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Interview series with JAX DevOps speakers — Part 1

DevOps trends and limitations forecasted for 2018

Gabriela Motroc
DevOps

© Shutterstock /doomu

Successfully implementing DevOps practices can have a profound impact on a company but finding a good DevOps practitioner is an important piece of the puzzle. We invited six JAX DevOps speakers to weigh in on the DevOps trends and limitations forecasted for this year and answer the million-dollar question: What makes a good DevOps practitioner?

Here comes DevOps: But are you ready for it?

The DevOps world is alluring but it’s not always easy to stay on top of the latest trends or successfully avoid the traps and pitfalls. As Daniel Bryant, JAX DevOps speaker and CTO at SpectoLabs said in this interview series, “DevOps is many things to many people” but the problem is that one cannot turbo-charge their DevOps efforts without knowing exactly where this movement is going.

Before we begin the “interrogatory”, you might want to have a look at this DevOps checklist — it is supposed to emphasize the areas where you need to improve your DevOps game. The 48-item list is based on case studies, talks and content on DevOps.

 

In the first part of this interview series, we asked six JAX DevOps speakers to share their predictions for 2018 and pinpoint the characteristics that every good DevOps practitioner should have. 

asap

6 answers: What are your DevOps predictions for 2018? What should we pay attention to?

The DevOps actors

Daniel Bryant works as an Independent Technical Consultant and is CTO at SpectoLabs.

Tommy Tynjä is a Senior Software Engineer and Continuous Delivery Consultant at Diabol.

Pierre Vincent is SRE manager at Poppulo, where he helps teams embrace DevOps practices.

Michiel Rook is a Java/PHP/Scala consultant from the Netherlands, working at FourScouts.

Philipp Krenn is part of the infrastructure team and a developer advocate at Elastic.

Alexander Schwartz is Principal IT Consultant at msg systems.

Daniel Bryant: I believe that DevOps is to some degree becoming “normalized” now, in that what we conceptualize as DevOps is becoming best practice within all kinds of organizations. For example, concepts such as increasing shared responsibility, breaking down silos, encouraging empathy, engineering for feedback, Infrastructure as Code (IaC).

There are a few movements springing out of DevOps, and some are more specialized (or arguably subsets) — like DevSecOps or BizDevOps — and some are applying similar principles to separate areas of the process of delivering value to customers through software — like Developer Experience (DevEx).

Where DevOps may have focused more on introducing collaboration and agile into operations, DevEx is all about “minimizing the friction” for a developer between having a good idea, coding and deploying this, and ultimately getting feedback from customers using the feature in production.

Tommy Tynjä: DevOps has become more focused on technical solutions and automation tools but that will only solve a small part of the problem. The issues that most organizations currently face are around culture and improving collaboration to get things done in a sustainable way.

The organizations that embrace the culture change aspect will gain an advantage over their competition. A focus on only technical parts of DevOps poses many dangers, and we may see many failed DevOps adoption initiatives where companies invest without getting any substantial return.

SEE ALSO: “More recently, a language that is getting a lot of traction on DevOps teams is Go”

Pierre Vincent: In my opinion, service meshes are definitely something to look more into in 2018. For anybody working with Kubernetes, tools like Istio take care of the next level of concerns, with smart routing, policies and consistent instrumentation.

On a higher level, it has become quickly apparent that Kubernetes in itself is not the end-game. Kelsey Hightower said recently that if developers are interacting directly with the Kubernetes API, it’s just the new version of SSH’ing into a production machine. Tools are just tools, they provide ways to do things but we all have to think about the problem we’re trying to solve in the first place.

Each organization has a different way to deploy and operate their applications; this will reflect on the way they leverage some of the tools available to build the platform that is right for them.

It has become apparent that Kubernetes in itself is not the end-game.

Michiel Rook: I think the focus will shift more and more to resilience and operability.

Philipp Krenn: I’m expecting more serverless and Kubernetes. Hopefully the orchestration discussions are over and we can focus on best practices and working solutions.

Personally, I wish to get past the speed argument (regardless of what you are doing, the main goal is to do it fast) and move on to stability and security. Shared ownership and rapid deployments are kind of a given by now — maturity is an area where we are often lacking.

Alexander Schwartz: Resilience in distributed services is hard. There has been the Netflix Stack with Ribbon and Hystrix to provide resilience, but it is still hard to get it right. A service mesh like Istio shifts that to cloud infrastructure. Once we see service meshes mature and integrate with orchestration solutions out of the box, I expect our microservices to be smaller and easier to develop.

Another thing is tracing. Today, there are multiple implementations to trace calls through services. I suppose we will see some more standardization and interoperability in 2018.

 

What makes a good DevOps practitioner?

Daniel Bryant: The is a difficult question, as DevOps is many things to many people, but I would suggest the following traits and skills are useful:

  • Empathy
  • Communication
  • Leadership
  • Systems thinking
  • Metrics/feedback-driven
  • Desire to automate

SEE ALSO: DevOps for IoT: Getting ready for the next phase

Tommy Tynjä: Understanding that developers, operations personnel and basically anyone involved in the software development process need to work together. All these different roles are working towards the same goal within the same company, sharing the same mission: to deliver high-quality software to users.

The success of DevOps depends very much on company culture.

Pierre Vincent: Emotional intelligence! Understanding each other’s perspective is key to concentrating our energy on the right things.

DevOps is a major turning point in our industry not because it’s a new tool or a new architecture but because it brings the focus to people and interactions. In other words, we’re all pretty good at tech stuff, but historically not so much at people stuff!

Michiel Rook: I don’t think that “a” DevOps practitioner exists, necessarily. Ultimately, the success of DevOps depends very much on company culture. So, in that sense I think a good DevOps practitioner is one that contributes positively to the culture in their company, fostering communication, cooperation, ownership, and responsibility.

Philipp Krenn: Somebody who helps the business move forward. We shouldn’t get lost in fancy tools or Google’s best practices if it doesn’t get the job at hand done.

Alexander Schwartz: It is the willingness to learn, to experiment and to exchange your knowledge with others. The landscape of tools is changing rapidly, and you need to keep up.

 

In the second part of the interview series, our six interviewees weigh in on the importance of DevSecOps, companies’ journey to the cloud and the containers-as-a-service boom. Stay tuned!

 

Are your calendars marked for JAX DevOps 2018? 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 9-12, 2018.

Author
Gabriela Motroc
Gabriela Motroc is editor of JAXenter.com 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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