ITOps, DevOps and NoOps are three different approaches to structuring an organization’s IT teams. Each has different responsibilities and goals, and while both ITOps and DevOps working groups have been widely adopted by enterprises, NoOps is still mostly theoretical. We’ll take a closer look at each one and how they relate to each other.
ITOps: ITOps’ broad and sometimes nebulous purview can make it seem that it covers anything IT-related. It’s true that ITOps activities can vary considerably from organization to organization, but in all cases, they fall under the responsibility of delivering and maintaining the technology needed to run a business. In practice, that includes tasks such as maintaining networks, managing data centers, ensuring security and regulatory compliance, managing the help desk, licensing and managing software and other tasks that empower workers and support daily business operations. Notably, it does not include program and application development and related tasks.
DevOps: DevOps refers to an approach to IT delivery that combines people, practices, and tools to break down silos between development and operations teams. But DevOps also refers to a distinct IT role responsible for developing, implementing and maintaining custom applications for internal or external use.
As its name indicates, DevOps brings together the roles of development and IT operations. Following a set of DevOps practices, DevOps teams accelerate the development of applications and services with a more responsive approach to the management of the IT infrastructure, so they can deploy and update IT products at the speed of the modern marketplace.
ITOps and DevOps are founded on different and opposing principles. ITOps — charged with ensuring a stable and secure infrastructure that adheres to standards and regulatory requirements — favors a precise approach that minimizes risk. DevOps revolves around innovating and optimizing apps while shortening the software development life cycle and speeding up time to market.
Not surprisingly, these different imperatives sometimes come into conflict. ITOps’ steady, linear approach to developing and maintaining infrastructure makes it difficult to implement changes quickly and slows the development process. DevOps’ need for speed sometimes prompts teams to work around ITOps due to time constraints, potentially creating risks to system security and stability. For this reason, a DevOps approach requires that ITOps abdicate some of its responsibilities and share others with DevOps to help development teams achieve their delivery goals.
NoOps: NoOps stands for No IT Operations and refers to an evolution of DevOps that completely removes IT operations from the software development environment. Proponents claim that infrastructure maintenance tasks can be fully automated, eliminating the need for an in-house ITOps team. NoOps isn’t a platform but relies on several cloud technologies such as AI and machine learning to be put into practice.
Advocates say NoOps offers a few potential benefits:
- Reduced likelihood of human error — NoOps minimizes human errors from manual functions and their attendant downtime, along with other incident management tasks, because a fully automated system wouldn’t require any human mediation.
- Greater speed and efficiency — It eliminates the conflicts between ITOps’ stability-and-security approach and DevOps’ drive for innovation, allowing development teams to work with more speed and agility.
- An elevated role for ITOps — NoOPs relieves ITOps of its operational responsibilities, allowing IT to take on a more strategic role, working on technological advancements and ensuring DevOps teams get the tools they need.
At this point, NoOps is still more of a concept than a practical solution. Some believe that removing ITOps from the software life cycle process would put too much responsibility on developers and impede production. Others say that automating every function of ITOps simply isn’t realistic given the complexity of modern systems. In the near future, it’s more likely that certain segments of operations will be automated while other areas will necessarily be performed by humans.