Cloud adoption is increasing, and the level of abstraction in an application architecture has increased. This includes traditional on-premises servers to container deployments and serverless deployments. The focus on automation has also increased to the point where manual intervention is no longer preferred, even for infrastructure-related activities like backups, security management, and patch updates. This is referred to as a NoOps environment. It involves smaller teams capable of managing your application lifecycle. In this environment, your operations team can focus on the application lifecycle and reduce their efforts. In this article, I will discuss about NoOps in detail.
What is NoOps?
NoOps stands for the belief that software environments can be automated so much that no operations team is required. NoOps stands for “no operations” and is a new trend that has been in the forefront for at least a decade. NoOps does not mean outsourcing your IT operations. It’s not about shifting to SaaS and the cloud and expecting them to manage operations. However, both managed service providers like Mindtree and cloud companies are on the NoOps journey to improve their infrastructure and speed.
NoOps doesn’t just focus on one technology play. It is not the same thing as serverless technology or containers, Kubernetes, microservices, or containerization — even though these all play roles in helping an IT shop move towards NoOps. NoOps is not a platform that can be purchased. Experts say NoOps is a combination of multiple technologies, and more importantly, a rework of IT processes and workflows that automate repetitive, mundane tasks and remove higher-level tasks workers are now handling.
However, some industry leaders consider NoOps a lofty goal and not a realistic endpoint. According to them, the expectation that IT will completely eliminate manual operations in lifecycle management is unrealistic. This could be due to its internal processes or its provider’s workings.
“In true NoOps, development and operations never need to interact to get their jobs done. Whereas in DevOps they work together throughout the entire lifecycle,” says Karen Panetta, dean of graduate engineering at Tufts University and a fellow with IEEE. NoOps is a way to automate development, deployment, and maintenance. It is a wish-list item. You can do certain things, but you cannot do others.
What are the benefits of NoOps
NoOps, in whatever form it is implemented, not only lowers IT management costs but also allows businesses to respond faster and more effectively to changing requirements by delivering new services and applications to market quickly. Routine IT operations tasks can be automated or outsourced to free up scarce and costly staff to focus on higher-value activities, such as the development of new services and applications.
Nashawaty says that NoOps has many benefits, including increased flexibility for IT staff. This is evident in the hiring patterns. Recent ESG surveys revealed that more than two-thirds (or more) of respondents intend to hire IT generalists to help meet business needs rather than specialists in specific areas of IT.
What are the drawbacks to NoOps?
According to a 2021 Forrester Research study, one of the obstacles to NoOps’ more fully automated IT management is corporate culture that discourages the risk associated with new technologies for managing IT and past failures at IT process change.
According to the Forrester report, businesses can also fail by automating inefficient processes or “mass-producing” errors. For example, scripts that control configurations of thousands or hundreds of servers and other infrastructure components are flawed.
Nashawaty says that if you don’t have the right rules for AI, it could lead to errors in your automation. If you use machine learning to manage operations, and there is no human interference, the business doesn’t have visibility into how these rules are being applied.
There are legitimate concerns about job loss due to NoOps. Forrester predicts that a third of the jobs in infrastructure and operations (I&O), will be lost. One-third of the staff will be “passionate advocates of change” and will work to automate their jobs. A second group will watch and wait to see how the first group does. The third group will not be able or willing to learn new skills and leave the company.
Lllsley says that the biggest drawback to IT operations is that once you lose them, it’s difficult to get them back. He suggests that instead of trying to eliminate it, it be considered an inevitable cost of doing business, even if it doesn’t distinguish a company from its competitors.
How Does NoOps Work?
NoOps is a policy-based, automated process that triggers IT and business events. This ensures that applications and services are running efficiently, securely, and at the lowest cost.
Creating a highly automated IT infrastructure requires microservices, APIs for all types of infrastructure and automation. Infrastructure as code is achieved through tools like scripts that automate management and configuration of systems. This blurs the distinction between infrastructure and application. This could also include self-healing the application environment.
NoOps incorporate DevOps principles, such as making small, frequent changes rather than trying to implement changes in a set time window. Also, restricting access to command lines to prevent people from misconfiguring systems. Forrester recommends regularly measuring and testing IT infrastructure components to improve their efficiency. It also suggests avoiding complex custom system configurations that can be difficult to automate.
What are some examples of NoOps tools?
Any IT management, monitoring, or automation technology can be considered NoOps. Nashawaty states that NoOps requires tools that allow for version control of code, management and orchestration of containers, cloud platforms, and microservices, as well as monitoring and controlling application performance.
Analysts often mention the following products:
- Automate by Progress Software Chef is a company that provides enterprise dashboards, analytics and cross-team collaboration. It also offers “actionable insights for configuration and conformance and an audible historical of changes in environments.” Chef Automate displays data directly from the Chef to allow for observability in configuration security and compliance.
- ServiceNow offers digital workflow tools that can help identify potential problems and then automatically fix them or refer them to the right staff. ServiceNow’s drag and drop interface makes it easy for businesses to automate everything, from setting up configuration scripts to solving password problems.
- Puppet Enterprise allows system administrators to automate repetitive tasks and provide new systems quickly. It also allows them to deploy critical applications quickly and manage their infrastructure proactive and continuously. It can be used with multiple operating systems, cloud environments, and auto-remediation to restore application components to their original state.
- Ansible of Red Hat’s automation platform includes open-source software provisioning and configuration tools. These tools can also be used to automate IT operations by using workflow platforms, monitoring, observability, and workflow platforms. Red Hat claims Ansible is capable of managing physical, software-defined networks, as well as cloud-based ones. It can also manage Kubernetes clusters, measure containerized apps, and fix security systems.
- vRealize Automation SaltStack Configuration from VMware automates and organizes security and infrastructure optimization. According to VMware, it can create simple, human-readable infrastructure in code, control and configure operating systems and implement desired states automatically.
- Ang Dynatrace Software Intelligence Platform provides capabilities that range from infrastructure monitoring, cloud automation, and run-time vulnerability identification. It provides metrics, logs, and traces but also a complete topological model, code detail, user experience, and behaviour data.
Implementing NoOps principles will help you focus on your business and customers, rather than your infrastructure. IT and how they measure the delivery speed of new services and applications to meet changing business requirements. Forrester stated that even though many I&O professionals believe operations will one day be automated, they are not necessary. However, they believes that in fully automated environments, “someone must manage resources, optimize infrastructure as code, and model configurations.