tests are run. It also involves automating infrastructure deployment, monitoring, and management, thereby reducing the chance of errors and improving system reliability.
Unlike traditional IT Ops, DevOps focuses on a proactive approach where potential issues are addressed during the development phase, ensuring that code is always in a deployable state. This results in a shorter time to market, fewer errors, and more reliable software.
Comparing IT Ops with DevOps
The fields of IT operations and DevOps are closely interconnected. Professionals in either role are required to assist with duties like:
- Provisioning and configuring infrastructure.
- Deploying software.
- Observing and monitoring software in production.
- Assisting developers with feedback on application updates planning.
The main difference between IT operations and DevOps is that while the responsibilities listed for IT engineers make up their entire job, for DevOps engineers, these responsibilities only constitute a part of their job description.
DevOps engineers are not only responsible for managing IT operations but also play a crucial role in software development processes. Although the amount of coding work may differ between job roles, having an in-depth comprehension of coding and software engineering is a prerequisite for DevOps experts.
To succeed as a DevOps engineer, it is essential to have a good grasp of source code management, continuous integration, and software test automation. These are critical elements of contemporary software development workflows.
DevOps engineers require knowledge in both software development and IT operations because DevOps aims to merge these two areas. DevOps became popular in the late 2000s to improve the teamwork and alignment between development and IT operations, which traditionally operated independently, often causing conflicts.
5 tips for moving to DevOps from IT Ops
Asking the Right Questions
To fully leverage cloud architectures and achieve their potential, enterprises should evaluate and revamp the entire process of creating, delivering, and managing infrastructure services. The current manual provisioning approach, which is often complicated by imprecise instructions that result in snowflake architectures and fragile systems, should be replaced or modernized. This will enable organizations to realize the promise of the cloud and establish genuine platforms.
Infrastructure-as-code is a framework that automates the management and provision of resources. By using code to configure infrastructure, it ensures consistency across platforms and facilitates the adoption of DevOps practices. This consistency enables IT to effectively implement the agile processes and technical approaches necessary to promote a DevOps culture.
In order for infrastructure-as-code to support a DevOps culture, IT Ops should learn how to create a continuous delivery and deployment pipeline in the early stages. They should also introduce DevOps practices and values for software engineering principles and practices to IT Ops. Defining success criteria and figuring out how to use DevOps best practices to implement infrastructure-as-code is also important. This is known as the “definition of done” in Agile methodology.
Don’t Expect Developers to Take the Role of Expert Sysadmins
Developers excel at innovation and prefer to work without extra management or oversight. DevOps enables them to rapidly provision resources and automate processes, giving them the tools to become an innovation engine for their businesses. Infrastructure-as-code can be provided through DevOps, freeing developers from having to ask for permission before implementing new ideas.
The pressure on IT to protect developer cycles in containers and other environments is causing challenges. The NSA and other companies provide tips for IT to stay ahead of threats, but manual patching and scanning are slowing down innovation in DevOps. IT cannot keep up with developer cycles and may be unaware of what is being added to containers or other environments.
Although global data protection regulations could impact consumer experiences with machine learning and AI, they do not affect how IT can use these technologies to automate protection. The goal is not to extend protection solely to developer workloads, but to have a system that acknowledges and automates protection against threats across all environments. By doing so, developers and IT professionals can concentrate on their innovation without having to worry about becoming data protection experts or system administrators.
Config Management is Critical to Empowering Developers
As we focus on automating processes in the developer environment, we need to think about more than just automating protection and infrastructure. It’s crucial to find ways for IT Ops to keep track of changes in the DevOps stack. One solution is to use configuration management tools, which can simplify things and provide strong community support, customization, and scalability.
You can use tools like Ansible, Terraform, and others to meet your specific needs and preferences for infrastructure-as-code. However, it’s important to find an automation and configuration solution that aligns with your business model to properly manage it. While IaC can help with configuration and management, identifying the most suitable environment for implementation is necessary.
Data Orchestration Eliminates Repetitive Cycles
Data orchestration tools are crucial in app development as they gather data from various sources, regardless of its format. They convert it into a user-friendly format that can be used by any endpoint. This eliminates the need for multiple iterations across different platforms and environments. Developers can learn and innovate from various environments, data warehouses, and platforms to create apps that can do the same.
Automating data collection, analysis, and formatting can save IT a significant amount of time compared to doing these tasks manually. This not only results in cost savings but also provides additional benefits. These benefits may include increased efficiency and improved accuracy in the data processing.
To enable developers to innovate at a fast pace, IT/DevOps must ensure compliance with data privacy and governance policies. Data orchestration helps businesses manage data based on preset policies, ensuring internal policies are followed during development. Orchestration also allows for easy manipulation of data without causing delays or extra cycles.
Standardized APIs Trump Those Created by Unaffiliated Coders
According to Developer Nation, there will be around 45 million developers worldwide by 2030. This includes coders working outside of the enterprise, such as those working from their basements or garages. Despite this, the creativity of these developers may still be recognized and utilized by industry leaders. Developers sometimes overlook enterprise governance and privacy standards when creating software and code. They may use any API available to meet the requirements of a business application.
It is important for IT/DevOps to select a group of APIs that fulfill business requirements and approve them for use within the organization. Consider a situation where developers have access to a convenient environment that automates protection, orchestration, and provides a pre-existing library of useful and accessible APIs. This enables businesses to concentrate on delivering output rather than enforcing policies and teaching developers to operate within the company’s system.
Why Move from ITOps to a Career in DevOps
IT operations engineers may want to learn DevOps skills for two main reasons. The first reason is financial; DevOps engineers earn an average salary of around $130,000, compared to IT operations engineers who earn under $100,081 on average in the US. This is a significant difference in pay.
Another reason to switch to DevOps is that it offers more opportunities for career growth, as businesses view DevOps engineers as drivers of change and progress. While IT operations roles will continue to exist, these positions often involve predictable and routine tasks. Therefore, DevOps may be a more exciting and dynamic career path. Note that this does not imply that IT operations roles are unimportant or unnecessary.
As an IT engineer, your role may not involve designing new applications or leading cloud migration projects. Instead, your responsibilities will mostly consist of monitoring dashboards and ticketing systems, and resolving issues in a timely manner.
It is perfectly fine to pursue a different career path, but DevOps engineers usually get to engage in more stimulating activities. This is because DevOps is regarded as a hub for groundbreaking ideas and the role itself covers a wider range of responsibilities. If you desire to increase your income while working on more exciting and innovative projects, transitioning into a DevOps engineer would be an excellent option for you.
Transitioning from IT Ops to DevOps is a significant step forward for many organizations. This shift allows for a more dynamic, streamlined, and efficient IT landscape, leading to improved software delivery and increased productivity. By combining the stability and reliability of IT Ops with the continuous delivery and collaboration of DevOps, businesses can create a synergistic IT environment that serves as a solid foundation for growth and innovation. As with any major shift, challenges are to be expected, but the long-term benefits of a successful transition to DevOps far outweigh the temporary hurdles.