DevOps (a portmanteau of development and operations) is a practice that emphasizes collaboration between software developers and other information-technology (IT) professionals while automating the process of software delivery and infrastructure changes. The phrase DevOps has been in use since 2009, but it is still a concept that many have difficulty wrapping their heads around. Despite offering numerous advantages over traditional, disjointed operations, some organizations have been slow to adopt and implement it due lack of understanding of what makes DevOps successful.
It’s time to set the record straight and debunk some of the biggest myths of DevOps.
Myth #1: 'Hire the right people, and your business will convert to DevOps.'
- This is the biggest, yet most basic, myth that companies tend to believe about DevOps. DevOps engineers and specialists do not exist, because DevOps does not exist in a vacuum. DevOps, by definition, requires a team or even an entire company to exist.
- DevOps refers to a change in business culture and practice. It emphasizes collaboration and communication between development and operations professionals, thus creating an environment where software is built, tested, and delivered quickly, efficiently, and reliably. This four-step process requires collaboration, validation, automation, and iteration.
- It certainly takes a specific employee mentality to operate in a DevOps environment, due to the necessity of collaboration and open-mindedness, but no organization can simply hire a 'DevOps Engineer' and expect to reap the rewards of DevOps.
Myth #2: 'DevOps will solve all of your company’s problems.'
- There is no magic bullet for success, so why is DevOps often treated as one? The truth is that, just as you cannot simply turn a company around by making good DevOps hires, you can’t expect all of your existing problems to go away - even with successful implementation of DevOps.
- DevOps is an ongoing project; execution is only the first step. As a business grows, adapting the workforce can be challenging. Understanding what additions should be made is the key to maintaining a DevOps flow. Often, the spirit of DevOps is lost in a crisis situation where teams are told to focus on specific goals while ignoring the broader picture.
Myth #3: 'DevOps is all about automation.'
- Deployment of automation tools is often associated with DevOps because of the amount of repeating processes involved in releasing new iterations of applications. But while automation is an important supplement to development, it is not a complete DevOps solution.
- Streamlining processes can save thousands of man-hours, and there are many excellent and efficient tools available to developers and for databases. These tools, often branded as “made for DevOps”, help teams through the DevOps process. But they should not be thought of as a replacement for it. As discussed in Myth #1, DevOps is a cultural shift. There are many ways to facilitate the shift, but none is stronger than a change in company mindset.
Myth #4 “DevOps is in the cloud.”
- Speaking of buzzwords, the legendary cloud is, perhaps, the most overused and overhyped concept in the hi-tech world. Many people associate DevOps with the cloud, but, while the two can be connected, they don’t necessarily have to be.
- The cloud is often described in different ways depending on who you ask, but at its most basic level, cloud computing is an internet-based platform that provides shared processing resources to computers on demand. It is most appealing in its enabling of companies to avoid upfront costs associated with creating private infrastructure.
- When defined in the simplest terms, the cloud loses its luster. Yes, it is an excellent tool for creating a virtualized environment, but physical databases are just as effective and perform the same task. Therefore, while many prefer the cloud, it is not essential to your DevOps infrastructure.
Myth #5: 'You should copy the way [insert name of huge company here] implemented DevOps.'
- The most common theme in these myths is that DevOps is a one-size-fits-all solution. Different companies have different problems whose solutions vary. The big players are often cited for their DevOps successes, but it’s illogical to believe that what worked for them will work for you.
- If your company is not a social network or a massive online store or a streaming video service, then why would it implement the techniques used by Facebook, Amazon or Netflix? Your company deserves a unique plan that focuses on your needs, not those of companies that aren’t operating within your realm.
Myth #6: 'DevOps is dead.'
- Every once in a while, an opinion column will make waves for claiming that some technology platform is dead. These articles with grabby headlines serve no one but the author. There is no data or analysis to support the claim that DevOps is dead.
- DevOps is a fresh IT concept that many companies are only just beginning to adopt. It is a proven idea that is gaining traction because it has been lucrative for so many. It, no doubt, has room to grow and evolve, but rumors of its death have been greatly exaggerated.
- Perhaps we should begin worrying about the future of DevOps when teams have too little to do, but until then, we can rest assured that DevOps is only gaining steam.