DevOps is one of the newest technological innovations that is finding great appreciation in enterprises globally. Companies of all shapes and sizes are coming forward to sing DevOps' praises and mention the kind of efficiency of its adoption. Starting as a software methodology, DevOps has evolved into a culture of its own.
As per Gartner, DevOps can significantly improve the delivery pipeline of analytics and AI architectures. DevOps-based teams also deploy much more frequently than regular development teams. At its core, DevOps delivers efficiency by focusing on inter-departmental collaboration and automation. Its strategy has been inspired by another approach with a much bigger scope, called TechOps.
As we can see, the praise of DevOps is not unfounded. This article will briefly try to understand the kind of impact DevOps had on the software engineering world and its main principles. It will provide us the grounding to understand TechOps and how it came to inspire the creation of DevOps.
Software Engineering Before & After DevOps
The field of software engineering is as much about effective collaboration as it is about making powerful and robust software. Hence, all software development methodologies try to maximize efficiency without compromising on the quality of the software. As software has gotten more complex with time, it is easy to understand why specific approaches that worked in the past don't deliver anymore.
DevOps was born of the mindset that high-caliber software is expected in less time and requires less effort in today's era. By diminishing or eliminating silos, DevOps reduces the hassle of moving software through different departments during development. It also emphasizes automating as much of the process as possible, such as unit-testing and integration.
To achieve its pipeline, DevOps utilizes cloud and version control technology. Since DevOps, active collaboration through shared repositories and tools has become the main point of focus. It is evident since it has resulted in producing much better software in a quicker time.
What Is TechOps All About?
To understand TechOps in one go, we can look at how an industry leader like Amazon Web Services defines it. According to their Dev Center, the TechOps team handles customer-facing issues through "large scale event and incident management." Their responsibility is to keep the cloud running and ensure that any problems that may arise are resolved quickly and efficiently. Essentially all primary IT operations are handled through TechOps, leading it to be also called ITOps.
As we can see, TechOps has many more responsibilities under it than DevOps. It includes handling network infrastructure, server deployment, and insistence on automation processes, to name a few. However, it does not involve software development in its pipeline. TechOps focuses on monitoring and maintaining systems after they are built. DevOps fills the gaps in TechOps left by the exclusion of the system development process.
Cloud services like AWS and Azure have TechOps as a core part of their public cloud services. Running and ensuring that cloud service is always at the users' disposal without any hindrance is usually what a TechOps administrator is expected to do. The TechOps team is also involved in the planning to improve the IT infrastructure as per new requirements.
Differentiating Between TechOps & DevOps
Given that TechOps inspired the creation of DevOps, both of them share quite some similar principles. However, there are also really fundamental differences between both. The differences between TechOps and DevOps are essential to discuss as it is helpful when choosing between the two. The main differences are as follows:
- Both Cover Different Grounds: TechOps is related to all possible IT operations of an organization and is tasked with handling the user's IT needs. DevOps focuses on bringing together the IT operations of TechOps and creating a fast workflow with software development.
Due to the fields they cover, both DevOps and TechOps differ in their deliverables and processes to achieve them. As both are concerned with different things, many enterprises employ both DevOps and TechOps.
- Both Have Different Inner Workings: Focusing on different fields, DevOps and TechOps have different pipelines and procedures involved. TechOps is more reactionary and reacts to issues as they arise. DevOps attempts to see such problems coming and resolves them while building a product.
While TechOps involves development in some measure, it is not as fundamental as for the DevOps workflow. However, Both involve IT operations and always look to automate whatever is possible.
- Both Require Different Skill Sets: Both TechOps and DevOps overlap in the skills they require but demand strengths in very different abilities. TechOps requires substantial knowledge of networking and system administration. It also requires debugging and troubleshooting knowledge in different environments like Linux or Unix. DevOps requires development knowledge along with unit testing and automation skills, apart from IT operations knowledge.
Networking knowledge is essential for both DevOps and TechOps, along with software development and automation skills. However, requirements different company to company and can be significantly different.
- Both Involve Different Tools: Under TechOps, an operator will use different tools than a DevOps engineer. Since TechOps is mainly related to network infrastructure and system maintenance, it requires working with virtual machines and different operating systems like Linux or Windows. TechOps also requires experience with cloud services like AWS. DevOps requires expertise with tools like Jenkins, version control and branching technologies like Git, and container applications like Kubernetes.
Cloud services like AWS and Azure offer both DevOps and TechOps services on their cloud platforms. Most services now offer cloud infrastructure as code through API services, removing the need for dedicated TechOps personnel.
- Both Inspire Other Methodologies Differently: Since both are different in nature and aims, methodologies inspired by DevOps and TechOps turn out different as well. TechOps inspired the birth of DevOps and has influenced approaches like CloudOps and SysOps, both of which heavily involve cloud architecture and network infrastructures. DevOps has inspired methodologies integrating other departments into its workflow, like security in DevSecOps and content management in DevContentOps.
TechOps has also witnessed the inclusion of artificial intelligence in its workflow to improve IT operations under the name of AIOps. AIOps can also be used as the next level of DevOps by making it include software development.
While TechOps can prove advantageous for planned improvement and managing sudden incidents, it can become a siloed and uncompromising approach for some enterprises. DevOps is more flexible and, by focusing on less time for development and deployment, guarantees speed. However, TechOps focuses on creating a stable and robust infrastructure, requiring more time and focus. The constant testing in DevOps tries to eradicate as much risk as possible, while TechOps is often dealing with significant amounts of risk at a given time.
What To Choose: TechOps Or DevOps?
Both TechOps and DevOps are potent approaches. However, because TechOps is more focused on a particular field, it is more of a professional role. On the other hand, DevOps is a culture and mindset that aims to bring together departments and break down any communication difficulties.
When choosing TechOps or DevOps, it is crucial to see what is the particular use case. If an enterprise is looking to build up its cloud infrastructure and will need an approach to plan, build, and maintain it, TechOps is the way to go. However, if an enterprise is trying to boost its software quality while not expanding resources, it should look into DevOps.
However, as cloud technology gets more popular, it is more likely that many tech companies may soon require both TechOps and DevOps.