The automation component has a direct tie-in to cloud computing -- both the private cloud and PaaS (platform as a service). After all, virtualized dev and test environments, whether they reside on, say, VMware's CloudFoundry, or locally using, say, CumuLogic on top of Eucalyptus, hold enormous potential to reduce wasted motion.
As I've speculated before, I believe developers will be the big winners in the cloud era. But one thing that strikes me about devops is the "why can't we all get along" tone (something that, as Neil McAllister observed last week, the development community could use more of). I may be naïve, but I think devops could be an example of IT people across various roles pulling together in the face of economic adversity and the threat of consumerization.
Here's another way devops may be indicative of the times we live in: It asks that ops and dev people go beyond their comfort zones and, to some degree, learn each other's skills. Just as workloads are moving to shared infrastructure and infrastructure itself is converging, IT roles are consolidating. As the private cloud takes root in the data center, not only will it be difficult to maintain a separation of roles among network, system, and storage admins, but it will also be hard to escape a working knowledge of virtualization management.
One of the healthiest aspects of the devops trend is its emphasis on agility in service of business objectives. True, this no doubt derives from devops' apparent origination in large-scale Web application companies, where product and technology are inseparable. But agility, as cliché as that may sound, is still the greatest single benefit IT can bring to business. In tough times like these, both business and IT need to be light on their feet to survive.
This article, "Devops and the great IT convergence," originally appeared at InfoWorld.com. Read more of Eric Knorr's Modernizing IT blog, and for the latest business technology news, follow InfoWorld on Twitter.