June 14, 2016

What is DevOps? Michael Ducy Explains

Michael Ducy is known by many as the goat whisperer and co-host of the Goat Farm podcast and blog focused on DevOps in the enterprise. He is a champion for the idea that you should staff your DevOps team with curious, hungry individuals (goats) from within your company, rather than from the outside. When he isn’t blogging, podcasting or speaking at conferences, you can find him at Chef where he is Manager, Solutions Architects.

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Michael Ducy
Michael Ducy is co-host of the Goat Farm podcast and Manager, Solutions Architects at Chef.
Linux.com: Why are so many organizations embracing DevOps?

Michael Ducy: The way consumers are interacting with business has changed greatly. More and more consumers interact with a company using technology. An app for your smartphone, a website, a kiosk, etc. are all ways that have changed how companies do business. There is also the expectation of consumers to have things instantly as well. Think of the ride sharing experience. A few taps, and a car has arrived. So with this change in the way we as consumers interact, businesses are realizing they need to change the way they deliver technology. Thus this "Digital Transformation" is driving the need to embrace a DevOps operating model.

Why are individuals interested in participating?

People want a better way to work. I think many realize that the way they've gone about IT in the past wasn’t ideal, and they are looking for something new and exciting. For many, their technology platforms have become stale, and they see DevOps as a way to experiment with new technologies and practices. For many, DevOps is that glass of water after being stranded in the desert.

What's the primary advantage of DevOps?

It's hard to boil it down to one thing. If I had to, I would say speed is a primary advantage. Speed in being able to experiment to find solutions, speed to quickly deliver technology to the consumer, and speed to respond to problems faster.

What is the overwhelming hurdle?

The overwhelming hurdle is that DevOps is a victim of it's own success. Because this operating model is helping companies change, many vendors are getting into the DevOps space. This creates a bit of confusion as to what DevOps is, or isn't, and often vendors shape DevOps to what they are trying to sell you. You also see this in the "fragmentation" of the DevOps space. Rugged DevOps, DevSecOps, Enterprise DevOps, and all these special branches of DevOps is just creating too much confusion in the market.

What advice would you give to people who want to get started in DevOps?

Start small and don't get overwhelmed. Two principles of DevOps you'll hear over and over is incremental change and continuous improvement. The DevOps space is so large these days that newcomers can easily get lost. Find a small area where you can make a change, learn from it, and iterate over those learnings to improve.

Learn more about DevOps from leaders in the field.

Read this Q&A with Kris Buytaert, one of the instigators of the current DevOps movement and organizer of DevOpsDays and Config Management Camp.

Read this Q&A with Patrick Debois, best known as the founder of DevOpsDays and as a creator of the DevOps movement, which explains why some refer to him as the “Godfather of DevOps.”

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