Shifting It’s Focus from Operations to Outcomes With NoOps


The automation of cloud computing has resulted in a NoOps environment where software-defined hardware is provisioned to set talent free and transition into new roles to help drive business outcomes

The evolution of cloud computing has reached the stage where technical resources can be completely distant from the underlying system infrastructure or the enabling tooling. Cloud providers continue to climb the stack, reached through their own focus on hyper-automation and are taking on many-core systems administration tasks that include patching, database management, and backup and among others.

The capabilities together create a NoOps environment. Going ahead, serverless computing, security management and traditional infrastructure can be fully automated by cloud providers or even solution development teams. When freed from server management responsibilities, the operations talent can transition into new roles like computing farm engineers that help drive business outcomes.

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The CIO’s responsibility has always been of keeping business-critical technology systems running, which has absorbed almost 70% of IT budget and a considerable amount of labor bandwidth. With cheaper storage and cloud services, supported by outsourcing, the budgetary outlays can be lowered by 20% and more. Yet, due to tight IT budgets, CIO top goal always remained to find ways to redirect the human resources and financial and assets from operations to innovation.

Experts have observed an increasing trend where CIOs are shifting to serverless computing to take their automation efforts to the next level. Cloud Foundry recently conducted a global survey of 600 IT decision-makers, which found that 19% of leaders were already using serverless computing and 42% were planning to evaluate the services within the next 24 months.

A MarketsandMarkets study projected the value of the serverless architecture market to be at $14.93 billion by 2023, from US$4.25 billion in 2018. The goal of achieving pure NoOps environments might take several years, but experts have started to observe the transitions across industries.

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The potential benefits of serverless model include:

  • Higher growth opportunity: NoOps provides infinite scalability and high availability to develop depending on user traffic.
  • Complete outsourcing of operational efforts: With NoOps operational tasks like debugging and infrastructure management, that typically remain in-house, is fully outsourced.
  • Reduced costs: In a serverless computing model, users pay for the number of functions executed and the duration of execution of a function, which eliminates any idle time.

According to the 2018 Deloitte global CIO survey, ‘process automation and transformation’ was the primary focus of digital agendas for 69% of respondents.  Serverless is likely to become a key technology that CIOs use to automate the deployment, maintenance, scale, and monitoring of applications.

Cloud providers can understand the investments of companies in serverless computing and must embrace the broader NoOps trend that supports their short- and long-term digital transformation agendas.

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While all sounds good in theory, experts believe that NoOps cannot be quickly achieved as it requires multiple technologies and a reworking of IT processes. It would also include workflows where automation, AI and ML are sophisticated enough to remove higher-level tasks that workers handle. Many industry leaders also consider NoOps an aspirational notion and not a practical endpoint.

Currently, several major cloud providers like Amazon, Google, Microsoft, Alibaba, IBM, are Oracle are offering serverless platforms which can help users move closer to a NoOps state.

The transition from legacy internal servers to cloud-based compute, memory and storage has not happened overnight, nor is it without it’s unique challenges. But as more CIOs discover this as an opportunity, they are happy to change IT from being reactive to proactive.

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Meeta Ramnani is the Senior Editor with OnDot Media. She writes about technologies including AI, IoT, Cloud, Big Data, Blockchain across various industries with a focus on Digital Transformation. An avid bike rider, Meeta, is a postgraduate from Indian Institute of Journalism and New Media (IIJNM) Bangalore, where her specialization was Business Journalism. She carries four years of experience in mainstream print media where she worked as a correspondent with The Times Group and Sakal Media Group in Pune.