The Risks and Rewards of Outsourcing DevOps

Written By: Matt Rogish

4 min readMar 21, 2017


Why Should You Outsource DevOps?

Why outsource operations if you can simply hire a bunch of operations engineers and administrators and build and maintain your own infrastructure? It’s an important question.

Let’s take a deeper look at the top 4 concerns small to mid-sized SaaS, web and eCommerce companies have about outsourcing DevOps work.

1. RISK: “We’ve been burned by the proverbial long-lost contractor, who hacked together some semblance of an infrastructure then left without warning. It’s less risky to build a proprietary platform ourselves than to rely on an external resource.”

THE REALITY: You’re actually increasing your risk, since your small in-house team will be the only ones who understand your proprietary platform. Just like contractors, they can also disappear into the night. And in trying to hire Ops engineers you’re competing against us. We hire the best of the best, people who worked at companies like Netflix and Etsy.

Kubernetes contains 1.6 million lines of code by over 1,000 contributors. Getting infrastructure right requires foresight and deep expertise in platform engineering — a critical area that nonetheless doesn’t contribute to your core business value. Our engineers thrive on big challenges, and they’re focused 100% on platform engineering. Infrastructure built by world-class talent lowers your risk.

2. COST: “An outsourced DevOps team is more expensive than hiring in house.”

THE REALITY: You’d need to hire 2–3 engineers at a median salary of $175k/year, not including benefits. It’ll take us a couple months to get you running on Kubernetes. If you’re building your infrastructure from scratch, it might take you an entire year.

In year one, an outsourced solution is cheaper than the cost of two DevOps engineers. By year two, outsourcing costs less than even one DevOps engineer. It comes down to economies of scale — our people live and breathe Kubernetes platform engineering.

3. FLEXIBILITY: “Having an in-house DevOps team increases innovation and optimizes code reuse, modification and customization.”

THE REALITY: In-house innovation means trial and error, which equates to costly mistakes. You’ll build a platform, maintain it, grow it and constantly debug it — all the while trying to stay on top of the rapidly evolving technology and wishing your engineers were focused instead on your core business needs. And then one day you may decide your platform solution should be replaced with something else. What then?

We solve platform-wide problems rather than investing the time and resources in-house shops spend on costly, problematic, one-off solutions. We always think big picture. Every new customer that comes onto our platform drives innovation. Because we own the intellectual property (IP) for all the code we write, we always reuse it. Our platform provides more and more value over time because we continually add features to it.

And if it’s ever determined that Kubernetes isn’t the right solution, we’ll transition you to another platform. Leave the future proofing to us.

4. CONTROL: “We philosophically want to build, manage and own our own infrastructure. We don’t want to use code we don’t own, so outsourcing isn’t an option.”

THE REALITY: AWS offers RDS Database-as-a-Service so you no longer need to hire DBAs and Security Groups and VPC so you no longer need to hire network administrators. It makes as much sense to build and own your own Heroku or Kubernetes as it does to build and own your own AWS.

With AWS and Heroku, you never have the code in hand, so you couldn’t modify it even if you wanted to. Fairwinds gives you a perpetual non-exclusive license to do most anything you want with the code we give you — everything but open source or resell it. That’s real control.

Why Fairwinds?
Many CTOs, CEOs and VPs of Engineering at small and mid-sized SaaS, web and eCommerce companies don’t want to hire and manage an expensive DevOps team, and they recognize there’s little benefit and substantial risk to building and owning their own infrastructure.

You don’t need to be a platform expert. When you outsource DevOps to the Kubernetes experts, you get commercial off-the-shelf components integrated in a thoughtful way without the cost and headache of managing an in-house team.

Remember: the cheapest code is the code you didn’t have to write. Because our experts start from our own IP stack, our infrastructure solutions are holistic and elegant, and our engagements are shorter, cheaper, more streamlined — and simply better across the board.

Written By: Matt Rogish

Fairwinds — The Kubernetes Enablement Company

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