Traditional Ops Is Dead, Long Live DevOps
July 11, 2022

Ryan Taylor

DevOps mentality has moved from strictly the development domain into the Ops world. As a result, traditional Ops — a model rooted in manual processes and executed by siloed teams — is dead. Traditional Ops and IT teams were already experiencing rapid change, but the pandemic sped up the adoption of more decentralized operations. Today, Ops doesn't generally refer to a team, but a responsibility. This blog will contrast Ops in a traditional environment vs. a DevOps environment, challenges to be aware of when adopting a DevOps approach, and actionable steps for organizations looking to implement a DevOps culture.

Differences Between Traditional Ops vs. Ops in a DevOps Environment

The ideal DevOps environment operates as a high-velocity organization with a deep understanding of development, tools, operations, infrastructure, observability, and shared knowledge with others. DevOps is a shared responsibility by developers who have an operational function and operators capable of development. Organizations can skew either way, but leaders must focus on the synergistic capability to execute both Ops and development well to be successful.

To combine the areas of Ops and development, it's important to distinguish their differences — specifically, as it relates to each domain's process ownership and enforcement, subject matter experts (SMEs), reporting and compliance, and observation and monitoring.

Traditional Ops involve low-skill tasks that start as a ticket, while DevOps leans on automation to execute these tasks. In a traditional environment, SMEs or subject matter experts are driven by process frameworks (e.g., ITIL, ITSM). SMEs in a DevOps environment focus on providing infrastructure, knowledge, and engineering help where the process is the output instead of the path.

Reporting and compliance is another area where traditional Ops and DevOps practices frequently differ. Traditionally, reporting is focused on data available due to the operations process, and compliance entails complex rules where people create the proof required as evidence for compliance. With DevOps, reporting is the data available resulting from the output of tasks, and compliance is a ruleset where systems output the data required.

Lastly, traditional Ops teams resolve issues by ticketing, attempting first-touch triage, and escalating to the right person or group to solve the problem. DevOps teams have the access, domain expertise, and support to handle and resolve issues immediately — resulting in faster triage, recovery, and deeper insights to improve observation and monitoring.

Common Challenges When Adopting a DevOps Approach

The DevOps journey requires a shift in processes, technologies, and team mentality, and naturally, the needs and challenges of every organization will differ. Keep the following common obstacles in mind when transitioning towards a more DevOps-style approach.

Address the "hire new talent or upskill current workforce" dilemma — Do we train current employees up or find new hires with the skills we need? Recruiting and hiring new talent, as well as providing upskilling courses, can be costly. The answer to this depends on the location and specific skill set your company is seeking. For a DevOps team, you must identify existing skill sets and then hire for the gaps.

Be cognizant of legacy applications — While it's often beneficial to hire new talent, companies must consider making the strategic decision to keep long-standing employees to manage legacy applications. Otherwise, it may be time to fully modernize legacy applications.

Avoid overwhelming team members with development and operations responsibilities — When developers are expected to run services and maintain developer responsibilities, they burn out. That's a challenge — and reality — companies need to consider as burnout leads to decreased productivity and lowers team morale.

Beware of communication struggles between developers and the business — DevOps teams must be able to communicate with the organization when a service fails. Highly technical team members may have challenges communicating with non-technical users.

How To Implement a DevOps Culture

DevOps is established in the conversations between a company and its employees about the importance of collaboration, communication, automation and integration across teams. It's the way a company communicates expectations and how it hires for those expectations. While the road to DevOps may have its own share of challenges, there are different ways to bake DevOps into the company culture, including:

Every company has a build vs. buy dilemma — For DevOps-focused companies, it should be build and buy: buy for industry standards and build for the gaps.

Hire for expectations: It's not enough to build software anymore — Developers need to develop scalable and reliable software. Developers also need the ability to update the software if it's not working as expected. Companies need developers to run operations and operators that can develop. Doing so sets an expectation that when issues arise, team members must take on an ownership mentality, have a solutions-oriented conversation, address it, and fix it.

