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DevOps vs ITIL: Grudge Match

Is DevOps a meteor hurdling through space looking to leave its mark on a dinosaur called ITIL? Will we look back in a few million years and ponder the odd fossils of this bizarre framework people used to follow? Nah, probably not, but when it comes to bashing ITIL, people sure do love to get sensational about it. Tim Van Ash writes in a blog post about whether there is really such a conflict between DevOps and ITIL in the first place. In a nutshell, he finds the argument a little incredulous:

Most people think of ITIL as a process framework for IT Management which was largely true for version 2. At the heart of ITIL v3 is the service lifecycle (based on the Demming Cycle) which was designed to provide a holistic view of service management while breaking down the barriers between operational silos. ITIL is and always has been about capturing best practices on IT operations and V3 naturally focused on service providers like hosting, managed services and SaaS.  So I admit to finding this conflict with DevOps somewhat amusing because it assumes that ITIL can’t embrace the concepts of continuous delivery driven by the DevOps movement.

Van Ash says problems arise when people interpret DevOps or ITIL in too rigid a manner. Of course they are going to seem at odds with each other when they are only considered in the most strictly textbook sense. Van Ash further finds that DevOps actually bridges the gap between service design and service transition in a way that ITIL has been unable to define, but DevOps is still early in its development cycle and cannot handle everything perfectly just yet. It would be smart not to pick a side and start waving a flag any time soon. For the time being, there is room enough for DevOps and ITIL both.

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