Systems Programming And IT Operations: The DevOps Connection
October 11, 2013
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Have you heard of IT Operations or Development? IT operators manage networked systems while developers practice systems programming. Within the company, IT Operations and Development often work separately: IT Operations installs servers and applications and diagnoses network problems; Development actually makes these applications. But recent changes in computing is blurring the distinction between these two.
The Cloud: Why DevOps Works
The Cloud allows applications to be massively scaled to meet consumer needs. Large companies, like Netflix, depend on the Cloud to stream movies to your home computer or tablet. Given that thousands of applications can be deployed to the Cloud makes the work of IT Operations pretty difficult. Instead of managing only a handful of computers, IT Operations now must handle thousands of computers simultaneously. This requires a good grasp of systems programming.
Now IT Operations also engages in development. DevOps is IT Operations with a development twist. Let's look at how DevOps will change the way you relate to IT as a field of study.
Problem Solving: How DevOps Works
Now you understand why DevOps has become such an IT buzzword, but do you know what kinds of problems DevOps solves? Think of Netflix again. Thousands of people use Netflix every day to watch their favorite movies and shows. Netflix must guarantee that every person who purchases a subscription can access their content on demand from any device. This guarantee requires a gigantic infrastructure: thousands of computers and networking devices.
Every Netflix server must be in good working order and able to stream movies successfully. In order to meet customer demand, IT operations must write software that checks the health of these servers on a minute-by-minute basis, automatically resolves problems and even predicts future problems that might occur. Managing so many servers at once makes systems programming an IT Operations task.
The DevOps Learning Curve: What Does It Mean for You?
If you're a potential information technology student, DevOps will change your learning experience. You will learn more than just how to replace hard drives or fix common problems. Because of DevOps, an IT education will have a strong systems programming foundation. Programming can be a challenging subject, but learning the fundamentals of development will make you a better IT operations professional.
Example: How DevOps Configures Applications
Have you ever configured a software application? If you have, wouldn't it be just as easy to configure software on thousands of computers simultaneously? A popular DevOps tool called Puppet allows you to do just that—configure software across any number of computers simultaneously. Puppet is an exciting, powerful tool for any IT Operations professional, but using it requires a strong background in programming.
Learning the DevOps Way
Don't be afraid of DevOps. Development and IT Operations now walk hand in hand. Learning the fundamentals of both will set the stage for an exciting and long-lasting career in IT.
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