Will NoOps Lead to DevOps?

March 6 2012 | By | in Unified Monitoring

Oddly, this recent push to recognize NoOps as a methodology separate from DevOps may end up bringing down the long-term divide between operations and development in a way that DevOps, as a movement at least, has failed to do so far.

I sense it’s because the developers are finally joining in on the conversation. “DevOps has been capital ops and lower-case dev, and it’s partially been because you don’t have a lot of developer tool guys chiming in on the discussions yet,” Dave Rosenberg, CEO of Nodeable, told me just before the GigaOM article Why 2013 is the year of ‘NoOps’ for programmers started gaining traction and Twitter hashtags.

Although the aforementioned NoOps piece brought out a lot of passion and even hostility among ops people, the subsequent conversations have been considered and thoughtful.[1]

Shortly after that article was posted, John Allspaw, vice president of technical operations at Etsy, tweeted:

“NoOps” beats “cloud”, “agile”, and “SOPA” as the dumbest marketing term ever coined in my field.

Lucas Carlson of AppFog responded to Allspaw’s and other tweets with a followup post on his company’s blog, concluding:

Ops guys despise the term NoOps and will try to drag it through the mud. There is no need. NoOps is not the antithesis of ops. NoOps is simply recognizing inefficiencies for developers and optimiz[ing] around it.

The comments that follow this post are, on the whole, pretty great. Actual discussion ensues! Allspaw writes:

I truly do understand (and actually welcome!) the intent behind “NoOps”, that you’ve taken the time to explain. But I maintain that you’re going to continue to meet confused people by using the term, because it’s not clear.

And is “devops” any clearer? Maybe, maybe not. But at least there’s not an affirmative or negative in the term to add to any confusion it has already.

To which, Carlson replies:

Thank you for your excellent and thoughtful reply. I agree there is a level of “ops” even in NoOps…I still think the spirit behind NoOps is much more empowering than negative, but I can understand your opposition better now.

I mean this exchange shouldn’t be a big deal, but in a world where people are so quick to resort to ad hominem attacks and general snark – well, it’s refreshing. And it makes me optimistic that, no matter how you define the responsibilities of development and operations and how these areas end up evolving, that wall of confusion between the two groups is finally beginning to crumble.


  1. If only our political discourse were remotely this nuanced, our country would be in much better shape.  ?

Robyn Weisman has written about technology for over a decade, specializing on IT-related topics, such as server and storage virtualization, data storage and cloud computing. Her email address is robyn@robynweisman.com. Google