There's a certain something in the air within the DevOps community right now. The movement is, to a certain extent, becoming a victim of its own success. For where there is buzz in tech, there is money. And where there is money, there are recruiters, there is marketing, there are misinformed and over-simplified tech articles and, let's face it, there are carpetbaggers galore.
Alright, so I'm speaking somewhat tongue in cheek. And yes, OK, the light shines real nice through my glass walls. Maybe I should put this rock down ;)
So mea culpa... we too have hitched our little wagon to the DevOps freight train. In our defence we'd argue that a tool that gives devs and ops alike visibility of configurations is a pretty good fit. Most vendors, if responding honestly, would have to admit though that there's more than a little bit of truth in this butchered Beyonce lyric:
"If you wanna sell it then you better put 'DevOps' on it"
This is not a problem in and of itself. When vendors and recruiters alike propagate confusing (or confused) interpretations of the term though it is damaging. It waters down what DevOps means, it detracts from its benefits.
So what is happening that is causing concern? Well when in doubt, ask The Twitter. Here is a sample of some recent tweets from the DevOps world:
Something someone actually said to me today on the phone: "As a Devop, I'm responsible for…"
— Eric Shamow (@eshamow) October 1, 2013
"The devops team" :(
— Alex Drahon (@adrahon) October 1, 2013
The price of lunch is having to digest the phrase "enterprise devops" on a Microsoft slide
— Matt Sauve-Frankel (@kisoku) September 28, 2013
lies, damn lies and devops
— Andrew Clay Shafer (@littleidea) September 27, 2013
So yeah, there is definitely some frustration being vented. Misappropriation of the term "DevOps", and misinterpretation of its meaning, clearly being the main areas of concern.
No one should really be surprised though. This is a pattern we've seen many times before, from SOA to BPM to Agile to Lean. The Gartner hype cycle illustrates it as well as anything:
Frustration from early proponents regarding the direction of DevOps are one indication that we could be nearing the peak of inflated expectations. Inflated expectations are, after all, the norm when marketing messages drift too far from reality.
Is this a cause for concern? Of course it is. The cultural, procedural and tooling improvements offered by a properly implemented DevOps strategy are extremely beneficial for companies of all kinds. If these are drowned out in the noise and fluff of the current hype then this is undermined. The term DevOps will be tainted and the opportunity to share in its benefits will be harder to sell. We're not there yet, but if you start seeing "DevOps Certification" being advertised we're all screwed ;)
EDIT: I spoke too soon - http://www.amazon.com/DevOps-Complete-Certification-Kit-Series/dp/1486456146
At the end of the day the continued success of DevOps as a movement or a philosophy will require the support of both the community and the area's associated vendors. Two-way respect is required. Let's all hope that this doesn't get forgotten in the rush to capitalize on the current hype. No one wins in that situation.
* NB: I know I'm setting myself up for a smackdown by blogging about this as a vendor. I'm OK with that. I think it's important that we have the conversation, even if I take a beating as a result of it :)