- Posted by admin
- On October 25, 2018
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DevOps vs WebOps
Post by our Head of Devops Rob Lazzurs
Every so often I will get the question “What is the difference between WebOps and DevOps anyway?” So I decided to write this. You might even have been silly enough to try and converse with me and ask this question thinking I might be willing to share some of my knowledge and experience with you and in turn you would get to know me better. Well as I do with things I automated that by writing this.
First off to understand the difference we need to know what the two things we are comparing are. For DevOps I figured a good place to start was Patrick Debois and his post http://www.jedi.be/blog/2010/02/12/what-is-this-devops-thing-anyway/
Patrick Debois stated there that DevOps is not a single person or a single role. He continues through the post to describe DevOps as a movement and I agree with this. I see DevOps as a way of working together to meet the needs of your users. Through working together, sharing, empathy, good humour and hard work people who practice DevOps, people who cross boundaries and question assumptions to meet the needs of users are the people who do DevOps. Any of these people may have a different specialism and title. No one is a DevOps engineer unless you mean someone who is coming in to help engineer your team and its ways of working into DevOps patterns.
Ok so now we have a shared understanding of DevOps. Great but no where in that blog post from 2010 was the term “WebOps” mentioned anywhere. Well there was a very similar role mentioned called “sysadmin”, let me explain why the term has changed.
Most of the environments I work in today are what a lot of people would think of as Enterprises. We have Enterprise Software, Enterprise Architects and even Enterprise Hosting. There is so much Enterprise around you would think we were all on one great ship called Enterprise. Sadly not. If I was to look back kindly what all those Enterprise prefixes were meant to mean was that the Enterprise thing you were getting was solid, stable and robust. You could bet the business on it and win. Sadly what this often really meant was expensive, over engineered and so inflexible you would need a team of top engineers to do anything with it. Oh how times have changed.
This is where WebOps comes in. We should no longer think of anything being at Enterprise scale. The reality of the problems we face today are Web scale. An Enterprise is a single unit like a company or a government department so when we make something Enterprise scale it has to fit the needs within the context of that unit. Modern systems need to meet both the needs of your organisation and its users. As both the people within your unit and your users have to interact to meet your shared goals your systems need to cope with a different scale and a different problem. No longer are your computer systems something hidden in the back office they are now your store front, they are your office and in reality they are the foundation of your business.
WebOps engineers are people who work to create systems at Web scale. They help your team use techniques and tools like configuration management, continuous delivery and zero downtime deployments to create systems that are easy to update and change to meet the changing needs of your users and are able to cope with demand even when the whole country comes flooding into your small government departments service because of a Twitter storm after the nine o’clock news.
The term WebOps is about changing the language to drive the change in thinking. We are not running Enterprise systems that can be shutdown for maintenance when everyone goes home for the evening. We are running services that anyone can use at a time that works for them.
A lot of the time I am asked this question it is because people are trying to recruit the right people for their business. They know they need someone that understands their team as well as they understand the internet and how to keep services running on it. They know they need automation but don’t know the name for it. This is not a bad position to be in as at least you know what you need and the name is not all that important. While it might be easier if more people understood the difference between WebOps and DevOps I don’t really care as long as they keep wanting to build teams that work together to meet user needs.
Now you should have a basic understanding of both WebOps and DevOps or at least my views.
I have recently joined a new team at Scrumconnect where we like to have these conversations. We love seeing the joy that is created in teams when they adopt DevOps ways of working, when they use Agile to increase the pace of change while decreasing the risk and we skip on rainbows when their users are delighted with the change. So maybe this post is not the automation of the conversation but just the beginning?