DevOps to NoOps with AI in 2021

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Martin Večeřa

DevOps as an approach to software development has become widely established over the last nine years. Bringing the development and IT operations functions together has brought many benefits in the form of better communication and increased collaboration and we’ve seen a range of new tools and disciplines emerging to support the movement. 

Five DevOps Trends on the horizon

To establish a common ground on what DevOps is if you are not already familiar with the term or you want to figure out some details, we can recommend reading the following article.

According to Gartner’s Hype Cycle for Performance Analysis,  DevOps and AIOps are the two areas that have gained the most momentum in the industry.

We need to think of DevOps as the beginning of a bigger, business-critical journey towards a more automated future through AIOps and, ultimately, NoOps — the point where an IT environment becomes so automated that a dedicated team isn’t even needed for managing tasks anymore.

Reshaping the cultures and mindsets around enterprise IT and DevOps will not be done overnight. But, these new ways and approaches toward automated IT cannot be ignored in favour of continuing with the status quo. Enterprises that don’t make the adjustment to cloud-based, AI-driven automated IT and fail to ramp up their DevOps efforts in the direction of AIOps and NoOps, are going to quickly find themselves left behind [https://thenewstack.io/dont-get-left-behind-when-ai-replaces-devops/].

What Are the Steps Forward?

Don’t want to be left aside? Dynatrace shares their success story in a beautiful, easy to understand and quick to read infographics. We like it because it clearly answers the import questions and lists the steps to take.

While there are also opposite opinions against NoOps, we would rather see them as a list of opportunities where current DevOps people can grow, where they are needed and what are the new challenges when NoOps is in place. We simply cannot let the people go as there are more new problems to solve. We need to keep an eye on their appropriate trainings and make sure their work is properly and efficiently organised.

However, without a sound plan with SMART goals, it is hard to achieve any transition. So you might need to track your team trainings, measure the transition progress, the AI algorithms deployed, the resourced freed up for more complex work, individual milestones and checkpoints. Now you might be already thinking of a terribly complex spreadsheet that prevents you from even starting the transition. Do not worry Lumeer collaborative work management tool is here to help you!

Easy Steps to Embrace NoOps

Following are some important steps to consider when planning your NoOps strategy.

Shift Quality to the Left 

Quality only counts once it’s in production because it impacts customers. DevOps want to duplicate that in the development stage to ensure that what the team was deploying each day remained at the same quality as our in-production software. Also known as shift left.

Development teams need to add self-diagnostic and self-healing strategies into their own code and define how monitoring and alerting should look like [EP].

Incorporate the right tooling

DevOps need automation in order to make changes quickly when they spot an issue. It’s not practical to wait an hour to deploy a new code change. And it certainly isn’t practical to wait weeks until the next release.

Automation tools enable teams to push out changes with a safety net and no manual touches. And as they no longer have another team to confer with, this expedites the process even more [EP].

Engage Managed Services

If zero friction and reducing busy-work for DevOps teams are your goals, part of the NoOps solution may include managed services.

Outsourcing operations and infrastructure management can remove burdens from your IT team, letting them focus instead on growing your business. Operations still exist, but they are no longer a burden shouldered entirely by your internal teams [LM].

Use Cloud Services, But In a Smart Way

The ability to scale up and down on demand makes cloud platforms appealing to developers and enterprises alike. The automation of that process helps enable NoOps in the enterprise.

However, adopters of cloud technology are often surprised by the costs of storing data and moving it between cloud environments.

To truly support NoOps, businesses need to choose network providers that can help with seamless, adaptive connections to any cloud, anywhere, while also helping control costs [LM]. 

Obtain management buy-in

DevOps need management support in understanding that while customers might not see direct value in investing in self-diagnostic and self-healing features, they are still important.

They are important from a business perspective because they will ensure applications’ high availability[EP].

Conclusion

Probably the truth is somewhere in between and the real future of operations is not No-Ops, it’s Intelligent-Ops. Intelligent operations, in the sense that the software managing operations is AI based. Also in the sense that the software collaborates with humans who are exercising their superior intelligence and creativity where it is critically required.

Where operations is overseen by Intelligent-Ops, machines take over the pattern-recognition-and-response duties, while humans figure out the tough cases and develop operations strategies and objectives. Intelligent-Ops tools become a personal intelligent assistant.

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