Is DevOps The Same As Automation?



The short answer is No; but let's explain why. DevOps as a movement is really about one simple thing: breaking down the silos between your IT functions – predominantly Development and Operations in the widest sense. Like Agile, the community have come up with tools and practices that enable an organisation to break down the silos: Automation tools and Continuous practices.

From that perspective, DevOps as a methodology is not about automation, it is about achieving that level of collaboration across your core IT departments.

Now the question becomes, how do you achieve that level of collaboration? The answer is by providing a mechanism that establishes objective visibility across the process and removing redundant tasks. The best way to do that is by Automation. From that sense, automation is an enabler, but not the core of DevOps – a mean not an end.

DevOps is about more than just automation. You can use exactly the same automation tools we typically use when we implement DevOps (Sonar, Jenkins, Nexus, Go, Chef … etc.) to automate a waterfall process and it will not mean that you are practicing DevOps. For example, if you are using Jenkins for continuous integration, but you only run it once a month or after your development cycle is complete; what DevOps value is it bringing to you? Nothing, just build automation.

When you implement DevOps, tools are the most tangible aspect of DevOps and hence everyone tends to focus on them; however, once you install the tools, you need to get your developers and operations engineers to work together, to have common / shared objectives, to collaborate in a multi-disciplinary fashion.

You also need to look at your current team KPIs and leverage the tools to better report on your performance and show adherence to these KPIs and demonstrate to your stakeholders how you can align them to the overall organisation’s objectives.

There is much more to talk about in this space, so watch out for new posts on the subject.


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