GeekAustin DevOps #1 – Puppet, Chef, bcfg2, but no Dev

All three Agile Admins were at this Austin event last Saturday; GeekAustin had a set of back to back presentations on puppet, chef, and bcfg2 downtown at Elysium. A good crowd was there, maybe 50 people.

Matt Ray presented on chef, and has posted his slides. Jeff McCune spoke on Puppet and Sol Jerome spoke on bcfg2, I’ll link their slides here whenever I become aware of them being posted.

I had to leave before bcfg2, but the chef and puppet presentations were interesting.  One of the main audience comments was “these are pretty similar,” which is true. Both are real good.

Probably the one problem with the event was that it wasn’t really DevOps.  It was just tool presentations for sysadmins.  Our developers took one look and didn’t come; we met one or two developers at the event that weren’t getting a lot out of it.

It’s fine to have an event looking at these tools – but I want to caution the DevOps community that the value of DevOps is the different approach to life. I think the excellent dev2ops post on “DevOps is not a technology problem, DevOps is a business problem” explains this perfectly. PEOPLE over PROCESS over TOOLS. If you don’t have engagement from the developers, you don’t have DevOps, no matter what whizbang gadgets you have.  Frankly I’d like to see the tool vendors address this in their presentations. A little bit of “you’re a sysadmin, this saves you work, isn’t it cool” is fine but how about talking about how this can be used to collaborate with the developers?  How does that model work?

At DevOpsDays US I warned about adopting new tools without adopting new tactics, using the example of the deployment of the Minie ball to muskets used in the American Civil War.  Greater accuracy and range, but everyone still just stood their in lines and charged in formation, and the slaughter was profound.  You may have a shiny new weapon, but if you are just using it back in your dark sysadmin cave, the problems that beset you will never go away. You’ll still be the bottom of the food chain, only taken seriously when someone can’t get their email.

I know the guys at Puppet Labs, Opscode, etc. are all big into DevOps – but I guess I’d like to see the tool presentations and value props speak to developers as well somehow. What would that look like?  Ideas?

6 Comments

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6 responses to “GeekAustin DevOps #1 – Puppet, Chef, bcfg2, but no Dev

  1. The topic of “how can these tools be used to get devs working with ops” will be addressed in my upcoming talk at MountainWest RubyConf, and I will post the slides on my slideshare account (jtimberman is my id).

    • Cool, that will be great. Our devs here have been willing to engage in DevOps and it’s unfortunate that some of the things branded that way aren’t couched in a way that’s relevant to them – if I can’t get my devs to come to DevOps stuff then obviously collaboration isn’t where it needs to be!

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  3. I completely agree. Good stuff.

    DevOps is decidedly tilted in the Ops direction. It is just the genesis, not something that won’t be overcome. But, I do believe we need to pull (as mentioned by others) the focus to the central point, which is trust. Subsequently we need to look at both processes and tools and how they map to people on both sides of the wall. And really we need to work harder to integrate QA into the discussion, as they are the facilitator of said trust.

    http://kitplummer.github.com/devops/2011/01/31/trust_cornerstone_of_devops.html

  4. Oh by the way a local guy videoed the talks and says the videos will appear on his site eventually (not there yet): http://vimeo.com/llbbl

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