Last updated on February 17th, 2021
When organizations adopted the DevOps model they soon experienced significant benefits compared to the siloed, waterfall development approach. But as with everything else, change is a constant in the technology landscape. In many ways, continuous improvement is always the mantra for success. But is transitioning from something as good as DevOps to something even better possible?
DevOps has been the toast of software development teams. DevOps teams following these practices release often and are more agile since the gap between development and operation of the software is reduced dramatically. Developers build the product and then run it as well employing ops folks who provision virtual machines for the developers to run the apps.
With DevOps, developers wield the task of development while managing the server infrastructure simultaneously. However, development time can get impacted when developers are weighed down by the task of managing their server infrastructure as well. NoOps emerges as a solution to this pain as it removes the need for developers to be dedicated to operations tasks.
NoOps is a concept where the software environment is so completely automated that there is no need for an operations team. While NoOps might seem a little like outsourcing IT operations, moving to the cloud, SaaS, or having vendors run operations, NoOps is a journey that is not about a single technology play. It is more about reworking IT processes and workflows that drive even higher levels of automation and allows developers to focus on outcomes rather than operations.
If we follow the path of DevOps, we will see that NoOps seems like a natural follow-up.
Where does Serverless fit in?
In the NoOps concept, the IT environment becomes so automated and abstracted from the underlying infrastructure that organizations no longer need dedicated teams to manage it in-house. IT automation and cloud computing are the two great influencers driving NoOps adoption and ensure that IT operations staff can focus on high-value work in the SDLC.
This is where Serverless comes into play where the management and allocation of resources such as server maintenance, uptime, backups, patching, and security are managed in the cloud, driven by the needs of the software application.
Unlike server-based applications, organizations do not need to run servers constantly. Uptime occurs when the serverless function is called to action. Serverless, owing to its design, enables a more dynamic model for computing, storage, and transmission capacity. It thereby frees up the IT administrators and operations pros to focus on elements such as refactoring, integrating microservices into the application architecture, building greater resilience, enhancing the security of the application, and other high-value work.
With worries of provisioning and managing infrastructure, hardware or backend services alleviated, developers can focus on delivering mission-critical applications at an accelerated pace.
Serverless and NoOps – an organic match
Serverless fits in organically as a NoOps driver also because CIO’s are constantly looking for avenues to keep business-critical technology systems while identifying ways to redirect human and financial assets from operation to innovation. As more of IT has become expressable as code, organizations can apply new architecture patterns and disciplines to remove dependencies between solutions and business outcomes using the Serverless approach.
However, Serverless and NoOps are not interchangeable terms. The ‘Ops’ here includes operational areas such as security, monitoring, management, or networking. We also need to remember that with the serverless model there are still servers but the functions of these servers are automated. Likewise, in NoOps, traditional operations such as code deployment, patching schedules, maintenance, etc. are automated to the extreme while still remaining internal responsibilities.
Serverless can thus be seen as an umbrella term that covers a wide spectrum of cloud-based options to help organizations best manage their server needs to enable speed, scalability, and agility. NoOps raises the level of abstraction around implementing releases and consequently allows developers more time to develop and test. Serverless enables this by helping maximize development and testing time by shrinking administrative, configuration, and deployment work.
As more organizations move towards cloud-native applications, flexibility and agility become enterprise essentials, development teams become distributed, and the enterprise becomes app-driven and dependent accelerating speed of development becomes essential. Deploying code in a serverless environment becomes more efficient as jobs can be scheduled on-demand by ensuring the data comes in on time and is available. These jobs can also be automated easily once the data is received making sure that the job runs only when the data exists and not when it is idle. Serverless also drives economies of scale by adding intelligence behind when and where jobs run, making sure that they can be scaled up or down fast and as economically as possible.
NoOps with serverless – An intelligent choice
NoOps with serverless is an intelligent choice in today’s software development world. We say ‘intelligent’ because this combination demands making intelligent choices to optimize the use of the organization’s resources – the hardware, the software, and the people. Doing this also gives organizations the capability to build error-tolerant, highly available applications with Elastic Load Balancing, Database Replication, Availability Zones, and Auto Scaling while using the most advanced security practices while working with sensitive data.
Given that organizations are going to look for ways to optimize resources in a budget-strapped economy, NoOps offers a new way of addressing an old problem of ‘how can we make our resources go further’. Transitioning to this serverless environment to drive NoOps looks almost inevitable especially as enterprise dependency on strong, secure, robust, and performance-oriented software products increases in enterprises everywhere.