Dev needs to understand what Ops is for
A recent blog post made me angry. This is one cause of the Dev-Ops divide: ignorance of what the other side does. I expect some of that in the trade, down at the coalface amongst Dev and Ops practitioners. I don't expect it from Forrester analysts.
Mike Gualtieri says "I Don't Want DevOps. I Want NoOps." This shows a clear contempt for the value of Ops. This appears to stem from a profound ignorance of what Ops does:
Sure, the ops guys efforts are critical to our applications because they have to run on something. But, developers should look to spend more of their time getting closer to the business, not getting closer to the hardware
I don't doubt that I make some folks just as angry with my comments about Agile or DevOps, but I like to think I have some knowledge of the development world when I make those remarks. I've been a programmer, a software library developer, a data modeller. I've cut COBOL, 4GL, Realizer (a GUI OO), VB, HTML and PHP. I've also sold tools for coding, CASE, database, directory, code analysis, debugging, testing, SDLC, project management, development methodologies... you name it. I built my own LAMP stack, dammit. I spent a decade immersed in the development world until I came over to the dark side.
But Mike thinks Ops is there to provide running servers. This would suggest he's never been in a server room let alone worked in IT Operations. Somebody please introduce the man to the concepts of risk, cost allocation, portfolio and demand, security, identity, access, provisioning, availability, capacity, continuity, service levels, problem, incident, requests, service desk, and most of all what "change management" really means and why we have it. Mike thinking Ops is about servers is like someone thinking Dev is about code cutting.
It's possible Mike is being provocative rather than ignorant, however I would expect to see a tongue firmly in cheek somewhere in the post if that was the case and I don't. "NoOps means that application developers will never have to speak with an operations professional again." Oh for god's sake! Only if they are gonna support it. Only if they will be providing their own phone lines and email addresses to do so. Only of they'll be providing the round-the-clock monitoring, archiving, backups, and disaster recovery. Only if they aren't planning to ever hand something over to those entrusted with being its long-term custodians. I'm not sure where Mike is writing from, but on my planet that doesn't happen, not even in Agile development. Successful Agile development involves close collaboration between Dev and Ops to provide Dev with the flexibility they need in dev, test and prod environments, whilst still protecting the organisation's interests through ring-fencing the change to prevent anything else getting broken, managing the risks, defending security, ensuring integrity and so on. And eventually the iterations slow down as the customer loses interest or funds, the Swiss-balls disappear along with the project team, and somebody is left holding the semi-documented mess. Accommodating Agile developers is much like accommodating someone else's three-year old in my house. I provide defined safe areas, remove sharp objects and lock the cupboards. Once they're gone we return to the grown-up lifestyle. [Come on Mike, if you're going to have contempt do it properly].
It gets worse in Mike's post:
NoOps will achieve this nirvana, by using cloud infrastructure-as-a-service and platform-as-a-service to get the resources they need when they need them.
This tooth-fairy mindset has been addressed often enough elsewhere, including by me, but once again it shows total lack of understanding (except in the use of the word "Nirvana").
Mike seems to be on a roll in this anarchist approach, with a more recent post "Want Better Quality? Fire Your QA Team." It's all very exciting, just as anarchism is to university students, but it is equally as stupid, destructive and detached from reality. Businesses didn't build this immense IT Operations infrastructure for no reason. And contrary to some opinion, the reasons are still there. You'd think we would be grown up enough to get past this "but the rules are all different now" bovine excrement.
In New Zealand, kids got their driver's licence - until recently - at 15 years old. The few anecdotes we have about Agile success (and Mike's story of one client getting away with dumping QA) are like a 15-year-old saying "See Dad, I drive safe. I, like, got to town and back without, like, killing anyone". IT Ops is about managing IT risk on behalf of the business, and most Dev folk wouldn't recognise operational risk if it licked them.
Forrester, a word of advice if I may: you have good guys from all over the industry. You might want to learn from each other more before sounding off.