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Digital Transformation

DevOps/OpsDev: The Name Debate is Over

DevOps was first introduced in 2008 as an extension of proper development, but shortly thereafter, “OpsDev” was on many of our minds. I believe the earliest mention of OpsDev was 2012 [Randy Clark in UK Business Computing World, “DevOps or OpsDev?”]. Please forgive me if you made an earlier mention!

Why the Name Debate?

There are a few reasons why the name should have been OpsDev.

  • The [obvious] effort mostly lives on the operations side.
  • The business value and revenue is largely in operations.
  • Operations is user facing and carries the branding importance.

Some other early mentions of a name change include:

A Two Sided Coin

Loosely, DevOps is “driving Ops action with Dev concern” and the sister activity is “driving Dev action with Ops concern.”

The DevOps-OpsDev cycle.

DevOps refers to both halves.

Twitter has vibrant/valuable threads under both #DevOps and #OpsDev. Both sides are individually important and implementing one side without the other has value, but the two halves remain intertwined.

Practitioners are seeing that their DevOps initiatives will have far less value or even fail without the accompanying [OpsDev] sister activity. So even though the two sides may have been reversely named, they are part of the same thing. Chris Pietschamm, in “What Really is DevOps?“ correctly says DevOps is the responsibility of everyone.

DevOps includes OpsDev

Any DevOps exercise should consider both halves in a single effort.

Further, the body of knowledge has steadily increased under the DevOps banner. There are now degree programs with “DevOps” in their title. No degrees in “OpsDev.” The DevOps market size is predicted to be ~$13 billion by 2025 [Grand View Research in PR Newswire, “DevOps Market Size Worth”]. OpsDev market share $0.

Thus, the name debate is over. Anyway, as Geoff Rosenthal explains in “The Biggest Challenge in DevOps is…“, DevOps is an approach and a mindset. And somewhat unfortunately at least for a while, DevOps will remain “Dev-centric” – I challenge the reader to look at the current Wikipedia definition with an Ops eye.

I can see value if someone started a Wiki page for “OpsDev.” However, as long as “DevOps” remains the general term for the combined field of thought that has two sides. The name debate is done. Apologies to DBAs, sys admins, sustainment engineers and other fine operations folks, but “DevOps” is/has become the default moniker for the field at large.

For a long time, I resided down-under and I thought “south” might be the top edge of a world map, but the first cartographers were from the north and put themselves on top. Oh well.


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Rick Kapalko

With degrees in Analysis and Management, Mr. Kapalko has spent two decades in both project management of agile development and contract management of operations optimization. He is adept at managing the solution path - realizing business value from engineering projects, people, processes, and data.

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