I just returned from an amazing time at the first Camp DevOps in Boulder, CO. It was held at University of Colorado, Boulder and in conjunction with Gluecon 2014. This is the first conference I have attended that was singularly focused on DevOps. I found the three track format at the show had something for everyone. A technical track, a business track and some great DevOps round table discussions with great panel speakers. My takeaway was that DevOps is not just a cultural thing as some claim. DevOps needs to be perceived more as a business process or it will just be a passing fancy. Some may disagree with that view but 35+ years of IT industry experience gives me a bit of a long view.
Gene Kim enlightened me on some issues in his recent response in the Wall Street Journal with some facts about what is going on within traditional legacy Fortune 500 companies. They are implementing DevOps strategies in a big way. My take is that it is not noticeable within the Fortune 500 because DevOps is viewed by the Fortune 500 as a business process, as opposed to being an implementable organizational structure. Sort of like the DevOps is not really a job title argument. If it is a business process, no one has DevOps in their title, but it doesn’t mean DevOps is not being done there.
I think most of us want to see DevOps cross the chasm and become a de facto standard. Since Patrick Debois first coined the term “DevOps” there is no question that DevOps has developed into a global movement. Of course DevOps has its cynics. Pessimists say DevOps is a new name for a Sys Admin, the flippant say DevOps is just a front for some fanatical developers trying to liberate the world from operations or DevOps is just some foolish operations people trying to make nice with Developers. That it means the extinction of QA job is another familiar mantra.
I’ve spent a lot of time trying to understand the lack of cohesiveness within the DevOps movement and everyone telling everyone else what DevOps is and what it should be. As with anything else the marketplace will decide the future and fate of Devops. During this process, I’ve begun to notice a common misconception that I think is fueling much of the reactions that some people have to DevOps ideas. Holding DevOps back is not a technology problem or a cultural problem.
In order for DevOps to happen I realized we all need to keep pushing this philosophy forward. We cannot worry ourselves with culture, commercialization or technology. Technology plays a critical role in facilitating solutions to DevOps problems. However, DevOps itself is, at its core, a business issue. The most fundamental business process in any company is getting from concept to completion with the end result of profitability.
If you remove the perspective of the business process, what is left? You’ve got a whole lot of people and groups doing their own thing. Lost is the motivation to battle inefficiency, duplication of effort, turf wars, and disparate groups. It’s a free for all.
If we don’t let DevOps take its course within the market place and embrace the business process, jobs are lost. We are able to do what we do because of the business of DevOps. If we don’t all push the commercialization of DevOps then we have nothing but a chat room to talk philosophy.
The sole purpose of DevOps is to enable, big and small alike, business to react to market forces quickly, efficiently, and reliably. Without the commercialization, there is no other reason for us to be talking about DevOps problems, much less spending any time solving them.