CloudOps: The Latest Entrant to the “Ops” World

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I have realized that it comes to the world of software development, change is the only constant. Over the years, first as an individual and then as a manager, I have encountered a range of new tools and technologies to enhance the quality (and delivery) of software products. I tend to look at new technologies as a gateway to improving team productivity and enhancing existing processes. The touchstone is that they must translate into higher customer satisfaction in the long run. 

But even by those standards, over the last couple of years, the demand for high-quality products has been snowballing. Ensuring ever-rising availability, scalability, and security of software products while keeping operational costs to a minimum is not easy. 

As I keep exploring ways this could be done, the term “CloudOps” caught my attention. 

What exactly is CloudOps?

With the cloud offering tons of benefits for software developers, more and more teams have started building and hosting applications in the cloud. The inherent flexibility, scalability, availability, security, redundancy, and low-cost capabilities of the cloud have been the reason for widespread adoption. But there’s a change underway here too.

Ensuring that software applications operate without interruption requires organizations to create and curate processes and procedures that focus on continuous operation. This has led to the inception of CloudOps; a culmination of DevOps and traditional IT operations applied to a cloud-based architecture. 

A definition I found on LinkedIn calls CloudOps the “formalization of best practices and procedures that allow cloud-based platforms, applications, and associated data to function well over a long duration of time.” CloudOps deals with the management, delivery, and consumption of software in a cloud environment and uses principles of CI/CD for improved software development outcomes. It refines and optimizes business processes that run in the cloud and creates best practices for achieving high availability (and redundancy) of products.

This is obviously super relevant now. Our current circumstances have compelled all organizations to move to a 100% work from home model. That scenario is made for the Cloud given the ease of distributed access. CloudOps seems to be a natural fit for software organizations in that context as all developers and testers are remote. 

As organizations move to the cloud, CloudOps helps them meet the demand for highly redundant systems and zero downtime. By focusing on continuous operations and continuous improvement, CloudOps enables software development teams to build a set of best practice procedures, so they can update and place software into production – without interruption – while building the platform for zero downtime. 

How is it different from DevOps?

DevOps has been the default mode of product development for years now. By bridging the gap between development and operations teams, it improves communication, so software can be developed in a more collaborative manner. Using principles of CI/CD, it facilitates quicker development and delivery of software products, so demands for quality and speed can be easily met. 

While DevOps aims to improve enterprise-wide collaboration so software can be developed in a more efficient manner, CloudOps creates an agile process for the rapid delivery of software products. Like DevOps, CloudOps doesn’t eliminate the need for IT experts and software developers – it only brings them closer, so they can build stable, secure, and reliable products. 

DevOps, when combined with CloudOps, can not only improve the quality, availability, and reliability of applications and infrastructure but also improve how they are maintained and managed. Through best practices across continuous monitoring, CloudOps can help DevOps teams eliminate technical (and process) hurdles that stifle growth and innovation. 

What benefits does it bring?

The biggest advantage CloudOps brings to developers is its ability to expand capacity fast. Since the cloud enables self- or auto-provisioning of servers, it is ideal for products that need to scale over time. Since the cloud is infrastructure-agnostic, it can abstract the underlying infrastructure from platforms and applications and offer a good level of flexibility and latency. Also, the self-healing nature of the cloud ensures operational problems are fixed automatically – without affecting applications or the user experience.

Unlike in traditional on-premises organizations where development teams needed to manage and monitor network and server performance through a network operations center, CloudOps eliminates the need to maintain servers hosting applications. Teams only need to use the right monitoring and automation tools for managing the workloads that run in the cloud – while freeing up internal infrastructure. 

Using CloudOps, teams can ensure software operations remain up and running during system or software updates as well as during system failures – that would traditionally bring down on-premises systems. Through ongoing refinement of business processes and constant improvements, CloudOps aims to optimize the availability, flexibility, and efficiency of cloud services, so businesses can improve agility. It also helps accelerate the CI/CD pipeline and makes it easier for development teams to align products with customer needs. 

Conclusion 

While moving to the cloud is an important business decision in today’s fast-paced world, the ability of organizations to maintain efficiency in the cloud depends a lot upon operational procedures and operational excellence.  DevOps has now become synonymous with software development, offering a range of benefits across integration, collaboration, feedback, and time-to-market. CloudOps lays the groundwork for cloud-based platforms to function well over a long duration of time. 

As product development becomes even more distributed, I feel embracing CloudOps is a good way to automate tasks across the software development lifecycle and ensure applications are meeting availability, scalability, and quality standards.

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