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Is Managed Services killing DevOps?



By Ashu Kajekar, Founder & CEO, 7EDGE

Are Managed Services undermining the importance of DevOps in an organisation? As far as 2017 is concerned, the argument goes on. But to really understand whether DevOps is being shown the door by Managed Services, one needs to examine the role played by the two at a finer level.

DevOps (“software DEVelopment” and “Information Technology OPerationS”) is the practice of continuous software delivery where operations and development engineers participate together in the entire service lifecycle, from design through the development process to production support. Simply put, DevOps is the organizing principle that helps Development and IT Operations communicate and collaborate better on continuous software development to build, deploy and deliver software faster through the automation of redundant tasks, thereby reducing the need for human intervention.
On the contrary, Managed Services is the proactive management of IT (Information Technology) operations, by a third party typically known as a Managed Services Provider (MSP), on behalf of a customer. The Managed service provider assumes an ongoing responsibility for 24-hour monitoring, managing and/or problem resolution for the IT systems within a business. Managed Services include running applications, databases, data recovery and backup, network management, storage, security, and monitoring.

There is no doubt that DevOps is at the core of every organisation. For instance, DevOps adds to the stability and reliability of the delivered software products by reducing human errors through automation of redundant tasks. It helps identify issues, which can be resolved quickly due to faster release cycles. DevOps engineers exploit real-time data into the performance of their systems to quickly understand the impact of application changes. It provides more stable operating environments; improved communication and collaboration and offers more time to innovate rather than fix and maintain.
The average complexity of the product developed today by organisations has increased manifold. This complexity has brought the need for Managed Services that ease the orchestration aspects for complex products. While businesses no longer need in-house teams and infrastructure, robust and resilient cloud architecture provides high availability of infrastructure.

However, having said that DevOps and Managed Services are complementary in nature. Both have critical roles to play in the lifecycle of software and businesses. Previously the culture was to have an in-house infrastructure for development, but it is fading away with the advent of cloud-based Managed Services. But DevOps and Managed Services still go together because correctly orchestrating Managed Services, automating services consumption and self-services discovery are a part of DevOps. Also, managing an AWS infrastructure requires specialized teams and cannot be done by developers alone, between development tasks. Once an organisation builds its application, DevOps becomes an integral part of the application development, integration, deployment, and management process. So, there is no denying the fact that DevOps has lost relevance with the advent of Managed Services.

Although the advent of Managed Services has certainly eased off the need for sysadmins, DevOps is the core organizing principle that permeates Managed Services. DevOps is a culture that is inherent to application development because it reduces the need for human intervention for redundant tasks. It frees up your human assets to focus on more critical tasks. DevOps and Managed Services share a symbiotic relationship that will continue to grow in the foreseeable future.

We are of the view that organisations necessarily need not arrive at a conclusion that the era of DevOps is over with the arrival of Managed Services. In fact, the two are complementary and collaborative in nature.

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