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drinkme | DevOps

Regarding DevOps Methodologies

2014.10.25
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This question raises the whole issue of ‘what is a DevOps methodology’ and this matter is more properly treated in a monograph than as a response to a short answer question.  A methodology is a way of doing things along with the underpinning philosophy: not just the ‘how’ but also the ‘why’.  DevOps, of course, is a portmanteau of ‘Development’ and ‘Operations’ and (loosely) aims to bridge, unify, and integrate the requisite activities of system development with the ongoing imperatives of system operation.  The unshakable reality is that Development and Operations are intimately and inextricably intertwingled.  Unfortunately — and historically —  in many  organizations this intertwingled reality is made disjunct.  Development and Operations are organizational silos, each with a distinct mandate, and the space between the two is made murky; the essential continuity from one to the other is broken; the shared boundary is become an impervious wall across which code must be heaved wholesale with little understanding of what goes on from one side to the other.  DevOps is a formal acknowledgement of the two-way continuity betwixt and between the activities traditionally associated with Development and those of Operations.  DevOps represents a philosophical stance against siloing; instead of an impermeable wall between Development and Operations, DevOps imagines a highly permeable membrane; separate concerns, yes, but emphatically parts-of-a-whole.

DevOps as a formal concept is barely five years old; though the concerns, imperatives, responsibilities, tasks, and imperatives of DevOps have existed as challenges in the IT landscape for as long as developed code has been deployed to an operational environment.  DevOps has come to the fore as a contemporary effort to focus attention on long standing concerns.  There are many influences impacting the present conceptualization of DevOps with both the Agile and Lean methodologies counted among the most significant.  To a large degree, the base collection of DevOps methodologies derive from either Agile or Lean. I am not here going to detail the genesis and history of Agile or Lean; suffice to say they are both well known and well used by a sizable portion of IT organizations.

I myself have been doing DevOps far longer than DevOps has existed as a formal construct.  The reason for this is quite simple: I have been involved in a great many incubated greenfield projects characterized by great ambition and tempered by resource limitations.  I spearheaded development, oversaw testing, deployed to production, and monitored operations.  The knowledge and insight gained from wearing  so many hats in a small-team, limited resource environment has served me very well when engaged subsequently in the large-team, full-funding world.  And, of course, there are lessons learned when fully-funded, as well :-)

[Sidebar: though DevOps speaks predominantly to the boundaries, intersections, and transitions between Dev and Ops,  my experience suggests that the successful DevOps practitioner must possess an engaged awareness of activity throughout the SDLC.]

The gist of the preface above is that there are no canonical DevOps methodologies; rather there is an agglomeration of approaches lifted from other methodological systems that have been appropriated for use in the DevOps space.  That said, here are some specific examples . . .


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Categories : DevOps