DevOps is coming to Virginia June 18 and 19. The Jenkins User Conference is being held in Alexandria and one of the keynote speakers is none other than Gene Kim—one of the original leaders of the DevOps movement. I had a chance to speak with Kim about what he plans to present and about his thoughts on the current state and future direction of DevOps in general.
Kim told me he’s looking forward to speaking in front of the Jenkins User Conference audience. One of the core elements of his presentation will be a closer look at the principles and patterns of successful DevOps organizations and the lessons we’ve learned so far as a DevOps community. He told me he’s not interested in “unicorns”—the big name companies like Netflix or Facebook that were early adopters and DevOps innovators. He is more interested in the “horses”—ordinary companies effectively employing DevOps to do extraordinary things.
Over the last year or two I have written a number of articles around the theme of DevOps being undefinable. I’ve asserted that there’s no default DevOps solution and that if you asked 10 different organizations to define what DevOps means you’d get 15 different answers. Gene Kim does not agree.
Kim told me that he takes the completely opposite position—that there are unmistakable characteristics of DevOps. An organization can choose to call something DevOps, but according to Kim if it’s lacking in these core elements it will not succeed.
He said that there are certain core principles that comprise DevOps and enable organizations to develop and operate faster. The principles Kim listed were peer review, less management approval required, rigorous automated testing, the ability to create entire environments on demand, and one-click deployment. Many of the core elements are a reflection of the culture shift required to successfully implement DevOps.
Kim didn’t just pull this stuff out of thin air, either. He and some partners recently shared the results of a comprehensive study of 9,200 organizations scattered across 110 countries. The research revealed that the high-performers—those who have successfully embraced these core principles—do better than the non-high-performers by two orders of magnitude or better.
Put another way, those organizations that are employing DevOps effectively are poised to blow their rivals completely out of the water. DevOps isn’t just a different approach to infrastructure or development—it has a direct impact on the bottom line. One part of the study found that high-performers have 8,000 times faster lead times than their peers. How can an organization that isn’t using DevOps compete with a rival that can produce 8,000 times faster than they can?
That brings me to the other aspect of the Jenkins User Conference that Kim is excited about: the diversity of the organizations represented there. Both in terms of the companies represented by the presenters and the companies represented by the attendees, it’s apparent that DevOps has reached a critical mass of mainstream adoption. Organizations from Agilant and AirBus to IBM, Perfecto Mobile and Pivotal have respected professionals sharing knowledge about DevOps.
If you happen to be in the Alexandria area or plan to be in a couple weeks you should try to go to the Jenkins User Conference. If you’re company isn’t using DevOps you’re already behind the learning curve. If you don’t catch up soon a competitor will out-perform you by two orders of magnitude and you won’t have a company anymore.