25 Jul 2011 State of the DevOps Union: A report on DevOps Down Under
Representatives from Shine Technologies attended the DevOps Down Under conference in Melbourne last Friday and Saturday. In this post I thought I’d cover a couple of the more interesting trends that came up at the conference.
DevOps brings together developers and sysadmins, and is thus all about people and culture. In the past, as the two areas of development and operations have become more specialized, collaboration has lessened. DevOps is a grass-roots movement aimed at bringing them back together – with a little help from the latest advancements in process and tooling.
One key theme from the conference was taking agile methodology and applying it to IT operations. Development has made the transition to agile, but operations could also take advantage. Examples of this include workflow visualization, responding to change in (deployment) requirements, and placing real value on the people who know the systems.
Another agile tenet that DevOps can learn from concerns feedback. Collaboration between the application developers and IT operations staff who look after an on-site installation usually only happens when things go wrong, for example investigating and patching a defect or performance problem.
However, it’s emerging that feeding-back information for when things are going right can also make a big difference to the ongoing success of a project. For example, metrics on the use of the system can be fed back to developers, whilst information on key changes and expected performance can be fed-forward to operations.
Another big factor in DevOps is getting deployments done faster and more reliably by taking advantage of maturing tools like Puppet and Chef. These facilitate automated deployments and machine-configuration, so that they are consistently done with the same process and there is less manual work, leaving operators to focus on more important things. This leads to having infrastructure-as-code, which allows a fine level of control and configuration management.
A big enabler in this space has been the advent of cloud technology. Provisioning can now be done faster, without the lengthy approvals and installation required for physical hardware. Furthermore, since the virtual machines are controlled by software, automation becomes easier, allowing operations to provision a series of machines, configure them and integrate them together.
Looking to the Future
In our opinion, the conference succeeded in bringing together people with different backgrounds, and highlighted the importance of people, agile operations, infrastructure-as-code automation, and – most importantly – effective collaboration. We look forward to working more in the emerging DevOps space!