It's the Ranger4 #DevOpsFriday5 series - to we will hear from Sam Marland. Take it away Sam!
1) What's your preferred definition of DevOps?
To me DevOps is a continuation of practices that have been carried out by Development and Operations teams for probably over 20 years in one which way or another. I think it's become more popular to call it DevOps over the last 1-2 years because technology and hardware have evolved to make it much more accessible.
I think the definition of DevOps is:
The continual building, testing and deployment of software projects through their lifecycle. DevOps doesn't have an end or a beginning particularly. It is a continuous process that runs as long as project runs.
The emergence of 'cloud' as force has also greatly accelerated the adoption of DevOps as it removes the barrier of upfront capital investment related to hardware. Tools such as Softlayer can help small organisations develop crucial yet robust DevOps processes quickly and affordably.
2) When people 'do' DevOps, what's the most common mistake you see them make?
The biggest mistake I see is projects/clients/organisations bringing in a 'DevOps expert' to help them get started and then not continuing to improve once they've left. I alluded to this above but I'll go in to more details here.
DevOps is a continually evolving and changing process which is at least slightly different on a per project basis. Understanding this early is important because it leads you to change the mindset of your team not just their short term practices. A colleague mentioned this to me recently, "if I have to carry out a task more than once a week it's high on my list for automation".
To be clear, I think bringing in someone with experience is key, it's just important that you use that person to change mindset. This will help ensure success as the good practices and principles will continue to be followed.
3) How do you recommend an organisation new to DevOps start?
I would recommend organisations start with a new project, often retrofitting DevOps to older projects can be painful and not always beneficial. Start fresh, get help and continually improve. Don't be afraid to throw things away if they don't work and always iterate.
4) What's your prediction for what DevOps will look like in 2020?
In 2020 I don't think DevOps will be such a topic of discussion because I think it will be pervasive. Everyone will be doing it without thinking because it's benefits will be well documented and accepted. I think the technology will continue to improve with things like docker become more popular and more integral to the way DevOps pipelines operate.
5) Where do you like to go to get a DevOps hit?
I like to read the blogs and articles that are posted at : http://news.ycombinator.com
It's a an aggregator of tech blogs that is based around startups. Those very startups are often at the forefront of what's possible with DevOps and are writing about it.
Sam's technical career began at age 14 when he started building website for local small businesses. He decided this was the career for him and went to university to follow his passion.
He graduated from Aberystwyth university in 2013 with a BEng having read Software Engineering.
He's worked for IBM on 3 separate occasions. Twice during his University degree, firstly as a developer in the WebSphere brand of products and then as a business intern on the prestigious Extreme Blue Internship. He now works as a digital consultant at IBM Interactive Experience focussing on DevOps, Agility, Mobile and Front End Development.
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