All About DevOps: 360 Degrees of 2013's IT Buzzword

DevOps is not a new term, having been popularized at least four years ago. But the movement really seems to be gathering momentum in 2013, possibly contending for buzzword of the year. But, what exactly is it? 

Well, here’s the Wiki entry if you need to get caught up. More often than not, though, DevOps – like beauty – is in the eye of the beholder. Your optimum DevOps state will likely depend on which side of the development/operations fence you live. 

Everyone can agree on several basics, however: Organizations need to achieve continuous delivery to meet existing market demands, and better coordination, flexibility and release automation will be needed for that to happen. 

To spur conversation on DevOps, we’re starting a new column, Decoding DevOps, covering the emerging methodology and the critical role that Service Virtualization and other automation tools play. By reviewing what others are saying about the movement, we hope to piece together some best practices and, perhaps, bring some of our own insights to the table. 

We welcome your comments and suggestions as we move forward. 

Devopsdays: Silicon Valley 2013 Kicked Off Today 

We wish we were in sunny California today for the start of the two-day Devopsdays event in Silicon Valley. A couple dozen talks are scheduled, including Adrian Cockcroft’s intriguingly titled “Beer, Pineapples and Bottlenecks.”’s Scott King is there to represent, and we hope he’ll have an update for us here on the blog next week. 

Meanwhile in Amsterdam … 

Sam Eaton posted his presentation from the just-concluded devopsdays in Amsterdam on the “concept of trust, and how to scale it beyond individuals.” 

Eaton argues that learning to trust the abilities of those around us is a foundational element of DevOps because once you cross that bridge, your life becomes more predictable. You also create on your team a sense of community where people work better together and feel comfortable telling the truth. As Aretha Franklin would say, you need an environment of R-E-S-P-E-C-T. 

The other thing trust does is put pressure on each team member to come through for others. Eaton suggests teams draw up agreements, basically covenants of understanding about protocols and practices. Define what success looks like and how it will be measured. Here’s a sample

He advises starting small with a group of early adopters to prove the concept. After delivering a victory, you can start to evangelize. And, he stresses, development should be on production-like environments and testing should use data as close to real as possible. (Think Service Virtualization.) 

Coates: Every Developer Needs Dev Tools that Fit Modern QA Platforms 

Over at IT ProPortal, Paul Coates of Riverbed Technology writes that the cloud and the rise of DevOps are changing the nature of application delivery. He argues that developers need access to tools that enable proactive implementation of production-level test practices much earlier than in the past. 

“Imagine if an [application delivery controller] could help replicate an entire production environment during the development and test phase,” Coates writes. 

Now, where have we read that before? Oh yeah, here, here and here

Survey: Traditional Approaches Spend More Time ‘Fighting Fires 

Over at, Krishnan Badrinarayanan writes about a survey of 620 engineers on the challenges of getting through day-to-day activities, including deploying changes, automating tasks and communicating among teams.

The pretty consistent bottom line was that DevOps-oriented teams fought fewer fires due to errors, less time fighting through inefficient communications – and they spend fewer hours at work. 

“According to these results, DevOps team members lead a more balanced life, spend more time on automation and infrastructure improvement, spend less time fighting fires, and work less hours (especially outside of normal business hours),”  Badrinarayanan writes. 

The process isn’t easy, however. Badrinarayanan says the research indicates that adopting DevOps “takes discipline and initiative to bring development and operations teams together.” 

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Tags: devops, release automation, service virtualization


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