LISA 11 Keynote: "The DevOps Transformation"

After a delightfully overdone comedy routine by Tom Limoncelli and Doug Hughes, Ben Rockwood took the stage to deliver his keynote speech titled "The DevOps Transformation." DevOps is a growing movement in IT designed to blur the line between developers and operators. DevOps is a cultural and professional movement, not a tool or product. It is not a title, nor is it a person. Most importantly, it is not just dev & ops, it’s *dev*ops*.

Ben opened with an very interesting discussion of the philosophical foundations of DevOps. Appropriately done, DevOps first seeks to answer "why?", then "how?", and finally "what?". Done backwards, which is often the case, systems often fail to meet the goals. Ben also brought up Ackoff's Five Contents of the Mind: data, information (the "reporters' questions"), knowledge (how to), understanding (why), wisdom (insight). Junior Admins fall between information and knowledge. Senior Admins have reached understanding, and Architects live in wisdom.

The talk progressed into a history of quality management, from the early 20th century to modern frameworks like ITIL. Ben argues that "quality is the degree to which a good or service is what the customer expects it to be." For example, a Big Mac is not necessarily a great hamburger, but a quality Big Mac is one that meets the customer's expectations. Similarly, the only measure of the quality of a steak is it's "steakiness".

Although it's possible to work toward DevOps nirvana group-by-group, the best way to work with both Dev and Ops at the same time. This could be as easy as arranging a get-together outside the office. "Beer is the best tool to implement DevOps," Ben claims.

Ben left the audience with some protips to set the tone for the rest of the conference:

  • DevOps is a journey of discovery not a destination.
  • DevOps starts with "why?", and a holistic vision.
  • Quality is a result of the effectiveness of the interactions across the entire value stream.
  • The cloud is here to stay and it’s awesome.
  • If it ain’t fun, it ain’t working.

Here is the keynote in its entirety: