The IT sector, like all specialized industries, has developed language shorthand and words to make communication easier. Everyone is expected to know what they mean so that conversations and writing can quickly get to substantive issues to save everyone’s time. We all know about the derided three-letter acronym or TLA within the IT sector!
Another class of words that have proliferated in the last decade are portmanteaus. These are made up of parts of other words blended to create a new one that expresses some combination of the originals. General examples in English include smog (made from smoke and fog) and brunch (from breakfast and lunch).
The need to integrate software development teams and IT operations to streamline the creation, testing, and deployment of applications led to one of the most well know IT portmanteau words: DevOps (made from Development and Operations). This has been a common term in IT circles since 2007. Over the last few years, we have seen an increase in portmanteau terms to describe other IT activities that happen across teams, or that get done using various technologies combined to give the required results.
All of these new terms invariably have Ops in them and are inspired by DevOps. Sometimes it can be hard to keep up with them all, and some of the terms can be quite nebulous and have significant overlap with other Ops terms. The terms used within organizations to mean the same operations can vary quite a lot. Below we present a high-level list and short description of the most common ones in use. It is not an exhaustive list!
DevOps (Development and Operations)
DevOps is the practice that aims to erode the barriers between development and operations teams. So that they work as a single unit with the goal of designing, developing, deploying, and supporting software applications within organizations. Members of DevOps teams become multi-skilled so that they can perform functions both within development and operations, plus in other areas.
DevSecOps (Development, Security, and Operations)
DevSecOps grew out of DevOps due to the realization that security was core to everything in IT and application delivery. Security needed to be thought about and designed into all application development, and infrastructure designs to host applications from the start. Rather than bolted on later. So core security experts became part of the team.
ITOps (Information Technology Operations)
TechOps (Technology Operations)
These two terms get used interchangeably. ITOps is mostly used to describe the IT functions performed outside of application development and management. Tasks that fall into most ITOps definitions are related to network infrastructure & security, remote access provision, server management, device provision & management, help desk, and data integrity via backups plus similar activities.
NetOps (Network Operations)
NetOps looks to bring the network operations teams together with other groups to ensure that the correct information is fed into network operations and planning. This is to ensure that the network can support the plans for data use, application deployments, and device mix that will be needed to drive an organizations business forward. NetOps is often incorporated into broader DevOps groups. But sometimes it is such an important component it gets handled separately.
SecOps (Security Operations)
SecOps looks to combine security experts with ITOps or NetOps teams to ensure that security is core to all decisions and plans. Like all Ops groupings, it aims to automate security to reduce overhead and the risks of not implementing proper security processes. In many organizations SecOps is part of DevSecOps. The particular structure of the business in question will determine if SecOps is managed as a separate entity.
DataOps (Data Operations)
The large amounts of data produced today is an essential resource across all industries and government sectors. Techniques to use all this data to provide better products and services are driving the update of data science and machine learning (see below). This data has to be used in conjunction with applications that allow decision-makers to extract insights promptly. DataOps is an emerging field that combines data science with DevOps (and other Ops areas) to efficiently and securely obtain information from data.
AIOps (Artificial Intelligence Operations)
MLOps (Machine Learning Operations)
The primary way that information is extracted from the vast amounts of data generated today is via artificial intelligence techniques. Mostly by machine learning processes. AIOps and MLOps are methodologies that look to integrate the mining of large data sets, and other AI techniques, into the day-to-day operations across groups in DevOps and DevSecOps teams.
ChatOps (Chatbot Operations)
There is a global trend in organizations towards using chatbots to provide services to clients. These chatbots are often backed by machine learning based algorithms or expert systems that have hardcoded business intelligence. The chatbot systems try to handle queries completely, but if they can’t they pass the requests on to human operators in call centers. The infrastructure to provide a global chatbot and call center infrastructure is complex. The field of ChatOps is emerging to provide best practices and solutions to deliver chatbot infrastructure.
NoOps (No Operations)
NoOps is the ultimate goal for IT operations. NoOps looks to automate everything related to IT work so that no operations team input is needed at all! From development workflows to security checking code, to testing, deployment, system monitoring, updating, and issues response. All would be automated and expected to function without human intervention. Many people see this as an impossible task. But certainly, the idea of automating everything that can be automated is a worthy goal.
Ops in Technology
All of the different Ops can be daunting and confusing. By focusing on your business goals, you can decide and pick the versions of X-Ops that make sense for your organization. Accordingly, pick the technologies and solutions that can help enable your Ops journey.
Load balancing is a key technology to incorporate agility and elasticity into your application networking architectures. Kemp, for example, has embraced the DevOps community with enhanced tools for integration and analytics that can support your X-Ops journey.