Understanding the Differences between DevOps in the Cloud and DevOps for Dedicated Devices

Cam Summerson
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It’s been over a decade since DevOps fundamentally changed software development. But the core concepts that traditional DevOps relies on aren’t just for software — applying these principles to hardware is just as important (and game-changing). 

DevOps for Device Management

What is DevOps? 

DevOps is a concept that aligns software development and IT operations teams to build and deliver software in a more agile way. By removing the silos, teams can reduce the time between software commits and delivery — in other words, it’s all about efficiency. 

The core principle of DevOps is automation. Triggers that connect previously manual processes and perform error checks along the way to streamline processes. This allows teams to move quickly, build faster, and deliver often. 

DevOps for software lives in the cloud

A critical component of DevOps for software development is the cloud. Processes in the cloud allow for more automation, better collaboration, streamlined configuration, and more straightforward scaling. Here’s a quick look at the core ways the cloud plays a role in modern software development: 

  • Infrastructure as code (IaC): With IaC, infrastructure is managed as code instead of manually. Configuration files ensure simple, repeatable provisioning and easier editing. 
  • Continuous Integration and Continuous Deployment (CI/CD): CI/CD pipelines automate the build, testing, and deployment phases. If all the checks are met, code moves through the pipeline without human interaction. 
  • Configuration management: Infrastructure configurations are code-based and applied across environments. This includes security settings, environmental variables, and software dependencies. 
  • Monitoring and logging: Datasets are collected and analyzed, then displayed in real-time dashboards for constant monitoring. 
  • Collaboration, communication, and tracking: Cloud tools encourage better communication and collaboration between teams and track project status. 
  • Scalability: Available resources can be automatically adjusted on the fly, ensuring optimal performance and optimized costs. 

The cloud is an essential tool for optimal software deployment, but for companies with dedicated devices, there’s an additional layer of complexity. 

Graphic representing the philosophy of DevOps on software development

Why dedicated devices need aligned software and hardware strategies

Dedicated devices like kiosks, point of sale systems, smart warehousing tools, and digital signage have different needs than other corporate-owned devices like laptops and printers. Organizations need specific control over these systems, including available applications, operating system updates, advanced debugging tools, and more. Companies need ways to granularly manage all aspects of their dedicated device fleets to provide the most consistent experience and reduce downtime. 

That’s where an aligned hardware and software strategy comes into play. While DevOps for software development may not seem to have a direct connection to dedicated device management, there’s quite a bit of overlap between the two when dedicated device management is done correctly. Effective dedicated device management requires a marriage between software and hardware that only DevOps strategies can offer. 

How DevOps enables better device management

Extending DevOps practices beyond just software deployment and into hardware management has numerous advantages. Deploying software to your devices becomes simpler and more streamlined. Testing software updates for all your varying hardware becomes automated. DevOps practices start to play a critical role in the entire device lifecycle.

  • Automated provisioning and deployment: Just like with software deployment and provisioning in DevOps for software, incorporating these philosophies into your hardware strategy means onboarding new hardware and deploying it in the field is primarily automated. 
  • Granular configuration management: DevOps for software manages the entire infrastructure as code. With DevOps for dedicated devices, you can easily manage configuration and compliance policies as code. Add, remove, and change things on the fly — all in real time. 
  • Continuous integration: Controlled device groups and CI/CD pipelines for your dedicated devices enables a new level of integration and testing. As part of the pipelines process in software development, new code is tested as it’s integrated into the codebase. With pipelines in dedicated device management, you can easily build, test, and validate code across a wide range of hardware, then automatically deploy it into the field as all checks are met. 
  • Monitoring and observability: DevOps for software development encourages constant monitoring to proactively catch potential issues. With monitoring and observability practices in place for dedicated devices, the same rule applies — you’ll have a better idea of what your devices are doing and the ability to catch potential problems before they become, well, problems. 
  • Precision version control: The ability to precisely control operating system and app versions across devices, you can maximize performance and minimize downtime. DevOps principles for device management enable this level of granular control. 

Dedicated device management requires precision and nuanced control. DevOps for software was built around those principles, and practices associated with DevOps lend themselves surprisingly well to device management, where this level of granular control is required. 

Esper is the only platform for dedicated device management with DevOps tools

If you’re looking for a better way to manage your dedicated devices, Esper is it. Our DevOps-influenced platform gives you the detailed device control you’ve always needed but didn’t know existed. From granular device grouping to complete remote control and robust deployment features, it’s device management as you’ve never seen before. 

Free eBook: Applying DevOps to Device Management


What is DevOps? 

DevOps is a software development approach that combines development (Dev) and operations (Ops) teams to improve collaboration, automate processes, and deliver software more efficiently

What is DevOps in the cloud?

DevOps in the cloud refers to the implementation of DevOps principles and practices specifically within a cloud computing environment, leveraging cloud services and infrastructure.

What is a dedicated device?

A dedicated device is a computing device or server that is exclusively allocated and used for a specific purpose or application, typically without sharing resources with other tasks or workloads.

What is DevOps for dedicated devices?

DevOps for dedicated devices refers to the application of DevOps practices to manage and deploy dedicated devices, ensuring efficient development, testing, deployment, and monitoring processes.

What’s the difference between DevOps in the cloud and DevOps for dedicated devices?

The main difference between DevOps in the cloud and DevOps for dedicated devices lies in the underlying infrastructure. DevOps in the cloud focuses on leveraging cloud-based services and infrastructure, while DevOps for dedicated devices involves managing software deployment on dedicated physical or virtual devices.

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Cam Summerson
Cam Summerson

Cam is Esper's Director of Content and brings over 10 years of technology journalism experience to Esper, including nearly half-a-decade as Editor in Chief of a technology publication. He currently oversees the ideation, execution, and distribution plans for numerous types of content from blog posts to ebooks and beyond.

Cam Summerson
Learn about Esper mobile device management software for Android and iOS
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Esper is Modern Device Management

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MDM Software
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Kiosk mode

Hardened device lockdown for all devices (not just kiosks)
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App management

Google Play, Apple App Store, private apps, or a mix of all three
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Device groups

Manage devices individually, in user-defined groups, or all at once
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Remote tools

Monitor, troubleshoot, and update devices without leaving your desk
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Touchless provisioning

Turn it on and walk away — let your devices provision themselves
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Reporting and alerts

Custom reports and granular device alerts for managing by exception