S**t I Heard at the DevOps Summit

Updated on February 5, 2016 by UpGuard

Just like just a few years ago when we were in the early days of the cloud, we’re in the early days of DevOps. The DevOps Summit had by my estimation 50-100 people talking DevOps this year and I would imagine this will exponentially increase over the next few years as this topic continues to turn IT on it’s head. It is the shiny new toy for Enterprise IT! I was thankful to have the opportunity to be there and hear some of the best and brightest. Here are a few of the things I heard.

“No one is ever going to get Dev, Ops, Security and QA to like each other.”


I heard this statement a couple of different times in different forms and both in sessions as well as on the expo floor from some of the vendors. They would paint the world as if the QA guy is some nut job, the security guy should be in a padded room and that Ops and Dev are like oil and water and just don’t mix. I have to admit, I am a bit befuddled by the perpetuation of these stereotypes and was conflicted when hearing so-called experts spout these out as if it was simply the truth. There is no doubt that historically these silos have not been partners and certainly have divergent goals in some respect. But to suggest that they don’t ‘get the business’ is undermining, presumptive and not universally the case. As an industry, I am hopeful we can get past these stereotypes, pay homage to the challenges that IT transformation brings and not undermine the outstanding work these people do each and every day. Let’s stop talking about what they don’t do and start promoting what they can do.

“It’s great that you can go from code commit to deploy in a couple minutes, the problem is what’s in the pipeline.  It’s sewage."

This just made me laugh! But in this session @kevinbehr spouted his wisdom about don’t go chasing unicorns [cue music] and talked about the inherent bias we all have as IT professionals. Behr proclaimed that in science we don’t confirm what we already believe, but that in IT we tend to do just that. He parlayed his fears around us repeating the same mistakes as others and “Doing what high performers do may not make you a magical unicorn.” He used the analogy of Bruce Lee and not learning exactly how he threw punches, but to understand his mindset was most important in making it your own.

“Speed matters… it’s a competitive advantage.”

Speed wins!” is not a new idea, but is one that seems to be growing in importance. The State of DevOps study from @puppetlabs confirmed as much. New bubble or not, the likelihood that a start-up will try to outcompete the larger, entrenched enterprise on shiny new features and time-to-market is at an all time high. Cloud computing certainly has something to do with that and DevOps helps harness the power of the cloud model. The problem with speed, however, is everyone has a different definition (so said @Lounibos) who argued that with higher tempo there are higher consequences. I think that in the game of winning, speed wins at the end of the day however. Simply put....IT is changing and those that stay ahead of the curve win.

“Cycle time compression may be the most underestimated force in determining winners and losers in tech.” - Marc Andreessen

The irony of this whole post is writing this from an airplane in the clouds and using a platform in the cloud to publish it. ;-) We live in a pretty incredible world…..

Many kudos go @AndiMann for putting together the program - there were some great nuggets and I look forward to doing it again soon. Some other great wrap-ups, decks and reference links for the DevOps Summit in case you’re interested.