Building high-performance teams

DevOps Outsourcing in 2024: Everything You Need to Know to Succeed

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DevOps outsourcing used to be a great way to augment your team with in-demand skills. Infrastructure as Code, CI/CD, K8s, observability, security automation, and MLOps expertise is still scarce. After all, companies like WhatsApp, Slack, GitHub, and Nokia have all, at some point, relied on remote IT contractors. 

Some of them still do. Yet in 2024, the market still hasn’t recovered from massive layoffs. So why would you risk working with a DevOps vendor when you have so many engineers looking for a new job?

Over the past 8 years, I’ve worked with dozens of DevOps engineers. Both in large in-house teams and in DevOps outsourcing companies like MindK. From my experience, partnering with a reliable vendor gives you two key advantages. And saving money is just one of them.

In-house teams vs DevOps outsourcing services

The business case for DevOps methodology remains clear. In 2023, DevOps was the second most sought-after tech skill among US recruiters. Yet, only 11% of teams possess high-performance DevOps skills.

These teams report 417x more deployments, delivering products faster than competitors. They also have up to 4x lower failure rates and 30x faster recovery times. Their products are much more stable.

All of this affects a company’s bottom line. So should you hire an internal team or outsource services to a trusted provider? Both have advantages and disadvantages.

A list of DevOps outsourcing services you can request from a vendor

Learn about DevOps outsourcing services at MindK

An argument for keeping your DevOps in-house

Outsourcing is a risk, there’s no way around it. Loss of control, information leaks, and unforeseen costs can all manifest if you don’t know how to mitigate these risks

When working with freelancers, in particular, there’s no guarantee a DevOps engineer won’t simply disappear one day into a thick fog. I’ve seen such a thing happen to a fast-growing neobank from Benelux. High turnover resulted in a poorly documented and unstable infrastructure that was a huge pain to maintain. 

It’s also pretty much impossible to enforce NDAs with individuals from countries that operate under vastly different laws. 

Working with DevOps outsourcing companies is safer. For one, they’re legal entities and care about their reputation. They also try their best to decrease employee turnover. 

Still, there’s a risk a DevOps engineer will divide attention between several projects. There’s no solution for this issue, aside from using an activity tracker of some sort.

In-house DevOps benefits

In-house DevOps drawbacks

➕Complete control over each aspect of the product development.

➖Office costs, employee perks, and benefits.

➕Lower risks if you can maintain low employee turnover.

➖Most in-house engineers focus on a single toolset, limiting their expertise.

➕Engineers focus on your project alone.

➖More time to set up the needed infrastructure and processes from the ground up.

An argument for outsourcing DevOps services

Most of the time, in-house experts focus on just one industry or project type. 

I’ve seen DevOps engineers spend the last three years working on a single FinTech application that sits somewhere on a dedicated server. They only know a single CI/CD and automation tool as experimenting is too costly for the employer.

Contrast that with DevOps outsourcing companies like MindK. My colleagues might one month create Infrastructure as Code (IaC) for a recruiting startup. Once the task is done, they’d join a FinTech project to simplify compliance with on-premises GitLab instances.

The result is more experience with various CI/CD tools and automation tools, cloud providers, IaC technologies, and so on. With expertise in both legacy and modern tech, you can pick optimal tools for each project. 

For example, I now work on a medical system with more than 400 resources described in Terraform. With a serverless approach, we don’t have to pay for unused services, saving up to 50% of the infrastructure support costs. However, if you anticipate heavy usage, it might be smarter to go for a dedicated server.

A cloud-native medical system we built for our American clients

This vast expertise is the main advantage of DevOps outsourcing. Cost is another big one, which I’ll discuss next.

As for the downsides, there’s a way to minimize the risk of engineers leaving your project. Logical Infrastructure as Code makes it much easier to bring on another person to manage your infrastructure. This is true both for outsourced and in-house DevOps.

Outsourced DevOps benefits

Outsourced DevOps drawbacks

➕Immediate access to top-tier talent at lower costs.

➖Freelancers can work on multiple projects at the same time. 

➕Experience with a wide range of projects and technologies.

➖Inexperienced engineers might compromise application security. 

➕Easy team scaling without administrative or recruiting expenses.

➖Without a legally binding contract, there’s a risk of abandoning your project.

DevOps outsourcing types and their pricing

According to the latest study, 83% of CIOs feel pressured to deliver more with less in 2024. So smart budgeting is of the highest priority.

When you account for overheads and benefits, a DevOps engineer in California might cost from $59 to $104 an hour. 

Rates for DevOps outsourcing companies vary greatly between countries and regions. For a top-tier engineer, expect to pay around $40-$80 an hour.

