When organizations begin using DevOps for application development, many only reference DevOps as part of their infrastructure and select a subset of DevOps before understanding the cultural and process changes needed for success. Instead, organizations must first determine which ‘Ops’ approach best promotes a DevOps mindset and integrate their workflows into their culture. In doing so, these organizations will better align their development and operations teams on common goals and protocols.
There are many variations and subgenres of DevOps. However, it’s important organizations understand the ‘Ops’ choices available and choose the one that’s right for them.
Principles Vs. Implementation Differences
General DevOps and its subgenres can be split into two groups. The first and “purest” are the principles that these terms focus on unifying two or more industries with operations.
The second type is those that focus on an implementation type.
DevOps: Improving Technical Processes and Culture
DevOps is the overarching umbrella term for operations that combine Agile development concepts with IT operations and fast-tracks the development and deployment of applications in cloud environments. While there are different subgenres of DevOps, each subgenre is a different application of DevOps methodology, all geared toward making development more agile, stable and efficient. Because DevOps shortens the development life cycle by a significant margin, this streamlined approach to application development is quite popular.
DevSecOps: Adding Security Checks
DevSecOps bakes additional security measures into the workflow. Where DevOps typically has security checks at the end of a cycle, IT pros that leverage DevSecOps integrate security early and often in their DevOps journeys. With DevSecOps, collaboration between developers, security specialists and ops is crucial to maintaining agility and delivery speed, but the extra layers of security can slow processes down. DevSecOps leverages fast testing and robust pipelines to favor better code integrity. This method can be beneficial if an organization needs to elevate security during development.
NoOps: Reducing In-House Teams for Operations
NoOps is the lofty vision that DevOps is so automated it doesn’t require in-house expertise, meaning no manual intervention is required in processes. NoOps differs from DevOps because there is less focus on Agile and process management. This process assumes that developers do not need to know how to use the automated tools and uses continuous integration techniques to allow developers to focus only on application development.
Though NoOps speeds up the deployment processes, if used by itself, NoOps lacks open communication and team management. Successful implementation of NoOps is only achievable if an organization does not have lofty technical goals or if its development team is small but strong and able to handle development and operations.
GitOps: Using Git to Automate
GitOps has been gaining traction in the development industry over the past two years because of its use of Git to automate continuous delivery pipelines. GitOps is a robust and manageable form of operations because it uses Git as the single source of truth for operations. In addition, due to developers’ familiarity with Git and pull requests, there is no complicated tool to learn, and changes to existing workflows are often unnecessary.
The GitOps method can also boast that it is backed by some of the market’s most innovative cloud services, thus automating the process of building an update, testing for errors, reviewing code and pushing the update to production. Because Git is the only source of truth with GitOps, it is vital to effectively fortify the Git repository to avoid needless commits or pull requests.
CloudOps: Implementing Cloud-Native Features
CloudOps attempts to take more advantage of cloud-native features offered by modern service providers. Since CloudOps focuses on distributed development and deployment, there is no single point of failure, making the whole cloud environment more reliable. In addition, certain parts of the workflow in this type of operation can go stateless, making it cost-efficient as organizations only pay for the resources they actually use. Though CloudOps can be time and cost-efficient, organizations must get the configuration right for the approach to be beneficial, which could mean added complications to configuring CI/CD pipelines.
CIOps: Requiring CI Operators for Configuration
Continuous integration Ops (CIOps) is the latest iteration of DevOps, requiring CI operators to configure the infrastructure needed to support new code before deployment. The manual inputs necessary to ensure CI jobs’ correct configuration and deployment location bring advantages and disadvantages. Control over infrastructure allows two deployments to have different infrastructure configurations. The major disadvantages are the required manual intervention leaves room for error and the need to link an organization’s CI tool to its API can pose security risks.
CIOps is better-suited for smaller development environments where automation is an inconvenience. While CIOps gives developers flexibility in configuring cloud infrastructures, the approach takes time and effort to run smoothly.
ITOps: Automating IT Management Pipelines
IT is loosely defined as the management of end user or employee systems. They are the systems that are required to run a core business. The fundamental difference is that there is little to no development. If your business doesn’t require a software engineering team and can function solely on prebuilt applications, then ITOps is for you.
ITOps is in charge of delivering and maintaining services, applications and the underlying technologies necessary to run a business, covering jobs like system administrator and network administrator. ITOps focuses on updating laptops and office networks in addition to highly-tested commercial software and solutions for constructing the infrastructure, making updating infrastructure components more complicated. When using ITOps, an organization’s CIO will focus on managing the system via automation.
Choosing the Best Op for an Organization
Choosing between the variations of DevOps is a matter of finding an approach that works best for the kind of apps the organization is developing and the cloud infrastructure they use. Though all of the above Ops strategies are based on unique ideas, they tend to focus on the technical side. Contrarily, DevOps stands out for its ability to comprehensively improve workflows and streamline technical processes while fostering a culture of innovation and collaboration in an organization.