The last article gave you a brief introduction to DevOps, and its similar concepts of NoOps, DevSecOps, and GitOps. There are other forms of the Ops family, but in the end, DevOps is more popular because it provides the most comprehensive way to improve your workflow, so it is widely used.

DevOps vs. ITOps

Next, we’ll take a closer look at ITOPS. Many developers see ITOps as a more traditional version of DevOps, but it’s actually more than that. ITOPS is very similar to DevOps in many ways. This approach treats software development and IT infrastructure management as a unified pipeline, and in addition, IT attempts to improve the pipeline and promote greater flexibility.

ITOPS differs from DevOps in how IT manages the IT infrastructure. This is where ITOPS are more traditional, as they are responsible for delivering and maintaining services, applications, and the underlying technologies necessary to run and maintain the business. ITOPS typically include systems administrator, network administrator, and help desk positions.

ITOPS focus more on stability and long-term reliability than on agility and speed. IT infrastructure is treated as the foundation of a successful pipeline, so IT is not surprising to see this approach seen as more rigorous when IT comes to infrastructure management. ITOPS best practices favor building infrastructure — including hardware — using reliable, highly tested commercial software and solutions, since ITOPS tends to focus on physical servers and networks. Often there is off-the-shelf commercial software or COTS in the ITOPS pipeline. The higher rigidity of this approach also means it is more difficult to update infrastructure components. Stability is a top priority in ITOPS, so it is not always possible to quickly change the configuration of the cloud and internal environment. However, ITOPS do work well for internal deployment of applications and services. This does not mean that ITOPS are obsolete. Some industries are heavily dependent on the long-term sustainability of ITOPS, such as banking and the financial sector in general. These industries do not always require rapid, abrupt change, which makes ITOPS a more logical approach to continuous delivery. One might think that DevOps cannot be implemented in these types of environments because they are not cloud-based. However, this is not the case. It is still possible to reduce WIP and storage capacity on bare metal servers.

DevOps vs. CloudOps

While ITOPS moves infrastructure to the more traditional side of the equation, CloudOPS does the opposite. Again, this approach is very similar to DevOps, but with a shift in focus in terms of infrastructure management. As the name suggests, Cloudops is trying to make more use of the cloud-native capabilities offered by modern service providers such as Amazon.

Cloudops has three main elements: distribution, statelessness, and scalability. Distributed development and deployment means there is no single point of failure. The overall cloud environment becomes more reliable and can maintain uptime. At the same time, at least in some parts of the workflow, the ability to be stateless is a huge advantage for cost efficiency. Since it is stateless, scalability is not an issue. You only pay for the resources you actually use and for how long you use them, so with a few tweaks, you can minimize the overhead costs associated with the cloud. Cloud native applications deployed using the CloudOPS approach tend to have good uptime and low latency. The level of automation now offered by cloud service providers amplifies these advantages. However, this approach requires fully automated resource allocation, which can mean added complexity in configuring the CI/CD pipeline. In order to take full advantage of Cloudops, you must configure it correctly to take full advantage of Cloudops.

DevOps vs. CIOps

Continuous integration operations (CIOPS) are the last branch on our list. CIOPS requires the CI operator or administrator to configure the IT infrastructure needed to support the new code before proceeding with deployment. CI systems are designed to run builds and tests, and then deployed at different levels of complexity depending on the complexity of the pipeline. CIOPS has both advantages and disadvantages because manual input is still required (to ensure that each CI job is configured correctly to deploy to the correct location). The main advantage is fine-grained control over the infrastructure itself. Unlike predefined parameters in methods such as GITOPS, the two deployments can have different infrastructure configurations. Manually configuring the cloud environment and resource configuration makes CIOPS more suitable for smaller developments; Automation is a nuisance rather than a useful tool in development projects. This is why CIOPS are often found in smaller projects with simpler cloud infrastructures. Manually configuring the cloud environment and resource configuration makes CIOPS more suitable for smaller developments; Automation is a nuisance rather than a useful tool in development projects. This is why CIOPS are often found in smaller projects with simpler cloud infrastructures. However, the main drawback here is that the artificial concept of the system increases the risk of human error. You also need to provide the CI tool of your choice for the API (Travis CI and Circleci are popular), which is a big security risk. Compared to DevOps, CIOPS also lacks a comprehensive audit trail and additional flexibility. This approach focuses on CI rather than CI/CD, so it does not always cover the entire process. While it gives developers some flexibility in configuring the cloud infrastructure, it takes a lot of effort to run CIOPS smoothly over an extended period of time.

Why DevOps?

As you can see, DevOps has multiple branches and subsets, all of which are based on unique approaches and interesting ideas. Any of the methods discussed can be very useful in order to speed up your CI/CD cycle. The choice between the two is to find the approach that works best for the application you are developing and the cloud infrastructure you are using. That said, DevOps still offers the most comprehensive way to improve your workflow because it addresses both technical processes while adopting cultural improvements. Both are equally important in a successful transition. These approaches tend to focus only on the technical side, and some even focus on specific platforms, ways of managing the infrastructure, or specific tools. Ultimately, this is why DevOps is still the most widely implemented of all approaches. This is a time-tested method for creating an efficient and technologically improved CI/CD pipeline while supporting an innovative and collaborative environment.