There is an idea that if you have full control of all the tools (infrastructure, code and other instruments used by your company), the DevOps workflow becomes simpler. But this is not true. In the modern world, you build the DevOps in your company with third-party tools and resources because such an approach is the most efficient.
Internal or external DevOps?
You might hear a conversation about DevOps as an internal process. The company just hires a specialist in-house and he or she implements the methodology, sets up the processes and makes all the things good. In real life, the business owner usually refers to the DevOps consulting company that provides a dedicated team and they make all the things good.
There might be a little misunderstanding. Talking about internal and external DevOps we might mean the resources or specialists. It is possible to implement DevOps philosophy to the company with internal specialists (but this is not the best way and we’ll explain this idea below) but it’s almost impossible to implement the DevOps with only internal resources. In the real processes a lot of DevOps tools are provided by cloud platforms and it’s very hard to receive it internally. Let’s have a look at examples of interconnected DevOps:
- integration of open-source codebases – this means the company is dependant on the open-source software community;
- depending on the customer’s needs – you can’t design the product based only on your vision;
- companies need to make sure their software works on different browsers, operating systems and hardware devices, thus you need to interact with third-party software;
- the software you use might depend on the third-party API.
Talking about DevOps we need to understand the main principle of CI/CD pipeline. Continuous Integration and Continuous Delivery also mean continuous improvement. That’s why we can’t make a closed internal system. DevOps needs to be constantly implementing the best practices and the newest tools. You physically can’t apply DevOps solely internally. To make CI/CD real, you might use three common ways:
- hire and train in-house specialists;
- hire a dedicated team;
- use services of a DevOps consulting company.
The in-house team is always available but there is a problem to hire and retain all the talents. High-quality specialists usually already have a job and are rarely available on the work market. Also, if one of the team members leaves, the project and workflow can be paused.
A dedicated team is the most preferable way of implementing DevOps. Such a team already knows the best practices and the newest technology stack. Often, dedicated teams have wide experience and ready solutions, thus they’ll implement DevOps processes as fast and efficiently as possible.
Referring to the consulting company is tangible for companies who already have an internal team and need a piece of advice from more experienced specialists. Also, DevOps consulting is appropriate for companies that already implemented this methodology and need to improve it or use new tools.
Final thoughts: how to make the right choice?
As we have discussed, DevOps can’t be an internal technology in a vacuum. In all cases, you need to interact with a bunch of third-party technologies, open-source tools, customer’s needs, etc. We mentioned three approaches in DevOps methodology. Each is suited for different situations. If you haven’t any experience in DevOps and need to implement it, you’d better refer to a Managed Service Provider (MSP). MSP provides a dedicated team and it is much more than just consulting. They’ll cooperate with you in making the right strategy and further implementation of DevOps best practices like IaC and CI/CD.
Dedicated teams have wide experience and can significantly increase the efficiency of your workflow with simultaneous cost-reduction. Reliable MSP will take care of all the recruitment issues and you won’t search and hire anybody even if some specialist leaves the team.
Talking about consulting, we should mention you will have only theoretical knowledge without implementation. This is a very good solution for companies that are stuck on some strategy step or needed the second opinion.
The last way is hiring an in-house team one by one. This is a very long and laborious way. But in the end, you might not only maintain your own system but also outsource your specialists for other companies.
Thus said, each company will choose its own approach. The main idea you should not forget – the DevOps is a continuous process and continuous improvements and updates are needed.