back to article Go DevOps before your bosses force you to. It'll be easier that way

Some people are making very bold claims about what DevOps can deliver. Here’s one: “High-performing IT organizations deploy 30x more frequently with 200x shorter lead times; they have 60x fewer failures and recover 168x faster,” according to the first bullet point of the 2015 annual Puppet Labs State of DevOps report. With …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    While I would argue that cost savings do result from a mature DevOps-driven organization, they certainly won’t come in the short term, nor will they be easy to model up-front. The “savings” are in things like quality of software and better uptime in production. These types of savings are all about “sucking less,” which doesn’t exactly model well in a spreadsheet.

    The client I have been working with for a couple of years now, have started "embracing" DevOps about 2-3 years ago. Yet, they're still not able to scale, have a painfully slow (and sometimes manual) release process, with all the paper trail and auditing of good old waterfall times, policies which stem from times when they ran their own data centres, and most projects are already so far over budget that getting a security patch approved takes longer than it ever took before.

    They've burned a lot of money and aren't anywhere closer to understanding the concept of DevOps. They fell for "cloud is cheaper, everything is on demand, and releases and testing will be fully automated", completely oblivious to any advice suggesting that none of that is going to come cheap. The biggest cost in DevOps is the shift in thinking. Release and approval processes have to be changed, the way people develop need to change, most applications need to be changed to cope with the dynamic nature of cloud and devops. If there's only one cog in the machine that doesn't spin along nicely, the whole thing grinds to a halt and burns money, which is exactly what's been happening there.

    It's a huge and very old organisation. It won't put them out of business, but eventually somebody will pull the plug and say: right, doesn't work for us. Stop burning money or else! The result might just be rowing back to a similar setup as they had before. Interesting to watch, though putting out fires while being hamstrung all the time does get a little bit annoying.

    The development and devops teams (yes, they are somehow different teams) have been significantly increased over the last 18 months, although the number of projects decreased... Yet, little progress. You could argue they are sucking more than they did before. Also difficult to explain to a spreadsheet! ;-)

    They are squarely in the 90% unless a miracle happens. Given the size of an organisation like that, realisation sets in at a much slower rate. But 2018 sounds like an achievable goal to bin the idea of devops in that company.

    Anonymous for obvious reasons.

  2. Steve Davies 3 Silver badge

    Still peddling the snake oil then?

    DevOps is the latest fad. What will it be next week then?

    Meanwhile, the rest of the world just says 'Meh' and gets on doing their job.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I am glad I'm retired

    (And, I'm sure, so is my company.) But increasingly articles about software production read more like Psychic News than anything I can relate to. Is mindfulness what we used to call "keeping your mind on the job"?

    And here's a hint; back in my development days any article about a new technology which promised to do anything 200x faster would be heading for the recycle bin.

    1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

      Re: I am glad I'm retired

      "any article about a new technology which promised to do anything 200x faster would be heading for the recycle bin"

      ...and any company whose managers didn't do that would quickly find all their best staff heading for the door.

  4. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    From the list of symposiums and summits which have cropped up these past few years this is a sizable trend. Given how trends are followed many budgets appear to be set by marks and gamblers, and there's no talking to them really.

    I imagine that if one were cynical and didn't really care, it would be advantageous to invert any applicable wisdom (that is to be disruptive) in order to write a marketing campaign for a book and a training program.

    Barring cynicism, it's simply a label, all team members will be called devops-opers in the end, and a philosophical attitude will be essential to muddle through what's to come.

  5. kryptylomese

    Get the developers to do ops and it is sub-optimal, and get ops to to development and it is sub-optimal. Get developers to produce code on a system designed by ops guys and you get gold.

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Exactly. Our devs got into their job because they preferred programming to maintenance, vice versa for us 'operations' people. We each have our skills, which we're free to concentrate on and expand, without falling between two stools trying to do each other's jobs.

      Basically devops means treating people like interchangeable cogs who can do any job they're dropped into, and that's just not how the real world works.

      1. Anonymous Coward
        Anonymous Coward

        Dev and Ops

        That's a complete misunderstanding of DevOps

        In DevOps, Devs are still devs and Ops are still ops. They just talk to each other more and have empathy and understanding of their different roles and responsibilities.

        What gets missed a lot, especially on the register, is that DevOps was started by Ops (and Devs). Not consultants, not managers, not a standards body. If you really care, take just over 10 minutes of your life to view this video.

        1. garethdaine

          Re: Dev and Ops

          Completely agree with your assessment here. It seems like people don't really understand the concept though that is understandable.

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I don't think that line means what you meant it to mean...

    If you are part of staff who’s responsible for implementing management decrees, now is the time to ensure your organisation gets saddled with some misconceived implementation of DevOps.

    It conflicts slightly with the following line about being part of the 10% :D

  7. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

    Fundamental Futures and Derivative Markets Radicalisation …… The Hot Shot Money Trail Blazer

    DevOps is not really automation, it is virtual autonomisation …. in both Operating Systems takeovers and SCADA Systems makeovers.

    And that be something of an ethereal force in source one certainly would not wish to create and paint as a foe and do battle with. Consider oneself, and everyone and everything, suitably warned hereby.

    And whereas in times before and of yore, forewarned is forearmed, to imagine any defensive attack or attacking defence weapon be made readily available to fight against IntelAIgent Synergies in Systems Operational Development, is a ludicrous folly and catastrophically self-destructive and non-constructive and a crazy insanity transparently confirmed.

    Welcome to the Live Operational Virtual Environment of Global Operating Devices and Quantum Communications Fields …… where a this can be that and everything else too in-between, and that makes one’s choice of direction and travel, extremely consequential.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Fundamental Futures and Derivative Markets Radicalisation …… The Hot Shot Money Trail Blazer

      It would seem that with DevOps you could drop whole paragraphs from amanfrommars1 posts into genuine marketing blurb, and probably nobody would notice.