So now let’s look at three main types of DevOps outsourcing.

Learn about DevOps outsourcing at MindK

DevOps consulting

Pricing: Time & Material.

A short-time engagement with a flat hourly rate. 

DevOps consultants typically analyze the current state, quality, and pain points of a customer’s IT infrastructure. Based on the analysis, we draw a roadmap and recommend the best tools for the purpose.

What problems could you solve with outsourced DevOps consulting services? 

  • Slow, error-prone, and unstable deployments.
  • Low productivity with a lack of automation.
  • Difficulties in scaling your application cost-effectively.
  • Problems with security, HIPPA, PCI-DSS, and CIS audits.
  • Operational costs spinning out of control.

38% of CIOs reported large overspending due to rushed cloud migrations during COVID-19. I once joined a massive SaaS project with 50+ on-demand EC2 instances. The lack of optimization cost our client over $14,000 a month! After discovering the issue, our team fixed the problem by merging services that didn’t consume computation resources 24/7, scaling down pods in off-hours for Dev and Test environments, and implementing auto-scaling with AWS Spot Instances. 

Key takeaway: DevOps consulting is ideal for solving a specific challenge with the help of DevOps experts.

cloud cost optimization case study

Saving $14,000 a month on cloud infrastructure [case study]

Staff augmentation

Pricing: Time & Material.

Hire DevOps engineers to work as a part of your team for as long as needed.

You pay the engineer’s hourly rate and manage their activity. An outsourced specialist will adopt your favorite tools, approaches, and culture. Staff augmentation is typically cheaper than other models. After all, you don’t pay for overheads and risk management. 

Such DevOps specialists are used to geographically distributed teams. They can support any team – whether they use JavaScript, Python, or Go – working from the West to the East Coast, Europe, and Asia. You obtain on-demand access to top-tier talent at a fraction of the cost.

Outstaffing vs SaaS outsourcing

Take, for example, Yokoy – a Zurich scaleup that wanted to migrate its AI spend management app from GCP to Azure. Despite having 200+ employees, the company lacked both expertise and manpower for the task. By working with MindK, Yokoy hired the right DevOps engineer in less than 14 days. He helped them set up the cloud department, allowing Yokoy to focus on security and other key areas of the business. 

When the task is complete, a client can easily scale down the outsourced team. 

Key takeaway: staff augmentation is a flexible and cost-effective solution for long-term DevOps outsourcing.

A 5-star Clutch review describing how MindK helped a FinTech company with DevOps outsourcing

Read the Clutch review

Dedicated team

Pricing: Fixed Price; Time & Material.

Managed DevOps services can be a part of a larger outsourcing project. Besides Time & Material, it might use a Fixed Price model. You know the budget and timeline in advance, while the vendor takes on all risks.

A good example is a Choo member management system. Initially, the Norwegian company developed a separate project for each client using the LAMP stack. Scaling and adding new clients got pretty expensive. We migrated all those projects to a single microservice application with minimal adjustments to the code. Onboarding new customers became 10x cheaper. 

Thanks to Kubernetes and IaC, we lowered the business expenses on dynamic workloads (operations that require lots of computational power for short amounts of time). The team reduced operational costs, improved development efficiency, minimized bugs and downtime.

Key takeaway: dedicated teams reduce the risks of DevOps outsourcing and provide you with a defined budget + timeframes.

 

2024 DevOps Cost Breakdown
Infogram

 

How to outsource DevOps with minimal risk?

Selecting a reputable vendor is half the battle. Here’s how to win it in 5 steps.

Step 1: Define your goals and scope

Begin by clearly defining your DevOps goals and specific areas to outsource. Understand your project scope, desired outcomes, and the desired level of control. This step is crucial to align expectations and ensure a smooth collaboration. 

DevOps outsourcing RFP template

Editable RFP template from HubSpot (PDF) / Copy the MindK RFP template (Excel)

Step 2: Assess vendor expertise and experience

A vendor with a solid history of successful projects is more likely to provide the expertise you need. Here are the things to look for in a reliable DevOps partner:

  • Technical proficiency

A reliable vendor should understand key DevOps principles. They must know popular tools like Docker, Kubernetes, Ansible, Terraform, and various CI/CD options. 

Tech stack we use for DevOps outsourcing

MindK tech stack

  • Industry expertise

Look for a track record of successful DevOps projects in your industry. MindK, for example, has worked with companies in Healthcare, FinTech, Education, Advertising, Sustainability, Real Estate, and other industries. Vendors who pass the test will better understand your specific requirements and compliance needs.

