On DevOps: 1. What It Is

Word: opinions are my very own. They do not signify my present firm or any earlier firms I’ve labored for.

Word 2: lately, my colleague revealed a weblog submit (in Chinese language, here’s the link in case you are ). I like this submit, however I might prefer to share extra with you on the subject of DevOps. So I made a decision to publish a miniseries (7 episodes deliberate) on DevOps. Here is the primary article.

Word 3: this text is initially revealed on Jan 14, 2021, on Medium in my DevOps Chat publication named 4th Coffee. See it here in case you are . This submit is edited once more on Might tenth, 2022.


I’ve been working as a DevOps engineer since 2016, and as of immediately in 2022, I am nonetheless engaged on it (because the PMC of DevStream). In 2021, I used to be fortunate sufficient to hitch AWS as a Senior (L6) DevOps (already left, although). However this text doesn’t signify AWS’s view; nor does it signify my present company view. It’s my private opinion, which I realized and formulated through the years of hands-on expertise in tasks.

At first of 2021, I had the possibility to speak on the DevOps subject — what it’s, why we want it, and the best way to measure if we’re doing it nicely or not. So I believed I ought to take that chance, kind my ideas into phrases, and share them with the group.

In my skilled profession, I’ve labored in several companies, together with college analysis, search engine, authorities, web, enterprise software program, cellular, advertising and marketing enterprise intelligence, logistics, automotive, pharmaceutical, insurance coverage, consulting, and so forth.; and I’ve labored in various kinds of firms and tasks: state-owned firm, native web large, international IT enterprise, international start-ups, international conventional organizations, and so forth. And I’ve to say that I’ve realized and grown so much throughout this nice journey each as an individual and as an engineer (full stack developer and DevOps engineer). I additionally attended a couple of conferences and meet-ups and even gave some talks in them, however I’ve by no means obtained the possibility to summarize what I do and share the data with a much bigger viewers, and that’s the explanation I needed to begin this collection.

What’s DevOps?

Let Me Inform You a Story First.

I’ve interviewed over 200 engineers up to now 3 years, and generally I’d prefer to ask this query. It’s in all probability meaningless; I solely requested it as a result of I need to see what it means to all people.

And in all of the solutions I obtained, it appears most individuals at all times begin with this sentence: “that’s a superb query.” Then the particular person begins to elucidate his ideas.

I’m not a local English speaker, however through the years, I’ve been steadily studying the truth that “that’s a superb query” equals “I don’t know.”

It’s a meaningless filler phrase to fill the awkward silence throughout conversations, and it buys you a while to arrange your thought earlier than you reply the query.

Solely on rare events would you hear this sentence since you actually had requested a superb query.

I’ve additionally interviewed (as an interviewee) many firms during the last 5 years, each start-ups and enormous companies. I additionally obtained requested about this very often, at the least extra typically than I had anticipated. Typically, through the dialog, you began to appreciate that the particular person or the corporate who requested this query didn’t actually know the reply both; they requested this as a result of they needed to study from you and see what new concepts you’ll be able to carry to the staff.

Why Is It So Exhausting to Outline DevOps?

Why is that this query laborious to reply?

As a result of, in my view, DevOps is so much.

Let’s Attempt to Determine It out

Let me quote some definitions first earlier than we focus on DevOps.

Right here I quote three definitions, and they’re from Wikipedia (as a result of it’s like an web dictionary), AWS (as a result of all of us hear that AWS does good DevOps), and Atlassian (as a result of as a DevOps, we in all probability use their instruments so much so they could know a factor or two):


DevOps is a set of practices that mixes software development (Dev) and IT operations (Ops). It goals to shorten the systems development life cycle and supply continuous delivery with excessive software quality.[1][2] DevOps is complementary with agile software development; a number of DevOps facets got here from Agile methodology.

(I do know, there are a variety of hyperlinks. You do not have to learn all of them, however it’s really useful.)


DevOps is the mixture of cultural philosophies, practices, and instruments that will increase a corporation’s skill to ship purposes and providers at excessive velocity: evolving and bettering merchandise at a sooner tempo than organizations utilizing conventional software program improvement and infrastructure administration processes. This velocity allows organizations to higher serve their clients and compete extra successfully available in the market.


DevOps is a set of practices that works to automate and combine the processes between software program improvement and IT groups, to allow them to construct, check, and launch software program sooner and extra reliably.

It appears there are some similarities, that are:

And there are variations, in fact, and let’s see them one after the other:

A Mixture of Dev and Ops

Wikipedia says it’s a mixture of Dev and Ops.

This mainly says nothing as a result of even when I knew nothing about this topic, I had already identified from the phrase itself that it combines Dev and Ops.

A superb query right here is: is DevOps actually Dev + Ops?

Sure, and No.

Sure, since you would want the skillsets from each Dev and Ops.

No, as a result of merely placing two groups collectively wouldn’t get you there.

Cultural Philosophies

What AWS’s definition has and others don’t have, is the “cultural philosophies,” and I prefer it.

Let’s say you’ve the instruments and skillsets from each Dev and Ops. Would that be sufficient to allow you to realize greater velocity?

In all probability not.

The actual fact is, you have already got Dev and Ops groups and the corresponding skillsets in your org. Then you definately decide up a brand new CI device that’s well-known within the DevOps world. Would you have the ability to ship sooner already?

