Day One at DevNation – through a DevOps Lens

With the individual tracks coming to close on Day One at DevNation conference, I wanted to share the key takeaways, funny comments, and facepalm moments I experienced.

Agile architecture and design with Neal Ford 

One of the most compelling presentations of the day, Neal validated a lot of the decisions that I have been involved in over the past 5 months in a DevOps enablement team; specifically around the most memorable quote of the talk:

“Defer design decisions until the last possible responsible moment. The longer the delay, the more relevant the data for design.” -Neal Ford

We spend a good part of our time in Red Hat IT talking about solutions surrounding things we want to do. The director of my department is frequently known to say things similar to “stop talking, get ^#@$ done” and I think it is a very healthy opinion and supportive of what Neal is suggesting. I would much rather spend my time with the team I’m on trying to solve for a problem, rather than discussing tooling ad nauseum.

New buzzword for something I knew as something else:  micro-services

How Netflix uses DevOps for reliability and developer velocity with Jeremy Edberg

Hate to say it, but as a “project management professional” and DevOps wannabe, there was a lot in this presentation that made me cringe or go “how do I even??!” My general thought is that just because you can release code into production every 10 minutes doesn’t necessarily equal value to your customers every ten minutes.  Not providing that visibility to a room of engineers who cheered at the quote below made me blanch… isn’t DevOps supposed to also be about test automation? Why are we cheering no testing?

“[We are] releasing several times a day to production with no testing.” -Jeremy Edberg

Key takeaway: With great power comes great responsibility.  🙂

How Facebook does open source at scale with James Pearce

There was a lot said and I loved it all. Key takeaways:

  • Facebook Open Academy
  • Centralizing your companies’ external repos – everything written goes to a private shared repo, and it goes through a process of approvals to be shared to a centralized “Facebook” public open source repo. (Should Red Hat IT adopt this practice?)

DevOps general session with Gene Kim

As I expected, Gene rocked his presentation with all of the grace and humor of the previous talks I’ve seen him give. Winner for funniest+relevant quote in his presentation goes to Theo Schlossnagle: “Not DevOps but ^(?<dept>/+)Ops$”

Gene discussed that bottlenecks are the key to good DevOps… and addressing them in this order is a good idea:

  • environment creation
  • code deployment — This is where Team Inception is focusing.
  • test setup and run
  • overly tight architecture
  • development & product management – in a high-functioning team, this is where you want the bottleneck to exist

I also loved the hand-back clause he talked about. At Etsy, their operations team can hand back fragile services to development at any time. Sounds like a good idea to build trust and a little bit of accountability on both sides of the coin.

Finally, and most importantly: Gene talked about high predictors of performance and asked how to go from a low trust environment to a high trust environment. My answer: embrace the open source way.

Continuous delivery through continuous questioning with Joel Tosi

Joel said that his track wasn’t about convincing your boss to do CI/CD and DevOps in his blog post last week. After attending, I still think it was about convincing your boss. Or more importantly, what questions you need to ask to identify when you are at that tipping point to convince your boss that DevOps is the future.

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  • /whispers “micro-services”

  • You took that quote out of context. I said that teams have the freedom to release to production without testing if they feel that is the right thing to do. Most teams do not do that.

  • jedberg

    Also, I should point out that it is Google with the handback process, not Etsy. 🙂

    • Jen Krieger

      Thanks for your comments! Especially the one about tagging Etsy instead of Google. Derp. 🙂

      Regarding my taking you out of context; my apologies! My dismay is more about the reaction of the crowd than what you said. The “that would be so cool!” whispers legit made me facepalm.

      Even though I work with developers who are very keen on testing, I have worked with developers in the past who didn’t have time for any tests. And, yes… they were needed. I do fear the later scenario there. If I look at this in contest of the larger picture, I can believe Netflix has situations where testing is not done (weighing the risk of what could happen if there is failure against the cost of time to test). You also have the ability to take corrective action very quickly. Absolutely understand those two things together.

      However, I don’t personally relate those two things with “unicorn devops” – It would be more compelling to me if you showed what Netflix’ mean time to discover vs. mean time to resolve is. Seeing bug count would also be cool. If both averages are low, that is “unicorn” for me, not whether you tested or not.


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