Building Services Versus Buying Them: It’s Not a Zero-Sum Game

By Patrick McFadin, DataStax

When the gap between enterprise software development and IT operations was bridged 15 or so years ago, building enterprise apps underwent a radical change. DevOps blew away manual and slow processes, and adopted the idea of infrastructure as code. This was a change that upped the ability to scale quickly and deliver reliable applications and services into production.

Building services internally has been the status quo for a long time, but in a cloud-native world, the lines behind cloud and on-prem have blurred. Third-party, cloud-based services, built on powerful open source software, are making it easier for developers to move faster. Their mandate is to focus on building with innovation and speed to compete in hyper-fast markets. For all application stakeholders—from the CIO to development teams—the path to simplicity, speed, and risk reduction often involves cloud-based services that make data scalable and available instantly.

These points of view aren’t far apart, and they exist at many established organizations that we work with. Yet they can be at odds with one another. In fact, we’ve often seen them work in ways that are counterproductive, to the extent that they slow down application development.

There might be compelling reasons for taking everything in-house but the end users are voting with execution. Here, we’ll look at the point of view of each group, and try to understand each one’s motivations. It’s not a zero-sum game and the real answer might be the right combination of the two.

Building services

Infrastructure engineers build the machine. They

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