7 takeaways from DevOps Days Austin

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I spent Tuesday and Wednesday at DevOpsDays Austin and continue to be impressed with the enthusiasm and collaborative nature of the DOD events.  We also managed to have a very robust and engaged twitter backchannel thanks to an impressive pace set by Gene Kim!

I’ve still got a 5+ post backlog from the OpenStack summit, but wanted to do a quick post while it’s top of mind.

My takeaways from DevOpsDays Austin:

  1. DevOpsDays spends a lot of time talking about culture.  I’m a huge believer on the importance of culture as the foundation for the type of fundamental changes that we’re making in the IT industry; however, it’s also a sign that we’re still in the minority if we have to talk about culture evangelism.
  2. Process and DevOps are tightly coupled.  It’s very clear that Lean/Agile/Kanban are essential for DevOps success (nice job by Dominica DeGrandis).  No one even suggested DevOps+Waterfall as a joke (but Patrick Debois had a picture of a xeroxed butt in his preso which is pretty close).
  3. Still need more Devs people to show up!  My feeling is that we’ve got a lot of operators who are engaging with developers and fewer developers who are engaging with operators (the “opsdev” people).
  4. Chef Omnibus installer is very compelling.  This approach addresses issues with packaging that were created because we did not have configuration management.  Now that we have good tooling we separate the concerns between bits, configuration, services and dependencies.  This is one thing to watch and something I expect to see in Crowbar.
  5. The old mantra still holds: If something is hard, do it more often.
  6. Eli Goldratt’s The Goal is alive again thanks to Gene Kims’s smart new novel, The Phoenix project, about DevOps and IT  (I highly recommend both, start with Kim).
  7. Not DevOps, but 3D printing is awesome.  This is clearly a game changing technology; however, it takes some effort to get right.  Dell brought a Solidoodle 3D printer to the event to try and print OpenStack & Crowbar logos (watch for this in the future).

I’d be interested in hearing what other people found interesting!  Please comment here and let me know.

11 thoughts on “7 takeaways from DevOps Days Austin

  1. Rob,

    Great post. The energy was fantastic and the focus on culture is key. I had a number of conversations with medium to large sized organizations who are experimenting with a devops based mentality but are running into institutional resistance 2 and 3 layers up the org chart. There was even an open spaces section about how to hack culture through metrics and hackdays. The goal being to prove devops works to the higher pay grades.

    I think a lot of managers are going to find Gene’s book on their desks.

    Dan Bettinger

  2. I think once DevOps matures out of its incubation, it will simply be “Agile Ops”. I see the “CAMS” concepts in many places of businesses that don’t have anything to do with “traditional Dev” – for example in the desktop environment – lots of organization moving to virtual desktops, virtualization of applications, Bring-your-own-device concepts and supporting mobile/telecommute and remote workers. These are all things that feed the concept of “CAMS”. While I’m a strong advocate of the enthusiasm and excitement of developers, I am a realist too. Once Devops “tools” mature, the developer role will be less concerned with the operations role and if he or she *IS* concerned with the operations role then the “culture” has failed and everything down stream of CAMS is moot. If we don’t recognize this, then we raise a bunch of jack of all trades, master of none or we never do anything beyond preserving the “1 percent” and are forever a niche.

    • I’m looking forward to this be “just how it is done” like in JIT manufacturing. It took a long long time for that (and even now is being re-learned in response to out sourcing).

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  7. One team that is frequently left out of DevOps discussion is the QA team but their role is critical. The QA team work through the functional testing but also should help test the deployment and monitoring process. I’ve seen several times where the QA environment is the place the Ops teams go to test out new deployment scripts.

    I agree there is a problem getting more Devs into the DevOps movement. I think there is a case to be made for having the Ops teams “reach out” to the development teams. My background is primarily software but I love working with infrastructure and ops teams (has to do with wearing many hats in a small dev team). I find that many developers just don’t understand networking, server administration, or even basic rack cabling (they do tend to understand databases more). These are topics that are just not covered in most colleges, software books or many software conferences.

    My recommendation is for the operations teams to start teaching developers “the other side of the equation”. Maybe this can be done with lunch ‘n learns or just a trip through a data center. That involvement will not only help demonstrate what operations looks like but it will also get the teams to know each other better. Many times the communication between developers and the ops teams is only through email or in meetings after something went wrong. Face to face time in an informal setting will help to build trust between the teams.

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