ITIL vs. DevOps: Different Viewpoints


ITIL vs. DevOps

ITIL or Information Technology Infrastructure Library indicates best practices for IT service management. It helps IT services come in tune the needs of the business or help to fulfill business requirements. It is a body of information that also gets published in several volumes. It is the world’s most used IT Management network. It has a client-friendly and cost-effective approach which makes it extremely popular among the clients. It mainly comprises of five stages which are Service Strategy, Service Design, Service Transition, Service Operation, and Continual Service Improvement. ITIL Framework contributes to the ITIL Process that helps service management sector regarding IT requirements. ITIL helps by contributing to identifying important problem areas, issues that should be of concern. It helps such problems by rectifying and restructuring, with the help of IT services.

DevOps which stands for the terms, development and operations, is the amalgamation of cultural philosophies, practices, and tools that positively and effectively contribute towards increasing an organization’s ability to perform better. Thus, organizations can act fast with the delivery of the high-quality product. They perform much better than organizations who use conventional software development and infrastructure management processes. DevOps promotes successful communication and collaboration, so that the organization comes to a harmonious agreement and can work together into creating and delivering a superior product. DevOps actually offers much more than Agile development. It is a comprehensive process.

Difference between ITIL and DevOps

ITIL is a highly structured methodology which is starkly different from the DevOps philosophy. ITIL increases efficiency and guides with metrics for helping IT operations. ITIL is actually a type of ITSM. It pays great emphasis to protocols for implementing, managing and improving IT services. ITIL being a heavily jargoned and specialized filed comprises of many specific terms and concepts. It has become the intellectual property of AXELOS, who license ITIL materials, offer certifications and update the ITIL framework. DevOps is not owned by anybody intellectually.

ITIL being extremely complicated needs a lot of technical understanding and can only be implemented if operated correctly. ITIL teams are highly-trained and skilled in their field. DevOps comes in generally after ITIL has been applied. Both ITIL and DevOps are actually required for the IT management service. They are not mutually exclusive.

ITIL vs. DevOps is a well-known debate. Needless to say, different experts hold many different views on the subject. According to some ITIL and DevOps use different approaches.  Many experts feel that they are different yet have their place in the IT department. Others argue that they are complementary.

Charles Betz, leader of the Agile Workstream at the Open Group IT4IT Forum, argues that their basic principles are in conflict. ITIL is rigidly structured while DevOps is open to instant product management approach such as managing work in progress.

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Generally software requires a faster approach in deploying as well as for fixes from time to time. Integration and testing need to be done with amazing promptness for organizations to function smoothly. ITIL with its stringent guidelines and DevOps with its flexible approach can help achieve this end in the best way possible. The solution is to make ITIL benefit from the approach of DevOps. ITIL can in turn provide the structure that DevOps lack and help to create better software in no time.

The dreaded change management can be eased out by DevOps easily. ITIL contributes heavily with the knowledge of best practices adopted, DevOps can better the practices as it would add to the already effective approach, the human factor. DevOps makes change management smoother as it takes a human or user-centric approach.

There are many experts who believe that DevOps and ITIL are complimentary. They can function together as ITIL provides  the best practices that promote and support DevOps style of work. It means the best practices that ITIL present or tries to apply actually contribute towards what is called DevOps.

DevOps loyalists however think, ITIL is becoming quite redundant. DevOps to them is actually moving ahead with time. They do not see the benefit of ITIL structure and think that the rigidity in the framework or the documented best practices is failing relevance due to the latest innovation almost every second.  They also argue that ITIL cannot function well enough when it comes to continual support in aligning IT with business needs.

Many new approaches and interpretations of ITIL are now being adopted. Reinertsen and Mark Kennaley who just released his new book called Value Stream, are giving leadership in this direction. ITIL  with its previous body of knowledge adjusting to Agile terms might get difficult but it is certainly not impossible.

As for now it is up to businesses to decide on what works best for them. From business size to risk management, there are factors worth considering before taking upon any of the approaches. Perhaps, DevOps and ITIL should not be pitched against each other. There is nothing much to compare. They each have different approaches. ITIL succeeds because of its adherence to structure. While for DevOps, it is just the opposite. DevOps depends a lot on the situation, the human element is a huge contributing factor in DevOps.

Author Bio: Vaishali Gopi is a digital marketer and an occasional content writer. She has developed a keen interest towards customer support and help desks. She voices about it frequently.


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