A lesson I have learned over my 30 years in the tech world is that technology and frameworks never truly die—they evolve and they grow. When I read a recent article proclaiming, “DevOps is dead!” and that we should all be embracing platform engineering, I had a chuckle.
No, DevOps isn’t dead, and rumors of its demise have been greatly exaggerated. In fact, DevOps is more alive than ever and the truth is, it is going wherever software goes. When I went back and read the article again, I realized that it appeared on a website owned by a venture capital (VC) company and that the article itself was a sponsored post from a company promoting platform engineering. That’s a good reminder to take that article with a grain of salt. I also realized that the headline was meant to be controversial, if not downright clickbait.
That said, I feel that the article demands a rebuttal. To be fair to the author of that article, I believe the point they were trying to make is that there is a major issue with DevOps—we have put too much on the developers’ plates, and that one more straw may break the proverbial camel’s back. Certainly, this is a valid point. We need to balance what we ask our developers to do in relation to the rest of the team. We see this with security in DevSecOps; we see it with testing and we certainly see it with operations. In fact, in many ways, the rise of the SRE has better defined the ops role thereby lessening the load on developers.
I have no doubt that platform engineering will also lessen the load on developers and better define the role of a platform engineer. However, SRE did not kill DevOps and neither will platform engineering. At one time, it was very fashionable to talk about a full-stack developer. Today, many people think that the so-called full-stack developer is a myth and that role is not really what is needed in most organizations. The job of a developer, though, is never and will never be easy, even with the advent of AI/ML-generated code. The developer always has many plates spinning in the air at any given time. And to that point, the high levels of compensation they are paid is not unwarranted nor is it unearned.
I look forward to seeing how the platform engineer role and platform engineering as a practice evolve and how they interact with SREs and DevOps teams as well as developers, security testers, etc., but I am fairly certain that no matter how the role evolves, it will not be the death knell for DevOps.
As we proclaimed for our upcoming DevOps Experience event on November 16, 2022, it is going where no DevOps has gone before. We see DevOps-of-things; we see DevOps at the edge. We see distributed DevOps, too. DevOps has taken root in our software development life cycle and beyond. While the frameworks may change and evolve, DevOps changes and evolves with it.
If you say DevOps is dead, I disagree. I say long live DevOps!