“The Six Million Dollar Man” was a 1970s TV series. In the show, NASA astronaut Colonel Steve Austin is severely injured in a crash and is “rebuilt” with bionic features that enhance his strength, speed and vision beyond normal human capabilities. The main tagline was, “We can rebuild him, we have the technology.”
I recently was watching an old episode and it got me thinking about how the show is analogous to the genesis of DevOps—specifically, how individuals with an operations background have to “rebuild themselves” to keep up with the speed and direction of the technology industry.
Over the years, there have been several decrees of “Unix SysAdmins are going away.” I have always firmly disagreed with that assertion. Rather, I believe that SysAdmins have to continually evolve their engineering skills to stay relevant and, more importantly, gainfully employed. It was also becoming increasingly apparent that the manual tasks of deploying infrastructure, keeping it patched, monitoring and the myriad other things a SysAdmin performs every day could not keep up with the demands of the increasing pace of the digital world and the onset of cloud computing. Infrastructure is moving rapidly to being automated and programmatically deployed and the talent needs to adjust accordingly to stay relevant.
With many enterprises adopting the agile methodology and moving toward a continuous integration/continuous delivery (CI/CD) pipeline, the culture of DevOps became a reality. Due to the increased velocity, there became a clear need for the core tenets of DevOps culture, which include culture, automation, measurement and sharing (CAMS). In Six Million Dollar Man terms, this was simply “Better … Stronger … Faster.”
Embracing DevOps through CAMS is similar to the superhuman enhancements that composed the rebuild of Steve Austin, which took him from man to bionic man. Here are the four ways that DevOps can increase your enterprise’s “bionic footprint”:
Even Austin’s bionic features only got him so far; the bionic man had to rely on his team to complete his dangerous missions unscathed. The same is true in the enterprise: Building a collaborative culture is crucial for success. Culture is paramount in maintaining overall velocity without adversely affecting quality. Developers and operations teams need to function in concert to ensure a resilient application and infrastructure.
Increase Velocity via Automation
Automation greatly increases velocity, akin to how Austin’s bionic legs allowed him to run at high speeds and make great leaps. Automating processes saves time, money and lets your team focus on more complex tasks—a win-win for productivity gains.
Steve Austin had a bionic left eye that enabled him to see in the dark as well as detect heat. This provided him precise measurements of his surroundings in any situation, enabling him to gain the upper hand against adversaries. Similarly, measurement gives insight into all aspects of the software development life cycle, application performance and other key metrics. Without insight and transparency into measurement, your team is essentially working blind.
Austin had a bionic right arm that had the strength equivalent of a bulldozer. Strength and resiliency are increased by teams that work and communicate effectively made possible by DevOps.
To summarize, I strongly believe that the mantra of “Better … Stronger … Faster” should be that of every DevOps team moving forward. DevOps’ parallel of CAMS upgrades your team’s capabilities to perform more productively. There is no end game; the objective is about continuous improvement, velocity and sustainable growth. Enterprises that want to undergo digital transformation need to adopt this cultural approach to increase their “bionic footprint” to succeed.
About the Author / Mike D. Kail
Mike D. Kail is chief innovation officer at Cybric. Prior to CYBRIC, Mike was Yahoo’s chief information officer and senior vice president of Infrastructure, where he led the IT and global data center functions for the company. Prior to joining Yahoo, Mike served as vice president of IT operations at Netflix, where he was responsible for employee technology and various cloud engineering components. He has been widely recognized for his insightful industry commentary on social media Twitter, and was recently named by the Huffington Post as one of the “Top 100 Most Social CIOs on Twitter.” Connect with him on LinkedIn and Twitter.