A sneak peak @ DevOps Days, Chicago #devopsdays

DevOps days, Chicago was a two day event and I was there only for a couple of hours during the first day. Primary intent of this trip is to explore how organisations see hybrid cloud in the context of DevOps. Though the sessions did not cover much on Hybrid Cloud, interactions during the breaks gave some insights. I thought of sharing the knowledge and inference gained from the small window of opportunity that I had. As a DevOps enthusiast, here is my bit of contribution.

The conference started with Bridget Kromhout’s introduction on “How much is that DevOps in the Window ?”. It set the stage for the DevOps days. I cannot agree more on – “There is no such thing as DevOps in a Box” and ideally no one can sell it. She also pointed out that it doesn’t make sense to classify DevOps based on industry. While classification of DevOps across industries does not make much difference, case studies pertaining to specific industry would help. If you had read my recent blog “Enterprising DevOps in Banking Sector” , I have covered the nuances of internalising DevOps specific to a banking sector. In the similar lines, some of the case studies like this , talks about DevOps in telecom industry. These help as reference points when a bank or telecom provider evaluates its processes. Even though the challenges, resistance, controls and the impact are different across industries, the resolution & the philosophy remain the same.

Talk on “Priorities Affect us all.. Differently” by Andy Domeier, emphasized on Priority Transparency, Empathy, Human Nature and Organizational alignment. Empathy is the beginning and essence of DevOps culture.

If you haven’t read Jeff Sussna’s blog on “Empathy: The Essence of DevOps”, take a chance to read it now.

Empathy takes away the friction between the individuals and let the individual to comfortably communicate priorities and issues to the rest of the team. Consider a scenario where Dev & QA teams use a shared infrastructure to release the builds and test it. This can raise conflicts between the teams on what is tested, who owns the environment and at what point in time an issue was identified etc. The issue covers a human side , which is empathy between the teams and a system side, which is the shared infrastructure.

Human Side reflects on the systems side. Thus, DevOps starts with culture. Communication, Motivation & a sense of ownership & pride decides the empathy. Automation becomes one of the means to resolve the conflict. The organisational alignment needs to look at these two aspects closely and structure the teams in such a way that the overlapping areas are the ones that can be automated and measured, and the rest are built through human empathy.

The next talk on “Controlling DevOps” by Brain Henery, was interesting as it touched upon the complex aspect of setting controls especially SOC2, on an agile firms. This brings in the business perspective to DevOps.

When we are talking about compliance, we are actually talking about resistance – risk mitigation and change control procedures. This ultimately maps to the business objectives. SOC2 [Service Organization Control] i.e. SAS 70 gives guidance to organisations that offer services to build trustworthy services, service consumers to mitigate the risks and auditors on how to conduct an audit. Service Organizations can choose the “Trust Principles” that best suite their needs and their customer needs. The question arises on how auditors can play a role in DevOps. Gene Kim’s “DevOps Audit Defense Toolkit” proposes bringing the auditors to DevOps. This brings structure to the way DevOps is done, so that the trust principles that are critical to a service organization are not compromised. You can read more about “DevOps Audit Defense Toolkit” @ https://plus.google.com/communities/103372669680429508474

Well, what about the tools ? “The Last DevOps Tool“ from Fletcher Nichol talked about some of the cool tools for DevOps. You can check out these tools @ https://github.com/fnichol

Here is my cent of knowledge [based on interactions during the breaks] on how DevOps & hybrid cloud work in organisations :

  1. Either the organisations are moving from private to public which case workloads are moved across clouds (or) expanding their private infrastructure to public, in which case no movement of workloads happen right now.
  2. Configuration management is already automated and choice of tools like Sensu for monitoring makes it simpler to automate.
  3. Acquisitions play a greater role in the hybrid cloud adoption.
  4. AWS VPC is considered as a hosted private clouds and is used in conjunction with the private clouds like VMWare.
  5. Security concerns top the concerns for adoption of public clouds.

I wish I had more time to interact with the folks, but had to rush to the airport. I will continue blogging on DevOps & Hybrid Cloud in the next coming days as I attend some of the cool DevOps conferences in the Bay Area.

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