DevOps Defined

DevOps used to be taboo before it had a name. Software professionals worked for stuffy corporations with operations staff IT that didn’t want their dirty little ones-and-zeroes on their pristine network architectures. You had to maintain a tight relationship with your favorite Microsoft-certified network engineer. Maybe you both liked the same football team, maybe you both had kids about the same age, something was needed to gain trust. All he had ever heard was this Java stuff didn’t cost anything and had to be insecure. And, after all that Microsoft training he wasn’t going to spend another hour learning anything unless the boss sent him away for training on the company’s dime.

The open source community was like a toy store with no prices. You just find what you want, download it, and play with it. If it breaks, you ask for help, or you download a newer version and most of the time, that worked better. As an early user of open source there were no cons to the debate or question as to whether we should use it. The only reason not to use it has always been because someone with more executive decision making authority says no. I have had only 3 negative experiences related to software of any kind in over 30+ years. First, I have had to re-install the Microsoft OS many, many times only to rid my systems of viruses or malware. Secondly, I had put in bugs against the Microsoft SDK that were never fixed in a timely manner to support my work. And, thirdly, open source has always pleased me, done the job, allowed me to fix, allowed me to create new things, and only human decision other than my own has disallowed the use of it many times even though I knew we could use the newer versions safely and securely.

Operations folks are starting to come around and understand the installs of tools and software that’s not just Microsoft Office. And, while UNIX/Linux admins know about network protocols, firewalls, and ports, things like relational databases, agile development tools, enterprise servers, software repositories, and even micro-services use ports and protocols too. DevOps is changing the IT help-desk of the past. New skills are needed for IT folks that don’t code.  I do, however think this is a good thing. There should not be the separation of network and application development like there has been. This isn’t everywhere but it’s a common theme in many large organizations. Good news is, it will change with time.


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