I don’t assume so.

It’s because how we do issues is extra vital than what now we have, and by definition, “how we do issues” is the cultural half.


Tradition is how human societies behave. What the customs are, what the norms are.

For instance:

  • What is correct, what’s improper?
  • What is suitable, and what isn’t?
  • How do you study?
  • And extra importantly, how do you encourage the staff to study?

Tradition may be extremely technical. For instance: how do you do code assessment? What kinds of code are acceptable, and what are usually not?

And it may also be extremely nontechnical. For instance: what requirements will we use for hiring and selling?

DevOps Tradition

Then, what precisely is the DevOps tradition?

You in all probability see this picture (or one thing similar to this) so much. And to be trustworthy, the DevOps tradition is hidden on this image:

You don’t separate Dev and Ops. You’ve got a shared understanding and shared duty. You’re taking up the duty as an entire by means of collaboration and communication. And that is the cornerstone of the DevOps tradition.

Is DevOps a task?

With the tradition half defined, it’s straightforward to reply this query.

Sure, however no.

Sure, as a result of firms create job titles like this.

No, as a result of firms that created the job titles like this solely put Ops within the DevOps staff in lots of circumstances.

It’s probably not a job function. It’s extra of a tradition, methodologies, and mindset to do issues. Placing groups collectively and throwing in some new instruments gained’t provide you with DevOps.

What’s Required to Obtain the DevOps Tradition?

As a result of now we have shared understanding and shared obligations, conventional Dev must study from Ops, and conventional Ops have to study from Dev.

As a result of now we have new practices and instruments, all people wants fixed studying about methodologies and new applied sciences.

So, the best way to obtain a DevOps tradition? At this level, this query can reply itself:

DevOps requires a “progress and steady studying mindset” to succeed.

Find out how to Allow the Progress and Studying Mindset

Gartner, the globally main analysis and advisory firm, predicted in 2019 that by 2022, 75% of DevOps initiatives would fail to satisfy their expectations; this quantity grows to 90% by 2023.

Purpose: limitations of administration approaches utilized by management

Management assist is among the vital components of its success.


Let me inform you one other story that you just in all probability will relate to:

I’ve labored in lots of start-up firms, and it appears lots of these start-ups share a “start-up tradition”: free breakfast, and free beer within the fridge.

The concept behind that is easy: by making a extra welcoming setting, they assume workers might be extra motivated.

Do I really like free beer? In fact.

Will this actually encourage me? No.

After I seek for my subsequent job place, I can’t use “free beer within the fridge” as a normal. Individuals who receives a commission at the least 10k per 30 days in all probability wouldn’t care if they will get 2 {dollars} price of beer.

Having a free beer within the fridge gained’t encourage your staff to study and develop repeatedly.

What Motivates the Staff to Develop

Technical individuals want 3 issues to be motivated, and they’re:

The explanations are straightforward to know:

When you’ve complete data or ability in a topic and have nice accomplishments, you can be extra motivated. It’s like that if you happen to get extra reward on your work within the college, you can be extra decided to do it higher subsequent time.

The staff learns quick and needs to do larger issues. If they’re consistently blocked and slowed down, particularly by management, they lose their motivation. It’s like driving a Porsche sportscar at 50km/h. You’ve got the very best device, however you’ll be able to’t velocity up. You wouldn’t get pleasure from driving like that, and also you lose curiosity in driving over time.

The staff must know why they’re doing one thing. As a result of with no goal, every little thing is simply rubbish.


As soon as we discovered the tradition, and what motivates the staff to implement the tradition, it’s straightforward to determine what we must always search in management: we want essential behavioral traits that empower and encourage the staff, moderately than technical skillsets and experience, for instance, if the chief is an expert within the cloud or 12-factor app or what have you ever.

Management ought to encourage the staff to study quick, attempt quick, and fail quick as a result of by embracing failure as a studying alternative, you study the quickest method.

Management ought to empower the staff, and provides the staff sufficient autonomy to make choices freed from second-guessing. I’ve seen precisely the alternative circumstances fairly often, and the management does not even know they’re discouraging the staff.

Management ought to present clear objectives and key metrics as a part of the motivation for the staff’s steady studying and progress mindset.

IT Allows Enterprise

In the event you return to the start the place I quoted AWS’s definition of DevOps, you will note that AWS mentions one thing that neither Wikipedia nor Atlassian talked about:

This velocity allows organizations to higher serve their clients and compete extra successfully available in the market.

Sure, all definitions talked about DevOps’ profit being velocity, however solely AWS defined why you want this velocity: to serve your buyer.

I prefer it as a result of, with out this goal, DevOps is simply an empty gesture.

In fashionable days, increasingly more organizations begin to understand that IT structure not solely serves the enterprise as a result of it’s a must have but in addition allows extra prospects for brand new companies and progress. And that’s the place the DevOps’s profit will carry you to.


After this lengthy dialogue, it’s protected to attempt to make a definition of DevOps:

DevOps is a mixture of:

  • a shared duty mannequin
  • steady progress and studying mindset
  • skillsets from each Dev and Ops
  • greatest practices
  • fashionable toolchains

that will increase velocity to ship sooner, get buyer suggestions sooner, and adapt your product and repair sooner to serve your clients higher.

Within the subsequent article or a couple of articles, I’ll focus on the advantages that DevOps brings.

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