Why is DevOps one of the hottest topics?

I feel like overnight everyone has started talking about DevOps. As a Senior Program Manager for DevOps at Microsoft, I even have DevOps in my title.  But why now?  Why is DevOps one of the hottest topics?  It is because it hurts the most now.

I was always taught and believe you should fix what hurts most first. Historically, the inability to produce code that our users wanted within budget and in a timely manner was the biggest pain.  Development took months, if not years, and at the end of all that time and effort, what we delivered was not what our users expected.  Our development process had to be fixed first because that was what hurt most then.

Because the process of software development was so bad, the quality of the code was also in question.  Buggy code forced operations teams to build barriers between developers and the environments upon which their code ran.  Every change had to be approved by numerous people. The deployment of the code had to be documented and handed off to an operations guy to execute.  This information may have been accurate at some point, but is now out of date.  The deployment of software was a ritual that required all hands on deck, staying until the middle of the night, and forced people to be on call.  The code had to be frozen and everyone had to help get the code deployed.  Development and operations teams had to come together and determine which machines were available, what changes, if any, had to be made, what files had to be copied where, and a laundry list of other items.  The configuration and deployment of the code and infrastructure was an entirely manual process.  To try and protect themselves from system outages, the organization actually further slowed the process. 

Agile, TDD, extreme programming, Scrum, and Kanban have changed the way software is developed and enable development teams to add value very rapidly.  However, many teams struggle to deliver that value to their customers.  The process of taking the output of the development team and deploying it to environments to share with others can be a challenge. Our new style of development magnified this problem because we wanted to deploy as soon as we saw value in our product.  However, our deployment process could not keep up.  After fixing development, what hurt most was deployment.

I see a future where DevOps will go the way of Agile and Continuous Integration.  It will be something we used to talk about but now we expect to be there.  It will be an afterthought.  What keeps me up now is figuring out what will hurt most once DevOps goes the way of CI.

Comments (1) -

  • I quite like reading through a post that will make people think. Also, many thanks for permitting me to comment!

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