T-SQL Tuesday #91 – What DevOps Is & Is Not

Welcome to another edition of T-SQL Tuesday. This month’s blog party is hosted by Grant Fritchey (b|t). His mission, should we choose to accept it, is to write about DevOps.

Let Me Tell You A Story

Allow me to share my perspective and anecdotal experience. When I first heard about DevOps a few years ago, fellow operational IT folks were up in arms. Why? I asked what the big deal was and the answer I got was “DevOps is going to eliminate the need for Testers & Operations. Developers will control and manage the entire stack, end-to-end.”

Well, the reactions to that message ranged from contempt & ridicule, to job loss terror. I heard many who felt threatened. The perception was that the expertise of Testers and Operations was being marginalized by Developers who evangelized DevOps. Somehow that message was being circulated, and it was downright arrogant and foolhardy… and fortunately not an accurate picture of what DevOps strives to be.

That’s Not How I See Things

My take on DevOps, is that it is all about moving away from a “we do this, you do that,” siloed mindset of operating. It is about breaking down barriers of communication and creating tighter integration. The world of DevOps still requires specialists – that will never change. I see DevOps as pushing the three fundamental groups of software development: Developers, Testers, and Operations, into integrating far more closely together than they ever did before.

How?

In the world of DevOps, an Operations team might utilize a monitoring tool that feeds useful directly back to Developers and Testers. Developers & Testers may cross train, so both learn how to effectively write automated unit tests. Developers & Testers could cross train with Operations, to improve application deployment automation processes.

These examples all share one common theme – teams reaching outside of their traditional skill boundaries, to actively engage, learn, and integrate. This active engagement is what has often been missing from traditional operations.

 

This is what I believe DevOps is all about. The tools and processes being pioneered today help all of us build better, more stable software, which is better for all of us.

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Coming Full Circle to Start A New Chapter

They say that there’s a time in one’s life where you “come full circle” and you find that you go back to where things started. For me, one of those places, where many things started for me, is Charlotte, NC. In October, 2013, I attended my very first PASS Summit in Charlotte. In fact, I started this blog the day before I left for PASS Summit 2013! (SQL Family Got Me Here)

So how have things come full circle? Am I moving Charlotte, NC? No. But I will soon begin a new chapter of my SQL Server career, with a Charlotte based company.

I am honored to have accepted an opportunity with SentryOne. As of June 19th, I will be joining the SentryOne family as a Senior Solutions Engineer! The way I look at it, this is an opportunity where I’ll be mixing teaching, presenting, and consulting-lite.

What is even more mind-blowing to me, is not the position itself, but the opportunity to work for SentryOne. I was first exposed to them, back when they were SQL Sentry, as a SQLskills IE1 attendee in May, 2011. I was extremely impressed, not only with their tools, but with their community focus. I’ve also been a customer, having worked several different jobs that used their monitoring products, and built up a lot of respect for the company and what they were doing. And I have been extremely fortunate to become friends with a number of long-time SentryOne employees over the years.

It is humbling to have been given this opportunity to be join their ranks. I can’t wait to see what comes next!