Aug 292016

Reliable and fast automation drives efficient quality-driven development process. In DICE, we are factoring into this process deployment of services such as Storm, Cassandra or Hadoop. We offer this capability in a tool called DICER, and back it up with a technology library to off-load the installation and configuration work to a set of scripts. In effect, our technology library enables a NoOps experience to the users, because no SysAdmins are required to do the work of setting these services up. But is this a bad news for the SysAdmins? Will DICE put them out of job?

During the recent QUDOS workshop, the participants had an interesting discussion after the DICER paper presentation. A person in the audience commented that we might not want to present this work to the SysAdmins. Building a tool that makes people lose their jobs certainly doesn’t sound like a good thing all the way.

DICER is a powerful tool in the hands of SysAdmins as it allows them to write scripts to deploy new Big Data technologies and to give to Dev people the possibility to automatically configure and deploy them based on their specific needs. Moreover, it gives to both Dev people and SysAdmins an environment where they can work together at an abstract level to analyze and fine tune the behavior of their Data Intensive Applications.

Also, the SysAdmins remain valuable creating and maintaining the services for developers themselves. This includes managing an internal testbed in the companies that leverage a private cloud, or overseeing that policies and quotas are being observed wherever public clouds are in use. The services such as DICER, the DICE deployment service, Jenkins and others also need SysAdmins to be installed, configured and kept up-to-date.

DICE will also enable the SysAdmins to be actively included in the DevOps workflow. They could easily be assigned to review and provide suggestions and guidance in the architecting and re-architecting of the Data Intensive Applications. Moreover, DICE monitoring framework and Quality Testing tools provide additional tools for them to assess the fitness of the infrastructure to run resource-hungry applications.

New paradigms such as DevOps and Big Data technologies always cause some change and require adaptation from the people involved in processes. However, tools such as the DICE toolset should primarily aid the users to become more efficient and competitive. Therefore, when talking about NoOps, we mean “no manual operation work”, which means for SysAdmins a new and more effective way to work and be important actors in setting up complex services. The burden of menial, repetitive work should be taken by automation, leaving the people free to do creative work and making important decisions.

Matej Artač, XLAB

Elisabetta Di Nitto, PMI

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