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Are PaaS and "NoOps" Inevitable for Most Software Companies?

· DevOps Zone

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I usually dislike all of those prediction posts that keep saying this year or next year is the year that 'x' technology is going to go mainstream.

Although those prediction posts tend to annoying because they often turn out to be wrong with inconclusive evidence to back up the prophecy, the new 'NoOps in 2013' infographic from AppFog does bring up other interesting ideas related to the prediction.  DevOps followers ought to take a look.

PaaS to go mainstream in 2013?

Developers still tend to want more control over their stack and many dislike the proscriptive nature of PaaS providers like Cloud Foundry, Heroku, OpenShift, etc.  They would rather have the freedom and control of using various ALM tools (testing, CI, build tools, and puppet/chef-style CM tools) in their own way rather than having it bundled for them in one service, in many cases.  

However, the creators of a new infographic at AppFog think that by 2013 PaaS will get the formula right and developers will warm up to the fuzzy features that make it convenient to build and deploy apps.

NoOps in 2013

If you've taken a look at the infographic at this point, you'll see that it's really pushing this PaaS/NoOps scenario on us in 2013.  It's quite possible it's true.  I think for some companies it will work, especially startups or companies looking to create and deploy simple software.  For some companies, the increase in productivity will be too good to pass up.  In the best case, developers will spend almost no time dealing with provisioning, security, middleware management, and network management.  Theoretically you won't need operations (hence "NoOps").

But you're still going to have the argument that there will be productivity tradeoffs elsewhere under a PaaS lifecycle.  Not to mention flexibility tradeoffs, but that's the price you pay when you're deploying bits of your application to multiple pieces of various servers that are filled to capacity.  You need the proscriptive rules built into a PaaS to account for that.  I will however say that some PaaS providers are getting smart about APIs.  They make it so you don't need to write to special APIs to create a cloud-ready application.  If you build an application sensibly, it will be ready by default.  It depends a lot on whether the PaaS provides an unconstrained variety of APIs.

My Prediction, and Yours

My personal prediction is that SysAdmins and those with skills on both sides of Dev and Ops will still have plenty of organizations where they are needed.  This "NoOps" scenario will work for a growing number of IT organizations with the right combination of needs and use cases, but I think the constant battle between granular control and abstraction may keep NoOps from ever becoming a dominant style in the IT world.  

Maybe I'm completely wrong, but predictions turn out that way often.  

Is PaaS an inevitability for your organization?

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