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I had the opportunity to be amongst 1300 attendees and speak at last weeks DevOps Enterprise Summit in San Francisco (http://events.itrevolution.com/us/).  The event was most professionally organised by Gene Kim and his team.

The variety of high-profile companies represented both in attendees, as well as in speakers was vast.  AWS, Microsoft, Netflix, American Airlines, Starbucks, Target, Disney are just some of the global giants that presented their DevOps journeys.  This is not to say though, that DevOps is only for the big players who either are or strive to be the ‘unicorns’ of their industry.  DevOps is an imperative consideration in all businesses, including all small-to-medium businesses, as they embark on their digital transformation.

The question on everyone’s minds is no longer, “why do I need to do DevOps?”, but rather “how do I do DevOps?”.  Everyone is looking to either make their first steps or have begun their journey and are continuing along a path.  The interesting part is that whilst everyone’s journey may look very similar, with similar milestones, similar tooling utilised, it is actually a very individual journey.  This creates the issue that there cannot simply be a ‘one solution fits all’ approach.  It is not possible to capture a solution and to provide any guarantees that this will lead to success.  The journey depends on so many variable characteristics specific to the organisation in which the principles are applied.

The most unpredictable of these characteristics is ultimately in the people that make up the organisation.  The culture of the organisation.  The inherent trust required from one peer to the other.  This will be slightly different in every organisation of the world, since we are working with unique individuals.

So whilst no one would disagree imperative ingredients to even stand a chance at implementing a successful DevOps culture are automation, both in the form of test coverage and a robust deployment pipeline.  Self-service infrastructure platforms, dependable monitoring, and even agile, collaborative teams devoid of silos.  Whilst microservices and containerisation will go a long way to helping to achieve the goal.  It is ultimately about the people.

DevOps should not be considered as something which gets ‘Done’ so that you can move on to the next thing, rather it is a progressive journey of self-improvement which once embarked upon, one should be prepared to possibly go on for some time to come.

SAP’s DevOps Journey: from building an app to building a cloud

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