NoOps, short for no operations, is an IT environment where many of the functions needed to manage, optimize and secure IT services and applications are automated, abstract and/or performed by someone other than a traditional centralized unit of operation. NoOps is a broadly defined concept, with different vendors, analysts and customers using it to describe the different levels of automation, the IT components to which it can be applied, and which the unit is assigned to the functions of IT operations.
For Paul Nashawaty, senior analyst at Enterprise Strategy Group, NoOps refers to “full automation and abstracting the infrastructure layer, making it invisible and effectively eliminating the need for an operations and infrastructure team to manage it. In general, you won’t need any human investment to manage the underlying infrastructure because it’s fully automated, with tedious tasks that can be effectively eliminated. ”Nashawaty estimates that only about 10% of organizations have reached that level this of full automation.
NoOps can mean transferring IT operations responsibility to an internal development or DevOps group, or to an external service provider such as a public cloud vendor, says Roy Illsley, chief IT ecosystem analyst. and operations with market researcher Omdia.
However, that model means “you still have an ops department,” Nashawaty said. “It’s just outsourced to a cloud provider.” He prefers to think of NoOps as “a self-service model where citizen developers, the business unit, can provide the resources they need without having to go through an operations department.” Such uncertainties make NoOps a controversial term that could trigger anger or resistance from operations professionals who fear their jobs could be put at risk.
NoOps can be thought of as the latest result of policy -based automation achieved through initiatives focused on other parts of the IT infrastructure, such as DataOps, AIOps and DevSecOps. While some customers or vendors say this has been more than achieved, others argue that true NoOps – a fully automated IT environment that does not require human participation – is impossible or undesirable.
Others say NoOps could mean reducing the role of a central IT team, giving more of those responsibilities to local business units or product groups that handle operations. IT includes developing and securing the applications and services that matter most to them.
How Does NoOps Work?
NoOps relies on automated, policy-based processes triggered by IT or business events to ensure that applications and services run most efficiently, effectively and securely at the lowest possible cost.
Creating a highly automated IT infrastructure “encompasses microservices, APIs in all flavors of infrastructure, and automation built into all of them,” Forrester said. Using infrastructure as code (through tools such as scripts that automate system configuration and management) blurs the line between application and infrastructure. This may also include automatic self -healing of the application environment.
NoOps should incorporate DevOps principles such as making changes in small, frequent increments rather than assembling changes to be implemented in a fixed change window and limiting access to command lines that allow to people who possibly misconfigure systems, Forrester recommends. It also recommends testing, measuring frequently to optimize IT infrastructure components and avoiding custom system configurations that are difficult to automate.
In addition, Forrester recommends pairing sense-and-adapt automation with advanced analytics to quickly identify failures as well as tracking the results of automated actions and changing them when needed. “The last thing you want to do is fire up some unproven automation technology and forget about it,” Forrester said. Observe its actions and results and “[u]check out this feedback to improve the system. ”
What are the Benefits of NoOps?
To any extent it is implemented, NoOps not only reduces IT management costs, but allows the business to respond more quickly and effectively to changing needs by delivering new applications and services to the market. fast and efficient. Automating or outsourcing routine IT operations tasks can free up scarce and expensive staff to handle higher-value activities such as developing new applications and services.
Increased flexibility for IT staff is one of the top benefits of NoOps and is reflected in procurement patterns, Nashawaty said. A recent ESG survey showed that next year, more than two-thirds of respondents plan to hire IT generalists who are available to meet different business needs than specialists in specific areas of IT.
What are the Disadvantages of NoOps?
Among the barriers to more fully automated IT management required for NoOps, according to the Forrester Research report in 2021, are the corporate cultures that encourage the risks associated with new automated management technologies and the failure of previous attempts to change IT processes.
Businesses can also fail by automating incorrect processes and “mass producing” errors by creating incorrect scripts that control the configuration of hundreds or thousands of servers or other part of the infrastructure, the Forrester report says.
“If you have the wrong rules in place for AI, you can introduce errors into your automation,” Nashawaty says. “If you’re using machine learning, if you’re using AI to manage operations without human intervention,” the business has no ability to see how those rules apply or if they might need to be adjusted.
Some fears of unemployment caused by NoOps may be justified. Forrester predicts that one-third of today’s infrastructure and operations (I&O) jobs will be lost, with one-third of staff now being “enthusiastic advocates for change. [who] will happily develop and automate themselves into new and better jobs, ”a second group will wait and see what the fare will be in the first group, and a third group who will not learn the new skills needed for a NoOps environment or refuse to change and leave the organization.
“The big drawback is that when you lose these skills, you probably won’t be able to get them back,” says Illsley, who argues that instead of trying to eliminate IT functionality, consider it as an inevitable expense to doing business even does not differentiate a business from its competitors.
What are Examples of NoOps Tools?
Almost any IT management, monitoring or automation technology can be considered an example of NoOps. Among the tools needed for NoOps, Nashawaty says, are those that provide version control for code; management and orchestration for containers, cloud platforms and microservices; monitoring application performance; and automation of infrastructure configuration and testing.
Products often cited by analysts include:
- Automate by Progress Software Chef, which the company says provides enterprise dashboards and analytics, “enables cross-team collaboration with actionable insights for configuration and compliance and an audible history of changes in environments.” Chef Automate displays data from the Chef to provide observability in configuration, security and compliance.
- Digital workflow tools such as those from ServiceNow that help actively identify potential problems, and automatically resolve them or refer them (along with the information needed to resolve them) to the appropriate staff. ServiceNow’s drag-and-drop interface allows businesses to automate everything from solving password problems to running configuration scripts.
- Puppet Enterprise, enabling system administrators to automate repetitive tasks, continuously provide new systems, quickly deploy critical applications, and proactively and repeatedly manage infrastructure . It supports multiple operating systems and cloud environments and provides auto-remediation of application components to their desired state.
- Ansible of Red Hat automation platform, which contains open-source software provisioning, configuration and deployment tools that work with monitoring, observability and workflow platforms to automate IT operations. Red Hat says Ansible can manage physical, software-defined networks as well as cloud-based networks; manage and automate Kubernetes clusters and measure containerized applications; fix security systems; and provide cloud-based instances, networks and infrastructure.
- VMware’s vRealize Automation SaltStack Config, which automates and organizes infrastructure optimization and security. It can “create simple, human-readable infrastructure as code,” configure and control operating systems, and automatically implement desired states, according to VMware.
- Ang Dynatrace Software Intelligence Platform, providing capabilities from infrastructure monitoring to cloud automation to run-time vulnerability identification. It claims to provide not only metrics, logs and traces, but also a full topological model, code-level detail, and user experience and behavior data.
If the “total NoOps” ideal is achievable or even desirable, implementing NoOps principles and tools will allow you to focus more on your business and your customers than your infrastructure. of IT, and to measure the speed and delivery of new applications and services to meet evolving business needs.
“While many I&O professionals insist on the idea that operations can one day be automated without anyone needing them,” Forrester said, even in fully automated environments “someone should be manage resources, model configurations and optimize “infrastructure as code.