In spite of my post yesterday explaining the nuances behind the usage of the term NoOps, vendors with tools in Ops and DevOps space are taking the debate in binary terms. In spite of my efforts to highlight the fact that NoOps doesn’t mean Ops is going away, they are arguing that it conveys the meaning of ops going away completely. While it is easy to dismiss such arguments as bullshit and move on, I feel that I should take my time to talk about the other side of the debate, i.e. can we use DevOps and PaaS in the same sentence?
The simple answer is Yes. But before I go into that discussion, let me clear the air about how NoOps term is used. NoOps is a symbolic representation of the shift that happens as organizations move to hosted PaaS. It is like how Salesforce used “No Software” mantra to kick start the imagination of buyers of enterprise software. No Software didn’t mean software went away. It just meant that the software lies in someone else’s infrastructure and its functionality is offered using a different service interface. NoOps is a similar symbolic representation to highlight the fact that as organizations move to hosted PaaS for their development needs, their investment on the operations gets drastically minimized as it becomes service providers’ responsibility.
Having said that, not every organization is going to move to hosted PaaS. There are many who will use traditional infrastructure for quite some time. There are many who will use the PaaS software like CloudFoundry or Cumulogic to offer their developers PaaS like interface while keeping the entire operations in house. In fact, some may still want to use hosted PaaS but have a much deeper control on the underlying infrastructure (Engine Yard is a good example of this kind of solution). In all of the above cases, DevOps is going to be critical. I would even say that traditional Ops may still be alive in certain organizations. Ops is not going away anywhere. In most cases, it cedes the limelight to service interface and moves to the background (a fact I have highlighted many times in my post yesterday) and in some other cases, like certain types of hosted PaaS solutions, it even leaves the boundaries of organization because the service provider will handle most of the operational needs. NoOps is a symbolic representation to highlight this approach available for enterprises.
If free market is about offering choices, NoOps is one such choice. NoOps doesn’t mean No Ops. It just means No Ops investment for the organization as it is outsourced. We need a competitive marketplace for continuous innovation and NoOps is a choice for customers available in such a market. Ops folks cannot unleash FUD to take this choice away. NoOps doesn’t imply traditional Ops and models like DevOps are going out of the market and, in the similar vein, presence of DevOps and traditional Ops cannot simply imply that NoOps mantra cannot be used to signify a shift in the choice available to the customers. Finally, it is about choice to customers. Gone are days where vendors dictated how customers should consume IT resources. We are in a more empowered market where the role of vendors is to just offer different choices to customers and if buzzwords can be used to drive marketing advantage (as in the case of terms like DevOps, Converged Infrastructure, No Software, etc.), NoOps is a legitimate use of the term by niche class of IT services. Let us talk nuances. #justsayin