What is CloudOps vs. DevOps?

Brad Griffith May 06, 2019

DevOps Monitoring & Alerting
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As more teams build and host applications and infrastructure in the cloud, the term CloudOps has gained traction. IT operations professionals have always been responsible for the monitoring, maintenance and installation of servers, networks and other IT infrastructure. But, third-party cloud vendors like AWS, GCP and Azure are changing the way Ops teams need to operate their services. First came the DevOps movement – but now, many teams are focusing on CloudOps as well.

So, we decided to define the two terms and break down the differences and similarities between CloudOps and DevOps. While there’s a ton of overlap between the methodologies of DevOps and CloudOps, it’s important to understand the distinction between the two when speaking with others.

First, let’s define CloudOps and figure out how it applies to software developers and IT teams everywhere.

What is CloudOps?

According to LinkedIn, CloudOps is short for “cloud operations.” And, CloudOps is the “formalization of best practices and procedures that allow cloud-based platforms, and applications and data that live there, to function well over a long duration of time.”

CloudOps is essentially a culmination of DevOps and traditional IT operations applied to a cloud-based architecture. Most organizations previous to cloud computing and storage would maintain a network operations center (NOC). The NOC was a physical location where IT professionals could manage and monitor network and server performance.

Now, many teams are building services where they never have to touch the servers hosting their service. But, this doesn’t eliminate the need for operations – it just means alerting and monitoring needs to be cloud-optimized. Software developers, IT operations and security teams still need to collaborate closely when delivering new services or responding to incidents in production.

Therefore, CloudOps isn’t exclusive to DevOps practices. So, let’s go over some of the core tenets of DevOps, define the methodology and see how DevOps and CloudOps can work together.

What is DevOps?

DevOps is a methodology for building an agile, collaborative relationship between development and IT operations. DevOps is all about the continuous improvement of people, processes and tools to drive efficiency and collaboration across the entire organization. With better collaboration comes better visibility across the entire software delivery lifecycle. Then, with greater visibility into the SDLC, you have deeper visibility into the incident lifecycle.

As you can see, DevOps creates a cascading effect of operational improvement. Through small tweaks to people, processes and tools across the entire product development and deployment lifecycle, you bring reliable services to market faster. Whether your services are cloud-based or on-premises, you can always find ways to improve. DevOps implementation should always be human-focused – it’s all about finding ways to make the lives of your people easier.

Now that we’ve defined CloudOps and DevOps, let’s look at how they overlap and the value that CloudOps can provide to DevOps teams.

Accelerating Feedback Loops

What does CloudOps offer DevOps teams?

Contrary to traditional IT infrastructure and NOC-based org structures, DevOps creates an agile process for the rapid delivery of reliable services. It doesn’t eliminate the need for IT experts and software developers – it just brings them closer. And, with containers, complex microservices and serverless functions becoming more commonplace, teams need to find ways to move faster without compromising stability and security.

This is where CloudOps and cloud computing can offer speed, security and operational efficiency for DevOps teams. Cloud-based platforms are:

  • Distributed, stateless and scalable

Capacity planning and asset management becomes virtualized. You can quickly spin up new servers or remove unnecessary storage. You can set rules to auto-provision servers in order to keep up with demand and maintain uptime. Also, CloudOps helps you monitor key performance metrics and quickly act from anywhere – increasing the flexibility and scalability of the underlying applications and infrastructure.

  • Fault and latency tolerant

Because of the flexibility and scalability of cloud services, cloud-based applications and infrastructure are less prone to latency and error. Because cloud-centric applications and services can abstract themselves from the underlying infrastructure, your system becomes more tolerant to error. Basically, cloud-based tools can make your services more performant.

  • Data redundant

In CloudOps, your data is much more protected from failures. Cloud-based environments provide tons of opportunity for data storage in multiple physical and logical locations – offering more failover options and protection from data loss. Data is stored in different locations and can be stored in multiple different ways, helping you remove single points of failure – leading to fewer dependencies and a more resilient data pipeline.

  • Automated

You can create more robust self-healing systems and implement more automation across every part of the SDLC. By using IaC (Infrastructure-as-code), you can program more automated functions and use your infrastructure to perform commands and tasks based on monitoring thresholds and other key performance metrics.

  • Active-active

Active-active cloud networks allow teams to use multiple independent processing nodes where each node can access data from a number of replicated databases for a single application. This allows services to experience less downtime or outages because your application can likely pull the data it needs from a different source in case a server goes down.

Continuous improvement is a must

CloudOps can offer a ton of advantages from a technical lense. But, when paired with DevOps, you’re not only improving the underlying technology of your applications and infrastructure, but you’re also improving the processes and people maintaining the services. Continuous monitoring and improvement is a requirement for any team looking to constantly deliver customer value – whether their service is cloud-based or not.

Combining DevOps ideals with technical improvements in CloudOps will lead to a faster CI/CD pipeline that’s more in-tune with customer asks. Don’t think about the question as CloudOps vs. DevOps – think of how the two concepts can come together.

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