It's okay to lean on directors/managers — Leaders at the director/manager level can influence a DevOps-focused culture. They have the skill set necessary and are "in the weeds," so they know what's going on. That isn't always the case for someone, say, at the VP level — they are more high-level, business-focused.

There are tools and processes to accelerate operational tasks — Companies must enable and automate processes through the tools used. For example: Lightweight automation — not everything has to be fully automated. Teams can also implement new workflow and process automation tools to enable teams to inject automation and orchestration into a process and tie multiple parts of the DevOps lifecycle together.

Traditional Ops Is Dead. Organizational Leaders Need to Accept This and Modernize

Traditional Ops is approaching the sunset of its existence. It's only a matter of time before organizational leaders can't ignore the new tools replacing core functionalities of old-school Ops teams.

As organizations modernize, operators can no longer just be passive facilitators, and they need to have an active approach to scalability, availability, reliability, and operate resilient systems. Real DevOps mentality is achieved when developers and operators can analyze the processes in place and ask, "How can this be better to get the outcome the team and customers need?" and then act to make it so.

Ryan Taylor is VP of Customer Success and Solutions Engineering at Transposit
Share this

Industry News

August 11, 2022

Granulate, an Intel Company, announced the upcoming launch of its latest free cost-reduction solution, gMaestro, a continuous workload and pod rightsizing tool for Kubernetes cost optimization.

August 11, 2022

Rezilion announced the availability of MI-X, a newly created open-source tool developed by Rezilion's vulnerability research team.

August 11, 2022

Contrast Security announced its enhanced application programming interface (API) security capabilities within the Contrast Secure Code Platform.

August 10, 2022

Mirantis made it even easier to integrate Mirantis Container Cloud into developer workflows and provide developers and operators with easy access and visibility into the Kubernetes clusters with the Mirantis Container Cloud Lens Extension announced today.

August 10, 2022

ArmorCode announced an integration with Traceable AI which will bring its data into the ArmorCode platform and improve Application Security Posture from code to cloud.

August 10, 2022

Quali unveiled enhanced features for its Torque platform to unify infrastructure orchestration and governance.

August 09, 2022

Veracode announced the enhancement of its Continuous Software Security Platform with substantial improvements to its integrated developer experience.

August 09, 2022

Normalyze announced General Availability for its Freemium offering, a self-serve, free platform that democratizes data discovery and classification in all three public clouds, Amazon Web Services (AWS), Microsoft Azure, and Google Cloud Platform (GCP).

August 09, 2022

Traceable AI announced enhanced capabilities to address more specific types of API attacks, including API abuse and misuse, fraud and malicious API bots, all of which contribute to serious data security and compliance challenges within organizations today.

August 08, 2022

Contrast Security announced that software composition analysis (SCA) is now available for free in CodeSec.

CodeSec offers free application security testing and SCA in a single, developer-friendly interface.

The new SCA feature will enable developers to easily identify vulnerable third-party libraries quickly and accurately, getting secure code moving in minutes.

August 08, 2022

CloudBees announced Anuj Kapur as President and CEO.

August 08, 2022

ShiftLeft named Stuart McClure as CEO.

August 04, 2022

Cribl announced a new partnership with SentinelOne. The partnership enables SentinelOne customers to leverage Cribl's observability product suite to streamline cybersecurity triage, optimize data collection, and provide security teams control of their data.

August 04, 2022

Seemplicity partnered with Checkmarx. The partnership will see the Checkmarx One Platform integrated within Seemplicity's Productivity Platform, allowing joint customers to simplify the entire find-to-fix lifecycle and ultimately accelerate the time to remediation of vulnerabilities found throughout the software development lifecycle (SDLC).

August 04, 2022

Rafay Systems announced new capabilities that empower enterprise platform teams to provide developer self-service for faster application deployments with the necessary guardrails enterprises require.