Random Thoughts on DevOps

DevOps is one of those trends that is many things to many people.  I’ve been meaning to write this for a while now and Duncan’s recent post reminded me of that.

First off – I am many things but currently an authority on everything DevOps in the big scheme of things I am not.  I’m just a guy that’s done a few things and knows a few other things.  However, I wanted to share a few nuggets I’ve come across in the last year on this topic.  Some a bit dated now but that’s ok.  It’s all good stuff.

(side note…  the amazon links are just for ease of use.  they amazingly don’t allow affiliate link programs here in colorado…)


Snip20141103_13The Phoenix Project 
By Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, and George Spafford
Published: Jan 2013

Recently Duncan Epping posted his review of this book here.  I won’t rehash his summary but just say in my mind it is an excellent exposure to the subject no matter what your role or experience is.  The start of it gave me chills of being back in a chaotic operations environment – a place I hope to never find myself again (unless it’s in a role to clean up the mess like the protagonist). And throughout the book I found it interesting the author was able to really depict the evolution of the topic without name dropping specific vendors or technologies.  That’s impressive in a space dominated by hipster devs and brogrammers.   (wow I feel like I’m an old man yelling at the kids to get off my lawn…)

In short – you must read it if your job is ops, dev, anywhere in between, or work in IT in any way.

The Goal: A Process of Ongoing ImprovementSnip20141103_12
By Eliyahu M. Goldratt and Jeff Cox
Published: 1984

If you geek out on the overall ideas of Phoenix Project, and not just the technology aspect of it, reading The Goal might be for you.  If you recall in Phoenix, there are a few scenes where the characters visit a manufacturing plant to illustrate a point on bottlenecks and handoff of work. If I recall correctly this book is briefly referenced in one of those scenes.   The Goal is very very very similar to Phoenix in so many storyline ways that is obvious the authors in 2013 of Phoenix used it as a blueprint for telling their own story.  That took a small bit of the magic for me from Phoenix after reading this older book, but that’s ok – it’s still excellent in it’s own right.   The Goal is to manufacturing what Phoenix is to IT.  Call it BizPlantOps maybe?   It explores the breaking down of preconceived notions of policies and procedures that are followed in manufactoring because they are just accepted practice, and how to improve on them to compete in the market.   You can hear the methaphors for DevOps already right?

In short – if you are strictly into the technology aspect of DevOps this one will bore you.   But if you geek out on the theory of DevOps, the drivers, the principles, and the roots of it, this could be a good read for you.
Other Reading:

Snip20141103_14DZone’s 2014 Guide to Continuous Delivery
(Free PDF download with registration)

I came across this 35 page PDF recently when someone posted to a company collaboration page “if you read nothing else about DevOps, this should be it”.   I whole heartedly agree.   They do an amazing job breaking down the buzz words Continuous Integration, Continuous Delivery and Continuous Deployment into the core of what they actually are.  Sure there are paid ads and vendor highlights sprinkled throughout but it in no way feels like they are spouting sales jargon, but true research findings.  It feels more like *this is what all the details are*  and *this is the current vendor offerings are to do it* and doesn’t make an endorsement either way or fall into the zealot mindframe of the one single tool is the best always and forever no matter what.

In short – it’s 35 pages and free.  Read it.


I’ll just drop a few links here on videos I’ve enjoyed.  These are all from many moons ago now as I found them while doing research for a now older project.

Snip20141103_17How Do We Better Sell DevOps? (PuppetConf 2013)
From Gene Kim (author of Phoneix Project)

Keynote: Stop Hiring Devops Experts (And Start Growing Them) (PuppetConf 2013)
From Jez Humble

PCI-DSS and continuous deployment at Etsy


There we go, that clears out my current list of OH YOU SHOULD READ/WATCH THIS list.    Drop your current favorites in the comments!


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