Does DevOps for operations mean learning how to code?

What do operations folks need to know before they dive into DevOps? Automation is the key to a responsive environment, and users are your guiding light.

Developers get told all the time to join the DevOps revolution but what about DevOps for operations admins? Do ops staffers need to become developers to do DevOps, and what does going DevOps even mean?

You don't have to write code to be part of DevOps. The term is as clear as going cloud, such that people have broad ideas about what DevOps is. It's more important, though, to understand how your organization works and how you can carry out IT operations in a DevOps environment -- or, at least, one headed toward DevOps.

Automation helps you change fast

Automation is a main feature of the DevOps mentality, but it's done in a way that is also flexible. This can entail the automation of tasks to create, manage and deprovision anything that's provided as a service, or it could be the expectation that deployed software will change frequently. You must expect change and then adapt quickly.

You must expect change and then adapt quickly.

If you can't adjust fast enough in some areas, understand your limitations. Maybe you can work around them or figure out ways to overcome them. Part of your role in DevOps is to understand the operations environment and to keep it healthy.

The operations team should know when and how something has changed. You should have access to that information -- not learn about it as the result of an outage.

Let users be your lighthouse

You don't actually need developers to do DevOps. But, if you do have them, the operations team must work with them. You need to understand what they're doing and when they're doing it from an operational standpoint.

DevOps for product design and infrastructure operations
DevOps combines product design and infrastructure automation through various tools.

Consider how your actions will affect users. Users are a key indicator for whether you're doing DevOps well. Are you able to rapidly change? How are problems handled? Things will go wrong, but a benefit of DevOps for operations is the delivery process is designed to enable admins to roll back and fix issues as quickly and easily as possible. If a bad patch goes out, it shouldn't take days to reverse course or patch the patch. The priority should always be user uptime so that people can get on with their jobs.

It's not difficult to get into a DevOps mindset. Many operations admins already strive for a lot of these processes. DevOps recognizes that the bigger picture includes more than pure ops or pure dev, and groups need to come together to make this big machine run more smoothly.

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