DevOps at Scale

DevOps at Scale

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DevOps means ... Manager's Choice

Lead Recruiter at Voxer

The term "DevOps" is being used in many ways. Here are a few definitions I've come across :

DevOps is the blending of tasks performed by a company's application development and systems operations teams.

"DevOps is an emerging set of principles, methods and practices for communication, collaboration and integration between software development (application/software engineering) and IT operations (systems administration/infrastructure) professionals."

"To me, devops is about developers and operations collaborating to deliver software changes more rapidly, more reliably, and with higher quality. The phrase Continuous Software Delivery summarizes the goal of devops quite well for me."

And perhaps this paragraph captures it best of all ...

"My argument here is that the guy I’m trying to hire, John, I want him to be a certain kind of guy and the best way I have to describe what I want is Devops Engineer. I’m looking for an operations guy , but I want him to be open to developers, consider engineering and the company as a whole, be focused on delivering value and not rathole into fights about technology or claim root access only on principle. I want that guy to have great communication skills and the interest to explore what’s besides his infrastructure, to be wanting to borrow as much good he can find in other disciplines across the organisation. And then of course there is the practical part, the desire to automate and escape a boring manual routine, the familiarity with cloud that willing or not has powered the movement, and even more specific things like configuration management. You may argue that this is just a good engineer or what systems engineers are becoming, in other words nothing new under the sun. And you may be right, but job titles are in many ways just another way to communicate, to broadcast an intent and a need."

What does DevOps mean to you?

  • Comment (46)
  • February 20, 2012
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  • Jon B.


    Jon B.

    Technology Contributor -, Globe and Mail

    Fascinating question ..

    Mostly, there are two triggers that result in 'DevOps' starting to trend on a given Enterprise's firewall cache.

    Company A has migrated IT/IM to completely modernized tool sets. In an SME, this is often undertaken to replace a series of evolutionary tool sets to reboot the enterprise wholesale. Sometimes this happens when the company is formed or merged.

    Company B has added a disruptive tool set to achieve a new business goal and it requires implementation and adoption. They have a legacy Enterprise serving the business and its customers adequately.

    Management for Company A and B now have to coordinate IT/IM and the rest of the business in an effort to encourage, and if needs be, enforce evolution. Both companies face resistance for pretty much the same reasons - but from polar opposite points of view.

    This is when the cache log starts to change .. :)- ..

    Company A faces the problem of not meeting expectations for improvement because almost everyone in the organization will need to intimately change the way they preform their job to service the greater business.

    Often, hopefully only at the outset, this means more time working with the new tool set and less doing what they perceive to be their actual jobs. Which is when most people discover the detailed ticket they put in regarding better UI for CRM isn't going to be addressed.

    Company B faces the problem that regardless of who is driving the new tool set - IT/IM will be responsible for its operation and integration - which also then defers that CRM ticket they promised to address for some time.

    Depending on how the tool set was specified and by whom - IT/IM is saddled with fulfilling the marketing expectations that came with the tool set while undertaking new maintenance and assurance responsibility of the overall business system .. while the business is ongoing .. Which can be career limiting ..

    By virtue of my specialty - I've done Company B work most of my adult career.

    Thus, I think the best way to describe DevOps may that is it a practical application of Evangelism and Literacy Outreach to Systems Engineering and Human Resources.

    I think the practice dictates a broader intellectual engagement on the part of the responsible System Engineer(s) and Business Managers to discourage devolvement into the 'Nerds' vs 'Villagers' culture that limits so many companies and dialogues these days.

    Hence the promise of DevOps ( we used to call it 'Remedial Project Management' ) in an a world were IT/IM is increasingly - the business - of the business ..

    Cheers and best wishes - Jon

  • Andrey G.


    Andrey G.

    Senior System Engineer at Textkernel

    Plus.. add here NetOps, also...

  • Mark B.


    Mark B.

    Owner at Mark Burgess

    What ever the definition, I think the main point so far has been in splitting off a special use-case for companies that require a greater agility in their change management. This is not likely to work for heavily regulated organizations, but as a movement, I think devops has greater ambitions than web 2.0 companies. Then the title probably doesn't reflect the ultimate intentions so well for the long-term.

    To my mind, the biggest mistake is to say that "infrastructure is code", when the last thing developers need to be doing is reprogramming their infrastructure constantly through an API. When I wrote CFEngine, the idea was to make infrastructure "documentation" rather than code.

  • Susan Ye L.

    Susan Ye

    Susan Ye L.

    Laird Unlimited Editorial Services - abridge cultural divides

    infrastructure is agreement on the norm ops and disaster responses, calibrated by money and human hours, also heavily depended upon political climate, ever changing laws and regulations. A good infrastructure manager knows how to play politics with all vested parties and news media.

  • Henk L.


    Henk L.

    devops engineering is social engineering

    I wrote this two months back: My own devops manifesto:

    BTW, I'm available for a devops job in central NL.

  • Simon Pierre N.

    Simon Pierre

    Simon Pierre N.

    Manager chez Airmis

    I have to disagree with 2 parts of definition given by alexander :
    1/- DevOps is not a job
    2/- Continuous Delivery is not a goal : it's a consequence

    For me DevOps is "just" a new way of thinking/working between dev and ops. It's a wonderful opportunity to break the "Berlin" wall in IT services.

  • Elaad T.


    Elaad T.

    Senior Consultant and Trainer at 123Completed

    Just yesterday I attended a meetup where Adrian Cole, Founder of JClouds, was the key speaker. One of his quotes said: "Notice there's no / between Dev and Ops" and received a slide of its own in the presentation.
    This captures nicely what Simon Pierre refers to when saying "break the Berlin wall".

    Recently I presented GigaSpaces' new tool for automation of application deployment and management to a development team manager of a customer. He said something like: "I'm exaggerating a bit, but I don't care about the troubles of the operations guys who need to install and manage the application I wrote. I know it's important for the success of the product, but I'm not payed to be concerned with it."

    I think this (true) story describes the gap that DevOps should cover.

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