There is a whole set of new operational pressures on IT operations at the application layer. Business are betting more and more on their applications, users with always available platforms (i.e. mobile) mean that applications really do need to work 24×7, virtualization is making the underlying infrastructure elastic and easily available , and of course agile development enables features to be developed faster and in smaller increments.
All these are putting new pressures on IT operations at the application layer. DevOps is one growing trend that is starting to address these issues. DevOps is related to AppOps but it isn’t AppOps – nor does it replace the need for AppOps. DevOps is the process of streamlining the dev to ops lifecycle for applications, but AppOps is specifically the operational side of application management. I think that we’ll be seeing a lot more companies starting to use the term AppOps, as way to describe their IT operations at the application layer – since there doesn’t seem to any better term around. AppOps has two separate, but related, components:
- Application Release Operations – all the operational work needed to make sure production applications and features are deployed in a timely and robust fashion. This goes way beyond just release automation – since the automation component is just a small part of the operations surrounding a release. Release Operations also includes all the remediation and maintenance operations for making sure imperfect applications and unexpected events don’t cause catastrophic application failure.
- Application Monitoring Operations – the monitoring needed to make sure that application problems are discovered as quickly as possible.
In many cases it is up to the AppOps folks to notice a problem and then (working with dev) figure out a quick workaround (CAPA) to the problem to make sure things continue to run, then it is up to dev to come up with a longer term fix which gets deployed in the next release.
There has been very little focus on Application Services CAPA (Corrective Action\Preventative Action) – or maybe a better term would be COPO (Corrective Operations\Preventative Operations). I am not sure why Application Services CAPA gets so little attention – maybe because it is the unglamorous daily work of ensuring everything works correctly, as opposed to getting a new release deployed.