How to scale your small business without a DevOps team

Development operations (DevOps) teams have gained popularity in recent years, with approximately 96 per cent of Australian IT managers in large corporations having some involvement in DevOps.

For smaller businesses, though, hiring entire teams to oversee DevOps is often out of the question thanks to tighter talent pools or limited budgets.

The answer may lie with a no operations (NoOps) model, where IT operations are highly automated, negating the need for a dedicated DevOps team. Gartner estimates that by combining hyper-automation technologies with redesigned operational processes, organisations will lower operational costs by 30 per cent by 2024.

Here are some of the key reasons you should consider adopting a NoOps model when scaling your business.

Embrace serverless tools and platforms

The rise of DevOps automation platforms has opened massive opportunities for businesses to scale without a DevOps team. Modern ‘serverless’ tools are robust and extensive in their features and will reduce time spent on the running and management of web servers, allowing you to focus on product development.

By plugging into established products instead of building and running DevOps pipelines yourself, businesses can achieve immense scale while spending minimal time and effort. AWS Fargate and AWS Serverless are great tools to run containerised websites and applications without the need to maintain a fleet of virtual machines and complex orchestration environments that require constant monitoring and tuning.

Other SaaS products such as Raygun, Speedcurve, Loggly, Auth0 and Grafana allow businesses to fulfil essential needs without adding development and management overhead.  Using serverless tools also removes bottlenecks around manual approvals and human dependencies, significantly reducing the margin for error.

Business continuity

By adopting a NoOps model in the early days, businesses can develop reliability and scalability, without investing weeks or months of employee hours into DevOps development. This is crucial for time-poor business leaders. NoOps helps upskill existing employees by giving them more ownership. It also removes knowledge silos, boosts self-sufficiency among the team and expands the pool of talent and expertise among your employees.

With the scarcity of talent and the expense of hiring specialised DevOps engineers being pretty costly, entrepreneurs will benefit from decentralising the work of a DevOps team and spreading the responsibility across the organisation. Not only will this help cut costs but it will also allow businesses to invest more heavily in product development to boost the long-term success and scalability of their business.

Automating system health checks 

Building a reliable and performant system is key to establishing credibility for your product. To achieve these goals, it’s crucial to establish a broad monitoring and observability platform as it is often more important to monitor whether key events are actually being completed by your users.

For example, we developed a set of custom metrics to monitor things like how many logo drafts are being created per hour on BrandCrowd, or how many successful or failed Stripe payments there have been. By utilising products like CloudWatch Metrics and Grafana we’re able to quickly understand how our product is performing, and then raise alerts when anything goes wrong.

While DevOps continues to gain momentum, it’s important to remember scaling your business is not one-size-fits-all. Having a more sophisticated DevOps team may be the right strategy for large organisations, but NoOps allows businesses to invest heavily in product development while boosting staff talent.

By focusing on the right tools, business continuity and data monitoring, businesses can scale more effectively and with lower operational costs.