What Is IT Operations (ITOps)?

What Is IT Operations (ITOps)?

As a broad umbrella term, IT Operations, or “ITOps” as it’s commonly known, is a term generally covering an organization’s IT workforce outside of software development. This can include networking operations; deploying, maintaining, and configuring applications; and overseeing both physical and virtual components of a company’s IT environment.

That’s a broad definition for ITOps to be sure, and one that may elicit different answers from different people. If you were to stick with “everything but the dev team,” you wouldn’t be wrong.
As the term sounds similar to DevOps, some may choose to overlap the two—even using them interchangeably. However, there are distinct differences between these two “Ops.”

ITOps vs. DevOps: What’s the difference?

While IT operations remain in the adjacent software wheelhouse, DevOps—capturing both software development mixed with IT operations—refers to embracing efficient workflows in the often-long process of writing and updating application code in hopes of accelerating this lifecycle.

The difference between the two lies in breaking down previous departmental silos.

A non-DevOps process from years ago might see the software development team build out their code until it’s “done.” Nothing is ever truly finished in the IT world, however. Applications need to be continually tested for compatibility, bugs, usability, and more.

The IT Ops team would then take the baton from software development to see how well new applications performed in an environment. This required another (often lengthy) process.

Exploring the ITOps process

As mentioned, the IT operations team is more focused on maintaining a broader range of functions in an organization’s IT environment.

In the scenario described above, once the development team passed the application over to the ITOps side, the team there would put the software through its paces, checking to see how well it fit and performed in that given environment.

The problem is that many issues ITOps might discover at this point—likely months into the process—could have been easily remedied much earlier…or even avoided altogether. This hypothetical situation could have seen hundreds of development hours sunk into a feature that’s incompatible or no longer needed by the business.

“DevOps” is the bridging of these two teams for faster, more cost-effective software development. Metaphorically, you can think of it as the right hand knowing what the left is doing and working in harmonious tandem when developing applications. At least, that’s the plan.

ITOps and DevOps: Friends, enemies, or a mixture of both?

Teams within a large organization often find themselves in competition with their colleagues outside of their department—friendly or otherwise.

DevOps is primarily focused on reducing the software development lifecycle as much as possible—moving applications quickly through the funnel for a fast time to market. Think of it as “Team Speed.”

IT operations, on the other hand, is more focused on ensuring everything plays well in the corporate sandbox: The application is free of bugs, has no security issues, and doesn’t crash every morning. While some would think of ITOps as slow, a better descriptor would be that they’re prudent—they’re more “Team, Let’s Get This Right.”

Building a bridge for ITOps and DevOps

Knowing the fundamental differences between the two camps can help you approach development in a way that’s both efficient and stable for the business.
Having everyone on the same page from the start can help. Sharing data throughout the software development lifecycle will keep both teams in the loop at all stages—streamlining the process and eliminating existing friction.

No matter how careful you may be, issues will arise at some point. Incident management solutions like PagerDuty empower efficiency with automated alerts and rich information—potentially saving your teams a great deal of time and reducing your MTTR (mean time to resolution).

Why not experience PagerDuty yourself? Demo it now for 14 days—absolutely free. No credit card is required.