RACI and PaaS – A Change in Operations

I have been having a great debate with one of my colleagues about the changing role of the IT operations (aka “I&O”) function in the context of PaaS. Nobody debates that I&O is responsible and accountable for infrastructure operations.

Application developers (with or without the blessing of Enterprise Architecture) select platform components such as application servers, middleware etc.  I&O keeps the servers running – probably up to the operating system.  The app owners then manage their apps and the platform components.  I&O has no SLAs on the platform, etc.

In the PaaS era, I think this needs to change.  IT Operations (I&O) needs to have full accountability and responsibility for the OPERATION of the PaaS layer. PaaS is no longer a part of the application, but is now really part of the core platform operated by IT.  It’s about 24×7 monitoring, support, etc. and generally this is a task that I&O is ultimately best able to handle.

Both teams need to be accountable and responsible for the definition of the PaaS layer to ensure it meets the right business and operational needs.  But when it comes to operations, I&O now takes charge.

The implication of this will be a need for PaaS operations and administration skills in the I&O business.  It also means that the developers and application ownership teams need only worry about the application itself – and not the standard plumbing that supports it.

Result?  Better reliability of the application AND better agility and productivity in development.  That’s a win, right?

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