5 common misconceptions about DevOps

Hari Vignesh Jayapalan

August 10th, 2017

DevOps is a transformative operational concept designed to help development and production teams coordinate operations more effectively. In theory, DevOps is designed to be focused on cultural changes that stimulate collaboration and efficiency, but the focus often ends up being placed on everyday tasks, distracting organizations from the core principles — and values  — that DevOps is built around. This has led to many technology professionals developing misconceptions about DevOps because they have been part of deployments,or know people who have been involved in DevOps plans, who have strayed from the core principles of the movement. Let’s discuss a few of the misconceptions.

We need to employ ‘DevOps’

DevOps is not a job title or a specific role. Your organization probably already has Senior Systems guys and Senior Developers who have many of the traits needed to work in the way that DevOps promotes. With a bit of effort and help from outside consultants, mailing lists or conferences, you might easily be able to restructure your business around the principles you propose without employing new people — or losing old ones.

Again, there is no such thing as a DevOp person. It is not a job title. Feel free to advertise for people who work with a DevOps mentality, but there are no DevOps job titles.

Oftentimes, good people to consider in the role as a bridge between teams are generalists, architects, and Senior Systems Administrators and Developers. Many companies in the past decade have employed a number of specialists — a DNS Administrator is not unheard of. You can still have these roles, but you’ll need some generalists who have a good background in multiple technologies. They should be able to champion the values of simple systems over complex ones, and begin establishing automation and cooperation between teams.

Adopting tools makes you DevOps

Some who have recently caught wind of the DevOps movement believe they can instantly achieve this nirvana of software delivery simply by following a checklist of tools to implement within their team. Their assumption is, that if they purchase and implement a configuration management tool like Chef, a monitoring service like Librato, or an incident management platform like VictorOps, then they’ve achieved DevOps! But that's not quite true.

DevOps requires a cultural shift beyond simply implementing a new lineup of tools. Each department, technical or not, needs to understand the cultural shift behind DevOps. It’s one that emphasizes empathy and better collaboration. It’s more about people.

DevOps emphasizes continuous change

There’s no way around it — you will need to deal with more change and release tasks when integrating DevOps principles into your operations — the focus is placed heavily on accelerating deployment through development and operations integration, after all. This perception comes out of DevOps’ initial popularity among web app developers. It has been explained that most businesses will not face change that is so frequent, and do not need to worry about continuous change deployment just because they are supporting DevOps.

DevOps does not equal “developers managing production”

DevOps means development and operations teams working together collaboratively to put the operations requirements about stability, reliability, and performance into the development practices, while at the same time bringing development into the management of the production environment (e.g. by putting them on call, or by leveraging their development skills to help automate key processes).

It doesn’t mean a return to the laissez-faire “anything goes” model, where developers have unfettered access to the production environment 24/7 and can change things as and when they like.

DevOps eliminates traditional IT roles

If, in your DevOps environment, your developers suddenly need to be good system admins, change managers and database analysts, something went wrong. DevOps as a movement that eliminates traditional IT roles will put too much strain on workers. The goal is to break down collaboration barriers, not ask your developers to do everything. Specialized skills play a key role in support effective operations, and traditional roles are valuable in DevOps. 

About the Author 

Hari Vignesh Jayapalan is a Google Certified Android app developer, IDF Certified UI & UX Professional, street magician, fitness freak, technology enthusiast, and wannabe entrepreneur. He can be found on Twitter @HariofSpades.