Interview series with DevOps influencers — Part 1

It’s a cultural movement, it’s a magic bullet, it’s a catalyst. It’s DevOps

Gabriela Motroc

Super hero atop a skyscraper image via Shutterstock

Some people call DevOps a cultural movement, others think it is a magic bullet but it is actually a catalyst for collaboration between the roles of technology developers and IT operations. We invited four of the world’s biggest DevOps influencers to weigh in on the facets of DevOps and identify the most important trends.

What is DevOps?

We set out to define DevOps. Damon Edwards, co-founder and Chief Product Officer of SimplifyOps told JAXenter that “DevOps is an idea,” Helen Beal, Head of DevOps at Ranger4 believes that DevOps is synonymous with Continuous Delivery and Greg Bledsoe, Managing Consultant at Accenture claims that “DevOps only happens when you remove the friction and waste of the hierarchical silos.”

Justin Arbuckle, Chief Technology Officer at Leonteq wrote in an article for JAX Magazine that “measuring the Return on Investment (ROI) from DevOps is critical to convince organizations which are falling behind that they can still shift course, transform and head to the IT future. Measuring DevOps ROI is also essential for companies that are embracing the industry’s forward movement, so they know if they’re on the right track and can keep turbo-charging their DevOps efforts.”

But one cannot turbo-charge their DevOps efforts without knowing exactly what this movement consists of. With this in mind, we invited some of the world’s biggest DevOps influencers to talk about the essence of DevOps, the most important trends, the obstacles, the benefits, the anti-patterns and the tools.

In the first part of this interview series, we asked four DevOps influencers about the essence of DevOps and the most relevant trends in this popular movement. 


4 answers: Some people call DevOps a cultural movement, others consider it a magic bullet. In your view, what is the essence of DevOps?

The DevOps Heroes

Eric Vanderburg is an information security executive, thought leader and author known for his insight on cybersecurity, privacy, data protection and storage..

Greg Bledsoe is a managing consultant at Accenture in the DevOps architecture practice and regularly advises and leads the implementation of DevOps principles and practices at the fortune 100.

Mike D. Kail is Chief Innovation Officer at Cybric.

Jason Bloomberg is the president of Intellyx. He writes and consults on Agile Digital Transformation in the enterprise.

Mike Kail: To me, DevOps is a common set of best practices that allow Development and Operations to operate much more cohesively and apply automation techniques wherever possible.

The essence of DevOps is empathy.

Eric Vanderburg: DevOps is used to increase the efficiency of a business. It is a catalyst for collaboration between the roles of technology developers and IT operations to improve the agility of both IT and development. It is no magic bullet. The same problems such as poor communication, mismatched expectations, lack of cohesiveness and teamwork, and lack of vision that exist in a traditional development and operations setting will be carried over to a DevOps situation.

Greg Bledsoe: As I’ve been really trying to distill the power of DevOps into its essential concepts, my own understanding of it has evolved considerably.  While there are many things, from principles relating to culture through engineering principles, in my opinion DevOps could be considered three things:  

  1. A culture of empowerment and collaboration,
  2. A problem solving methodology, and
  3. Lean software delivery.  

There is a lot to unpack there, I know, and hopefully my subsequent answers will help do that a little.

DevOps is relying more heavily on cloud-based solutions.

Jason Bloomberg: The essence of DevOps is empathy – empathy for other members of the team, empathy for members of other teams, empathy for people in the broader business, empathy for customers. For DevOps to be successful, organizations must break down silos, which requires greater cooperation. The key to cooperation: empathy.


What are the latest trends in DevOps?

Mike Kail: One of the main, and most needed trends is the “Shifting Left” of Security into the entire Software Development Life Cycle. Code and Application security testing needs to be embedded into the pipeline.

Eric Vanderburg: As with most technology trends, DevOps is relying more heavily on cloud-based solutions. These solutions will shy away from the more simplistic platform-as-a-service (PAAS) approach and compartmentalizing workflows into distinct containers. The container approach uses the same concept that DevOps employs. Using separate specialized containers that collaborate with each other that can change rapidly for a faster, efficient, and cost effective solution. At the same time, there is a need to more flexible management on an enterprise scale so these solutions are being integrated with cloud management suites for ease of provisioning, monitoring, auditing, and management.

Greg Bledsoe: DevSecOps, Rugged Devops, or any of the other names that people use to distinguish that security has to be included in your collaboration and automation, is still gaining steam.  There is more awareness now, and we are starting to see standardized solutions emerge.  The next trend after increasing the width of our collaboration will be to start to understand that the primary place we are really seeing the benefit of DevOps isn’t in tools, it isn’t in process or organization, but in cultural revolution overturning established and entrenched ideas about management not just of IT but of business in general.  As we empower the individual, we move toward more and more “flatocratic” models that understand the value is at the ground level where the work is actually being delivered, and good management consists of enabling those that produce that value to try more ideas at lower cost.  

Jason Bloomberg: The most important DevOps trend is extending it beyond dev and ops. DevOps must include quality, of course. And DevOps must include security – SecDevOps. DevOps must include business stakeholders and the customer as well – BizDevOps or BizOps.


In the second part of the interview series, our four DevOps heroes weigh in on the most suitable tools that should be part of a ready-to-use “DevOps kit” and the benefits of the cloud in a DevOps context. 

If you’d like to know more about the latest trends in DevOps and meet the top movers and shakers in the global DevOps scene, join us in London between April 3-6, 2017.


Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc was editor of and JAX Magazine. Before working at Software & Support Media Group, she studied International Communication Management at the Hague University of Applied Sciences.

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