DevOpsDays Boston 2017
DevOpsDays Boston 2017 Conference Highlights how Devops Matures
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How this year’s DevOps is different
After speaking to conference organizer Dave Fredricks, I realize that the 2017 Boston DevOps Conference will be anything but a repeat of the 2016 DevOps Boston. Much has changed over the past year and a lot of the change is based on DevOps thinking.
Where as the conversation of the 2016 DevOps Conference was focused on Kubernetes and Docker and other shiny tools, this year’s conversation will be a nod to the fact that many shops have taken on these shiny new tools and now must figure out how to get value out of them. This year’s attendees, according to Fredricks, are focused on seeing what best practices are being used at different companies and how they can potentially bring these habits to roost at their shops. As such, the conversation is shifting from tools to workflow.
For example, Alizishaan Khatri will discuss automating communications to improve workflow and minimize false positive alerts. Leon Fayer will discuss the Lost Art of Troubleshooting in which he’ll highlight root cause analysis and minimizing disruption. These conversations highlight a maturation of the discussion from last year to this.
The path forward
Fredericks thinks that we are currently in the 3rd inning of the DevOps baseball game and that there are still many innings to go. Early adopters have jumped on and now some more mainstream companies are trying to bring on DevOps with varying degrees of success.
More large enterprises are trying to adopt DevOps. With deeper pockets, large companies can get into the game quickly. However, these large companies don’t know best practices nor do they have the management expertise required to achieve success. Early adopters jumped on when DevOps was growing over the past 5 years. Now, these larger companies are slowing down the rapid progress and causing the movement to become more reflective.
Many newly minted adopters are finding themselves trying to figure out the DevOps puzzle as well. The recent joiners find that many of their peers are only talking DevOps rather than fully adopting the movements tenets. And while there are many ways to adopt DevOps, in the end the emphasis has to be on building a strong foundation rather than simply looking at the golden halo that shines over successful implementers like Nordstroms and Netflixs.
The goal of large and small companies alike should be getting development and IT silos to work together along with SecOps and other groups. A large part of this success is based on each group forcing themselves to better understand the points of pain outside of their field of vision.
Managers vs. Leaders – the challenge for the future
The major challenge facing the DevOps movement today is not one of tools or workflow, but rather one of leadership. Perhaps it should not be so surprising for an industry that has grown so quickly that there are not enough leaders to effectively manage the shift towards DevOps.
Traditional leadership like that found at companies like IBM and HP is not designed to work within the framework of DevOps. Instead, leadership at large companies is very hierarchical and is designed to build in constraints. Large enterprises aren’t often not built on the foundation of trust. DevOps, on the other hand is designed to work with little hierarchy and maximum trust.
At present, the leadership in many newly minted DevOps shops is affecting the speed of adoption by making it slowdown. According to Fredricks, the leadership at many of these shops is just not the right leadership. Instead, many of the leaders are just managers who haven’t been given the training they need to be effective. This challenge of finding effective leadership will be the challenge for the next decade.
Future leaders will come from many areas. For example, Fredricks thinks that millennials will ease into these new leadership roles because they will have had a lot of exposure to how DevOps is supposed to work and what is required for it to work effectively. Millennials will come with a greater sense of collaboration and openness and team focus than traditional leaders. It is these attributes that will be important in bringing the DevOps movement into the future.
The upcoming DevOps2017 Conference will be a great opportunity to experience these themes and learn more about how DevOps has matured.
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