It's the Ranger4 #DevOpsFriday5 series - today's contributor is Lori Mac Vittie. She's DevOpstastic!
1) What's your preferred definition of DevOps?
I try not to define it if possible, but when pushed into a corner I'd define DevOps as an approach to operationalising application deployments that borrows from agile development and lean manufacturing principles. DevOps as a practice should be focused on finding and eliminating the bottlenecks in the deployment process using automation and optimisation techniques with careful attention paid to the handoffs between operational domains where delays and issues often occur most. That implies collaboration and better communication between groups, which almost always requires changes in the organisational structure as well as its culture.
2) When people 'do' DevOps, what's the most common mistake you see them make?
I think the single biggest mistake when starting to "do" DevOps is the tendency to jump in and automate everything without first figuring out what actually needs improvement. Automating poor processes just means you do it poorly faster, which isn't what you want. And then there's knowing what you want in the first place. Some folks are looking for time to market improvements, others more frequently deploys, others just need more stability and the ability to standardise. If you don't know what you're trying to achieve, you can't really say that automation is going to get you there.
3) How do you recommend an organisation new to DevOps start?
First they should sit down and evaluate what it is they want to achieve, then how they're going to measure that success, and then start working on what it is that's in the way and how applying DevOps to those obstacles might eliminate them. That might mean automation. In fact, it probably will include automation. But automating tasks that will have an impact requires that you first understand where the bottlenecks and obstacles are, which means defining and measuring first.
4) What's your prediction for what DevOps will look like in 2020?
By 2020 I think we'll be following in the footsteps of BPM (Business Process Management) systems and starting to really focus on the optimisation of operational processes. So we'll have a lot more integration of tools and frameworks and systems that are able to not just automate tasks but orchestrate operational processes and, more importantly, be able to provide the visibility into execution needed to move forward on optimising those processes for maximum business impact.
5) Where do you like to go to get a DevOps hit?
Lori Mac Vittie is a subject matter expert on emerging technology responsible for education and evangelism across F5’s entire product suite. Lori has extensive development and technical architecture experience in both high-tech and enterprise organisations, in addition to network and systems administration expertise. Prior to joining F5, Lori was an award-winning technology editor at Network Computing Magazine. She holds a B.S. in Information and Computing Science from the University of Wisconsin at Green Bay, and an M.S. in Computer Science from Nova Southeastern University, and is an O’Reilly author.
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