Is DevOps favoring the Devs over the Ops?


On paper, DevOps involves the merging of the software development and network operations teams with the hopes of faster application deployment. Companies in a variety of business sectors enjoy competitive advantages because of a successful DevOps implementation. Software engineers and network administrators happily collaborating for the greater good of their employer remains the ideal view.

However, some operations professionals in the industry feel the developers are dominating things too much. Are these the signs of an emerging “civil war” in DevOps? Let’s take a closer look at the details to see if you need to worry about your own team.

Do Network Engineers truly feel Railroaded by DevOps?

A recent article by David Rubenstein in ITOps Times reveals a growing disenchantment with DevOps from networking professionals. They feel the demand by executives for a faster software development process is leading to a lack of control over IT operations. Rubenstein notes that software engineers use DevOps as a cover to “circumvent IT processes that have long protected businesses from costly downtime and security breaches.”

He isn’t alone in this opinion. Lucas Carlson, vice president of strategy at the Cloud automation firm, CA Automic, explains this position in detail.

“DevOps to this day is really built by developers and for developers, and it really feels like a misfit to try to force IT operations to use DevOps tools, given their heritage, because they were built with developers in mind… They’re great for developers but not for IT operations, and that’s kind of created a shift, a divide, and it seems like almost ever since DevOps has been gaining traction and popularity, the developer role within organizations has become more and more raised and lifted. Everybody’s trying to hire developers. Developers are kind of the kingpins of the technology world right now. Developers are held at the highest ranks of where people in technology look up to, and IT operations has really been left behind in all of this,” said Carlson.

Is his view simply a case of sour grapes, a valid concern on the near-future of DevOps, or a mixture of both?

The Traditional War between Developers and Network Administrators

Since collaboration and communication are the hallmarks of modern software development, are we seeing a return to the old days where software engineers and network administrators were typically at each other’s throats? This author remembers a fellow developer regularly called network personnel at our company “setup.exe” in a derisive fashion. He felt their only value involved installing software.

This kind of attitude on both sides forgets one basic fact: development and operations are working for the same team. For his part, Carlson hopes for a new term to take the place of DevOps – AgileOps. Mere semantic changes probably won’t matter, especially considering the strength of DevOps as a buzzword. We’ll see.

Ultimately, these are all likely still the growing pains of a new methodology. Since the executive team controls the direction of the company – and the purse strings – developers and network engineers simply need to collaborate better. A slower approach to the SDLC won’t fly in this competitive Agile era.

Maybe some late Valentine’s Day cards need to be sent between developers and their ITOps brethren?

Keep coming back to the Betica Blog for additional news and insights from the software development world. As always, thanks for reading!