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Guest PostJuly 27, 20234 min read

The True Costs of DevOps

Over the past few years, DevOps has gained immense popularity due to its commitment to an efficient, dependable, and iterative software development lifecycle. Moreover, the prospect of automating a significant portion of this process is highly appealing to large enterprises that necessitate seamless scalability to meet demand, all while managing a vast array of interconnecting components within their toolchain.

For many, the allure of DevOps lies in the promise of substantial cost savings. A smooth-running stack will benefit the entire business in the long run.

Yet, it's essential to be aware of the hidden costs that lurk beneath the surface before fully embracing the world of DevOps. While the advantages far outweigh the challenges, cost is undeniably a factor every business should consider.

So, let's take the plunge and explore this transformative approach's concealed and apparent costs.


You have exceptionally skilled developers and operations teams who are well-versed in their respective roles. Under your current setup, everything is running seamlessly. However, when transitioning to a DevOps environment, these teams may not possess all the necessary knowledge to thrive in this new era.

To achieve this, you have two options: invest in DevOps courses for your team members or allocate sufficient "on-the-clock" time to familiarize themselves with the requirements of a successful migration to the new methodology. Remember that transitioning from a traditional to a DevOps workflow entails multiple components, each demanding a unique skill set from your teams. Additionally, ensuring that these team members are well-prepared and equipped to elevate their communication skills to the next level is crucial.

All these factors combined necessitate extensive training, potentially incurring significant costs. Alternatively, suppose this approach does not align with your preferences. In that case, you may consider revisiting your hiring strategy and onboarding seasoned DevOps professionals who can facilitate the transition and efficiently equip other team members.

Hiring qualified staff

As mentioned before, it's important to remember that DevOps encompasses development and operations. That being said, having team members who deeply understand DevOps and can empower the development teams is crucial for seamless integration and collaboration. This ensures a harmonious synergy between all process aspects, allowing for smooth execution and successful outcomes.

According to GlassDoor, the average salary for DevOps professionals is $123,204. When planning to transition to a DevOps environment, assessing your budget and determining the number of team members required is crucial. If hiring qualified staff members exceeds your budget, it may be necessary to reconsider the migration. However, training can also present challenges if you remain determined to pursue DevOps.

In other words, plan according to your budget and needs.

Building customer tools

Not all components of your DevOps puzzle can be acquired from vendors or sourced from Git. Given the uniqueness of each DevOps chain, it's highly probable that your development teams will need to develop bespoke tools to integrate the various elements seamlessly.

It could be a straightforward task or an exceedingly intricate one. Regardless, there will be costs incurred to enlist developers for tool-building. In the case of more complex projects, additional time will also be devoted to research and testing.

There will be expenses involved in making it happen. Not only would you have to compensate your development teams, but costs might also be associated with APIs or other software used to build the custom tools. Regardless, there will be unavoidable expenses…even when using exclusively open-source software.

Idle developers

This is often an overlooked expense. Consider it this way: Once you automate a significant portion of your software lifecycle, you may encounter developers with idle time, waiting for code deployment or build completion. How do these developers utilize their idle time? While you pay them for their work, automation might reduce workload as it permeates various aspects of the software chain.

If you have idle developers, it would be wise to assign them other tasks. Idle developers tend to get bored, which may result in attrition, leading to the need for new hiring.

Too much automation

Automation is a positive force that can significantly enhance your DevOps efforts, yielding substantial rewards. However, the issue arises when the allure of automation's efficiency and reliability tempts you into automating every aspect. It is crucial to exercise discretion, as not all tasks warrant automation.

When determining what to automate, the primary focus should be on repetitive tasks that do not require human intervention. DevOps teams can allocate their time and efforts towards more crucial work by automating such tasks. It is important to note that one-time tasks do not necessitate automation.

It is crucial to inquire about the benefits attained from automating a task. Will it result in time and effort savings, as well as a reduction in technical debt? If so, it can generate cost savings. Conversely, if automating a task neither saves money nor alleviates the developers' or operations engineers' workload, it is likely an inefficient use of time and resources.

DevOps is a compelling methodology that has significantly streamlined numerous businesses' operations and development pipelines. When implemented effectively, it can lead to substantial cost savings. However, it is essential to note that a haphazard implementation could result in unforeseen expenses that outweigh any potential benefits. Therefore, it is crucial to thoroughly comprehend these hidden costs before embarking on the DevOps journey, ensuring that you can evade potential pitfalls along the way.

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