How modern DevOps practices are changing the operations role

Oct 19, 2022 · 3 min read · Leave a comment
Valerie Silverthorne GitLab profile

Remember NoOps, the idea that automation would eliminate the operations role completely? Fast forward a few years and the idea of NoOps today seems almost laughable. In today’s modern DevOps teams it’s safe to say it’s really “AlltheOps,” at least based on the results of our 2022 Global DevSecOps Survey.

An expanding role

No DevOps job is static, but ops pros are experiencing truly dramatic changes to their work lives. In fact, ops pros reported seven areas of responsibility now added to their plates thanks to modern DevOps practices:

Managing the cloud and hardware/infrastructure were the two tasks most frequently named, and they were split nearly evenly down the middle, with roughly 50% of ops pros focusing on one or the other task primarily. Another area – maintaining the toolchain – is apparently now a job shared with developers, as devs also told us they were spending more time on toolchain maintenance and integration than ever before. That’s not surprising: 44% of teams reported they use between two and five tools, while 41% use between six and 10 tools. That’s a lot of tools, which is clearly one reason for the added ops support.

Compliance and audits are another “new to Ops” area of focus, and this added emphasis comes at a time when organizations everywhere are trying to avoid security breaches with an increased focus on compliance. It’s a time-consuming process: The majority of ops pros told us they spend between one-quarter and half their time on audits and compliance, a 15% increase since 2021. Almost 25% of ops pros spend between half and three-quarters of their time on these tasks.

Keeping the balls in the air

The rising use of DevOps platforms (75% of our respondents said their organizations already use a DevOps platform or plan to add one this year) is driving operations team members toward platform engineering. Operations pros are also doubling down on tasks that were likely more informal in the past: DevOps coaching and responsibility for automation. The focus on automation is clearly paying off: In 2022, just shy of 25% of ops pros said their modern DevOps practices were fully automated, up 5 points from 2021 and nearly 17 points from 2020. All told, 68% of ops pros said their DevOps teams were “completely” or “mostly” automated.

And while ops is adding new responsibilities thanks to modern DevOps, developers are picking up tasks that have traditionally belonged to operations:

The role-swapping doesn't stop there: Nearly 50% of ops pros said they're solely responsible for security on their DevOps teams, up 20% from last year. To put that into perspective, 53% of security respondents told us they felt security was everyone's responsiblity.

Ops, modern DevOps, and TMI

Ops pros’ new roles have created some surprising by-products, namely loads of data that teams aren’t necessarily set up to manage effectively. In fact, many of today’s operations teams have a “too much information” problem. A full 39% of ops pros said the DevOps data they need exists but accessing and managing it is difficult. Another 27% said they’re “overwhelmed” by the amount and scope of the data while 14% don’t know what data they need or say their organizations don’t track it. Less than 20% of ops pros say they have the data they need and it’s easy to work with.

How do you see the ops role changing in the modern DevOps world? Let us know in the comments.

“Is your team experiencing AlltheOps? If so, it's down to modern DevOps practices. Here's a look at how the ops role is changing.” – Valerie Silverthorne

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