  • Scale and complexity of previous projects

Evaluate the scale and complexity of past projects. Request detailed case studies. Not every vendor has experience implementing the GitOps approach in large enterprise teams or uses in-house Terraform frameworks for standardized project structure. Researching project complexity also showcases the vendor’s adaptability to diverse project environments.

  • Client testimonials and references

Requesting client testimonials and references can be invaluable. Look at independently verified review platforms like Clutch. Contact the clients yourself, if necessary. You’ll learn about the vendor’s performance, communication, and problem-solving capabilities. 

And don’t forget to note their communication style. After all, a good culture match is important in collaborative DevOps.

A 5-star review describing how MindK helped Bitrock with DevOps outsourcing services

Read the Clutch review

Step 3: Scrutinize security and compliance measures

Security is paramount in DevOps outsourcing. Especially, when dealing with sensitive data and mission-critical systems. 

Ensure that the vendor adheres to industry-standard security practices and complies with relevant regulations. Assess their data protection policies, encryption methods, and overall cybersecurity posture. Request documentation on their compliance with standards like GDPR, HIPAA, and CPRA.

Source: SANS 2023 DevSecOps survey 

Step 4: Sign a legally binding contract

Together with the vendor, agree upon the scope of work and terms. Determine the parties’ responsibilities with the provider’s help. Work out the communication plan, and confirm the arrangements with a contract. At MindK, we also recommend an NDA to protect your IP and confidentiality. 

Step 5: Maximize your Infrastructure as Code (IaC) coverage

As I said earlier, well-implemented IaC makes it easier for new engineers to take over the project – even if you have a high turnover. Instead of manually setting up servers, networks, and other resources, IaC uses code to define and automate these processes. 

Besides reducing the risks, it allows you to rapidly create, modify, and replicate infrastructure. You can track and manage changes to your infrastructure with version control. In essence, Infrastructure as Code is a powerful tool that leads to higher consistency, scalability, and better business outcomes.

infrastructure as code rework project summary

Rewriting Infrastructure as Code for a fast-growing FinTech [case study]

What to expect from working with a DevOps outsourcing company like MindK? 

Each project is unique. So the customer and DevOps services provider discuss the scope of work and agree on responsibilities on a case-by-case basis. But here’s a general trajectory you can expect.

DevOps outsourcing process at MindK

 #1 Immediate access to top talent at a reasonable cost

At MindK, we analyze the current state, quality, and pain points of DevOps implementation in a customer’s IT infrastructure. The analysis also shows the number of resources needed to cover client demands. We could then provide a single DevOps for support or a team of full-time engineers. 

The lack of local specialists and increasing costs are two reasons startups consider outsourcing DevOps responsibilities. Outsourcing providers typically have a well-established recruitment process to hire the most experienced specialists. MindK, for example, accepts only 4% of qualified candidates that stay with us for 5 years on average. 

#2 Faster delivery of a better product

Outsourced DevOps developers typically work in companies that breathe DevOps culture. Such teams are more productive and experienced with cross-functional Agile teams. A well-coordinated team is able to shorten the development cycle, speed up recovery from failure, and time-to-market.

Here’s a sample of tasks you can request from an outsourced DevOps team:

  • Migrating your application to the cloud.
  • Automating CI/CD pipelines.
  • Implementing microservices and container orchestration.
  • Creating Infrastructure as Code.
  • Carrying out thorough disaster recovery plans.
  • Supporting your infrastructure long-term.
  • Monitoring and SRE services.

#3 Reducing risks and IT expenses

A remote team of DevOps consultants, as a rule, takes on the financial risks of providing a service. It’s almost a guarantee that such a team has already engaged in a large number of different projects for companies in various industries. 

This allows them to be sure which tools and approaches work best for a particular project.

The potential risks of outsourcing can be foreseen and, most importantly, shared between you and the DevOps services provider. With enough homework, DevOps-as-a-Service can be as risk-free to the business as an internal team.

Conclusion

DevOps outsourcing may seem risky. Yet, the precautions I described can make it a reliable option for a long-term partnership. It can provide immediate access to rare specialists with hands-on experience on multiple projects and infrastructure types. It can dramatically reduce operational and staffing costs. Finally, it can serve as a powerful catalyst for the transformation of your business.

Eight years ago, DevOps became an integral part of each and every project at MindK. Since then, our engineers have worked out a battle-tested combination of processes, tools, and approaches that deliver measurable results for our clients.

Want to explore DevOps outsourcing services in 2024? Feel free to drop us a line and schedule a free consultation with our experts.

Let's start DevOps outsourcing services

Frequently Asked Questions

  • How much does it cost to outsource DevOps?

    Depending on the location, hiring a Senior DevOps engineer will cost you $40-$80 an hour. You can get a more precise quote by sending your requirements to MindK. 

