Strategy

Why DevOps and Kubernetes are the New Legacy

I recently heard researcher and strategist Simon Wardley say that DevOps was already legacy, and that so was Kubernetes.

That blew me away. And while my gut agreed with him in some small way, I wanted to have some form of proof. I wanted to understand what this really meant.

So why is this important? Well, knowing the future of your platform can decide your software product strategy (where to invest) for years to come. It can also help you worry less about DevOps and Kubernetes and more about where you should be headed.

To discover more, I found a podcast from September 2021 on The Inevitability of Serverless with Simon Wardley on ServerlessLess Chats. Here, Simon talks about Serverless in the context of cloud, his journey and findings at Ubuntu and what this means for DevOps.

Wardley Mapping

From the podcast you can derive the following important tenets of Wardley Mapping:

  1. Assuming supply and demand – a competitive landscape for limited resources – all supply will eventually become a commodity i.e. cheaper and easier to produce.
  2. Past success breeds inertia. In other words, massive investments in the past (like in Data Centres) which have proved their worth are difficult to drop c.f. slow cloud migration from DC-owning businesses.
  3. Practice changes as technology changes. DevOps is a practice that has grown from data-centre to cloud Lift ‘n’ Shift operations. While it’s not going away soon, it’s going away sooner than you think.

A further important principle is that “People always react too slowly and too late and this pattern occurs throughout history over and over and over again.”

Also as Mr Wardley states:

What you’re seeing is exponential growth in serverless and […] everybody thinks they’ve got loads of time because they’ve got all the inertia created by preexisting practices and infrastructure and it’s not just computer servers and data centers, now it’s also the DevOps crowd and all of that as well. So Kubernetes containers, they’re all in that area of the new legacy. And so what’s going to stop this? Nothing unless you stop competition. It’s as simple as that.

Making This Practical

So why does this matter? Well, knowing the future of your technical platform can decide your product strategy (and where to invest) for years to come. It can also help you worry less about DevOps and Kubernetes and more about where you should be headed for the benefit of your customer

Right now, we have existing systems, we’re building more and more new systems on Kubernetes and lifting to cloud. Those systems will be with us for a lot longer. However, if you want to disrupt the space in cloud computing, if you’re a service provider of any kind, then you will want to consider serverless as the platform for you to invest in.

While it’s easy to be sceptical about the future, I’m fascinated to find out what you think. I would recommend listening to the podcast episode (and check out the slides) and also checking out this discussion with Jamie Dobson as well.

Are you a serverless practitioner? Are you a DevOps practitioner? How do you see these roles evolving in the next 2 years?



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