Ranger4 DevOps Blog

#DevOpsFriday5 with Paul Swartout

Posted by Helen Beal on Fri, Jul 18, 2014 @ 10:07 am

It's the Ranger4 #DevOpsFriday5 series - today we will hear from Paul Swartout. He's DevOpsTastic!

1) What’s your preferred definition of DevOps?

I like to keep things simple and therefore think of DevOps as "a way of working or an agile methodology whereby developers and system operators work in harmony with little or no organisational barriers between them towards a common goal".

2) When people ‘do’ DevOps, what’s the most common mistake you see them make?

The worrying trend I see is that 'doing' DevOps is sometimes construed as 'hiring a team of DevOps engineers' or 'implementing some DevOps tools' and nothing more. The whole ethos behind the DevOps movement is to change the default ways of working and culture within the organisation so that the traditional silos of software delivery and systems management are removed thus making the process of delivering and supporting IT change - be that software, hardware or infrastructure - highly collaborative, seamless and effective.

3) How do you recommend an organisation new to DevOps start?

Implementing DevOps ways of working into an organisation should be seen as any other business change insofar as it has the potential to revolutionise the way the organisation functions and the culture within it. That isn't to say it should be seen as a monolithic all or nothing business change project. Far from it. I would recommend agreeing on a realistic view of where the organisation is and a vision of where it wants to be then start small and work towards it, inspecting and adapting along the way. It should be noted that seemingly small and relatively insignificant changes - such as having the development and operations team sitting together or using IRC - can sometimes make the biggest impact. I would also recommend attending events such as DevOpsdays or local DevOps meet ups as a way to learn from others and share ideas.

4) What’s your prediction for what DevOps will look like in 2020?

That's a really tough one. If you consider the pace of change over the last 6 or so years then trying to predict forward is somewhat foolhardy. I would hope that the DevOps of 2020 will be unrecognisable insofar as it will simply have become 'the' way to do things - much as agile has become within current mainstream software delivery. We have to remember that the DevOps approach is nothing new; if you go back to the very early days of software engineering when programmers fed punch-cards into mainframes the system operators and the programmers had to and did work closely together. OK so it wasn't what we would consider highly collaborative and effective by today's standards but as a way of working it wasn't far off. Somewhere along the line we seem to have forgotten this and allowed fiefdoms to grow. In 2020 I would hope that these fiefdoms will be no more and engineers will be able to do what they do best - create and deliver solutions people want.

5) Where do you like to go to get a DevOps hit?

My usual weekly hit comes from the DevOps weekly newsletter which is compiled each week come hell or high water by the legend that is Gareth Rushgrove. I also keep an eye on devopsdays website to see what's happening, when and where (it's also a good source of DevOps tweeters) and of course DevOpsGuys blog.

Paul SwartoutAbout Paul

I have spent over 20 years working in IT - which either means I'm very experienced or just very old. I am passionate about software and how it is delivered - since first encountering “agile” almost a decade ago I have been committed to the adoption and implementation of agile techniques and approaches to improve efficiency and output for software development teams. In 2012 I was given the opportunity to document some of my experience and observations which become "Continuous Delivery and DevOps: A Quickstart Guide"

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Topics: DevOpstastic, #DevOpsFriday5, DevOps