  • How fast can your DevOps engineers start working on my project?

    It usually takes 2 weeks for our DevOps specialist to join your project from the first contact.

  • Can I swap your DevOps engineer for another specialist mid-project?

    Yes. If necessary, you can request another DevOps engineer that better matches your requirements. MindK will provide a specialist with the preferred skill set, location, and cultural values.

  • Does MindK have a minimum contract term?

    Our minimum term of engagement is between 3 and 6 months.

  • Why is DevOps important?

    DevOps helps organizations deliver software faster and more reliably. It decreases the number of errors and improves collaboration.  DevOps also helps businesses to respond quickly to changing market conditions and customer needs.

  • What is DevOps outsourcing?

    DevOps outsourcing involves hiring an external team or company to provide a variety of services:

    • Assessment of your current tools, practices, and team workflows necessary to adopt DevOps practices.
    • Designing a custom DevOps strategy to match your requirements.
    • Implementation of DevOps best practices, including Continuous Integration and Delivery, infrastructure as code, monitoring & alerting, DevSecOps, container orchestration, and more.
    • Cloud migration and cost optimization.
  • Can DevOps work with outsourced development?

    Absolutely. DevOps can seamlessly integrate with outsourced development teams. Effective communication, shared tools, and a common understanding of DevOps principles are essential for successful collaboration.

  • What are the benefits of DevOps outsourcing?

    Benefits of DevOps outsourcing include access to specialized expertise, cost savings, faster time to market, and easier team scaling. It also allows companies to focus on their core business while leaving DevOps to experts.

  • What are the potential risks and challenges of DevOps outsourcing?

    Potential risks of DevOps outsourcing include loss of control, miscommunications, security and compliance issues, delays, and low quality of work. You might also have to deal with language and cultural barriers, as well as differences in time zones. So it’s vital to work with reliable and skilled DevOps outsourcing companies. We wrote a detailed guide on how to avoid these risks, so check it out;)

  • How can I learn whether DevOps outsourcing is a good idea for my project?

    There are several situations in which you might want to go for DevOps outsourcing:

    • You never had a dedicated DevOps engineer As the project grows in size and complexity, your developers can no longer complete all tasks on time. So your deployments become more and more unstable. In such a case, you might need a dedicated DevOps engineer to take care of automation. 
    • You have a large project with some of the best DevOps practices like infrastructure as code and CI/CD pipelines. At some point, the person responsible for these tasks leaves your team or gets fired for doing a poor job. To save the day, you need an experienced DevOps engineer that has been working on large and complex projects. 
    • Your DevOps team can no longer handle the growing workload. So you need to hire more DevOps engineers with experience in your current tech stack.

    In all three cases, DevOps outsourcing services can be a viable alternative to in-house engineers. The choice mainly comes down to the availability of talent, their skills, and your budget. 

  • What should I consider when selecting a DevOps outsourcing partner?

    Here are a few factors to consider when looking for a DevOps outsourcing company:

    • Experience and expertise. Do they have a proven track record in DevOps projects for your industry? Do they have relevant experience with your tech stack?
    • Cost and quality. What is the total cost of their services? What is their pricing model? Can they provide a better cost/quality ratio?
    • Flexibility and scalability. Can they adapt to your changing requirements? Can they quickly scale the DevOps team if needed?
    • Compliance and security. Do they follow the necessary security and compliance standards? Can you sign an NDA before sharing the project details? 
    • Communication and collaboration. Can they effectively collaborate with your team? Do they understand your requirements? 
  • How can I measure the success of our DevOps outsourcing initiative?

    There are a few DevOps metrics you can measure to gauge the initiative success:

    • Lead time for changes. How long does it take you to go from a code commit to reaching a deployable state after the necessary tests? 
    • Change failure rate. What % of code changes lead to issues in production?
    • Deployment frequency. How often do you deploy new code to production?
    • Mean time to recovery. How long does it take you to recover from system failures?
    • Cost savings. How much money do you save by outsourcing DevOps?
    • Business impact. How does it affect your revenue, customer satisfaction, and downtime?
  • What does DevOps do?

    DevOps is a set of practices that aims to unify software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). It automates processes, encourages collaboration, and continuous improvement. This streamlined approach enhances software delivery. Therefore, organizations can respond swiftly to user feedback and market changes.

  • What is a DevOps as a service?

    DevOps as a service means outsourcing the implementation and management of DevOps practices to a third-party provider like MindK. This service includes tools, processes, and expertise to facilitate collaboration between development and operations teams. DevOps outsourcing helps organizations adopt the best practices without in-house expertise, that is free to focus on core business functions.

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