June 21, 2016

What is DevOps? Patrick Debois Explains


Godfather of DevOps
Patrick Debois (left) -- aka the Godfather of DevOps -- with John Willis.

Patrick Debois is 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”. As CTO of Small Town Heroes, an interactive video company, he puts these DevOps practices to the test on a daily basis to deliver mobile applications, and he recently organized a new event, Mobile Delivery Days.


Patrick Debois
Patrick Debois is the CTO of Small Town Heroes and Godfather of DevOps.
Linux.com: Why are so many organizations embracing DevOps?

Patrick Debois: Some organizations, of course, will just do it because it is a buzzword. I hope most organizations implement it to be more competitive in their business and become more efficient. In the early days, this was to be ahead of the pack, but these days it's a must to survive amongst others implementing it.

Linux.com: Why are individuals interested in participating?

Patrick: The cultural aspect of collaboration gives everyone an equal seat at the table; both dev and ops are important. And this means there is more mutual respect. This also creates more empathy for each other's problems, resulting in nicer environment to work in.

Linux.com: What's the primary advantage of DevOps?

Patrick: The biggest advantage is the insight that we work in a system. We have to optimize for the whole system and not just for the silo. By optimizing for the whole, we are improving for the business, not just for IT.

Linux.com: What is the overwhelming hurdle?

Patrick: We've been structured in the past to believe that putting different expertises in different groups makes them most efficient. Idle time is considered to be bad. Many people, individuals and bosses alike, believe that empowering individual people just doesn't work. I used the word “believe” on purpose because in some cases it's exactly that. Do you believe putting people together and having them collaborate is more efficient than strict documentation and rules? Overcoming that hurdle is the hardest one.

Linux.com: What advice would you give to people who want to get started in DevOps?

Patrick: To think. This might sound like strange advice, but many will get to know DevOps through some tool that is related to DevOps practices. The tools are important, but they only get you so far. I never wanted to set anything in stone, so people had to keep thinking. If you do need a guideline, think of the Agile Manifesto but with a broader mind. Find your most important bottleneck, and try to work together with different groups to improve on it. As you solve one bottleneck, you’re likely to find that your bottleneck has now moved to a new location. For example, you solve the bottleneck in your delivery pipeline, and then you find that the bottleneck has moved to your HR policy for hiring.

Learn more about DevOps from leaders in the field.

Read these Q&As with Kris Buytaert, one of the instigators of the current DevOps movement and organizer of DevOpsDays and Config Management Camp, and Michael Ducyknown by many as the goat whisperer and co-host of the Goat Farm podcast and blog focused on DevOps in the enterprise. 

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