      1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

        Re: Fundamental Futures and Derivative Markets Radicalisation …… Entering Underground the Radar

        In such a case is there a beautiful stealth exercising in the assumption/presumption that what you are reading is not genuine, Voyna i Mor.

    2. No Likely

      Re: Fundamental Futures and Derivative Markets Radicalisation …… The Hot Shot Money Trail Blazer

      "Welcome to the Live Operational Virtual Environment of Global Operating Devices and Quantum Communications Fields …… "

      Was that deliberately to get the acronym LOVE GOD, QCF or is that just a by product.

  8. veti Silver badge

    Comprehension gaps

    If we're going to "tell the bosses what it's about before some other klutz gets there first", it would help if we knew what it's all about. Somehow the article doesn't seem to cover that.

    Personally, I think my biggest contribution in two of the software companies I've worked in, was persuading them that all this crap like "agile" and "scrum" wasn't going to help them, because they weren't doing software development. Most companies aren't - even among those that think they are.

    What they were doing is software maintenance - because that's where 90% of the money is in the software lifecycle. After all, you can only sell a tool once - but you can keep upgrading it for as long as the user will trust you to do it.

    And if that's the business you're in - and statistically, I think it's something like 90% likely that you are - then DevOps, like the aforementioned fads before it, probably isn't going to work for you.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: Comprehension gaps

      "What they were doing is software maintenance - because that's where 90% of the money is in the software lifecycle."

      Upvoted, though I have to point out that if you are interacting with the real world a lot that "maintenance" can involve an awful lot of what looks like development.

      It's pretty obvious from the upgrade cycle, slowness or absence thereof, that many phone makers completely suck at this aspect of development. This is where Apple, with its strictly limited product range meaning that OS update support applies to very few platforms, has got it right; and where Samsung, with far too many different products, has got it wrong.

    2. allthecoolshortnamesweretaken

      Re: Comprehension gaps

      Nobody really knows 'what's it all about' - that's the problem with buzzwords*. It's also a chance: the chance to keep the bits that work by pointing out that these are esentially DevOps in principle anyway, so we're there at least halfway already. And getting rid of the bits that don't work / getting missing bits in by pointing out that this is what must be done in order to go full DevOps all the way. Repeat process at next buzzword cycle. I hate the word, but managing your boss must be done proactively.

      * Buzzwords - the go-faster-stripes of the IT industry!

    3. Matt Bryant Silver badge

      Re: veti Re: Comprehension gaps

      One of the more fun tasks I get up to is reassuring pregrads that IT is a great career to work in. It still is, even for relatively average grads, but it is certainly not a good business to run software startups in. I know a guy who actually is a recognised genius in two fields and he's on his fifth software startup because his other four failed. As the stats show here, startups in IT die within the first four years more often than other lines of business. I don't see DevOps in any way changing that.

  9. Alister

    now is the time to ensure your organisation gets saddled with some misconceived implementation of DevOps.

    Did you really mean that? I would have thought "now is the time to ensure your organisation doesn't get saddled with some misconceived implementation of DevOps" would be your stated goal...

  10. Mint Sauce


    Well that was too easy, filled in my card very quickly there. Me dabber's seen better days though ;-)

  11. Ken 16 Silver badge

    DevOps project failures at a rate of 90 per cent by 2018

    Fail faster!

  12. Jason Bloomberg Silver badge

    DevOps - it's got electrolytes

    It sure would be great if someone could actually explain DevOps, how it works and how it benefits, in a simple to understand format, which doesn't require an expensive indoctrination course.

    That no one can has it looking like snake oil, simply labelled "new and improved" with evangelists once again telling us how it's better than the last snake oil we were sold. And, oh boy, have we all drunk a lot of snake oil over the years.

    I am sure there is a germ of an idea in DevOps, something useful to be had, but there seems to be plenty of over-hype as well. Anything too complicated to be explained in a couple of paragraph always makes me suspicious about its plausibility. I can read pages and pages about how it's great but very little which shows how and why.

    If it's so great, so fundamentally obvious, a no-brainer, I really shouldn't need to sign-up with the Great Profit Żeɳu to have it explained to me.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: DevOps - it's got electrolytes

      "And, oh boy, have we all drunk a lot of snake oil over the years."

      And there's your mistake. You drink the Kool-Aid. You rub on the snake oil. I'm not quite clear, though, about whether the oil is rubbed on yourself, or on the snake.

    2. garethdaine

      Re: DevOps - it's got electrolytes

      Well, this was my attempt at doing just that:

  13. Tom 38

    Another article blathering around DevOps without discussing any aspect of it, and telling us that if we don't drink the kool aid we'll be redundant next year. Jog on.

  14. SVV

    This article just broke my bullshit detector...

    " deploy 30x more frequently with 200x shorter lead times; they have 60x fewer failures and recover 168x faster"

    Did anyone manage to read this withought creasing up with laughter? I mean, the hype's been annoying so far, but this nonsense is just stretching credibility way beyond braking point. DevOps is becoming the Donald Trump of IT hypes.

    The fact it emerged from Puppet Labs is even more annoying, as I personally find that using Puppet for easy deployment and configuration automation (the ops side) and Maven for easy software build, dependency management and configuration automation results in to a very efficient, easy and problem-reducing way of doing things.

    Though mostly doing development work over the years, I've wrked in operations too, mainly developing scripts and utility programs for highly bespoke large systems. This has only strengthened my conviction that, although thjere's obviously a large bit of the Venn diagram where the two disciplines do overlap, development and operations can never become just one thing. Extremely few dvelopers are (or even should be) experts in heterogeneous network configurations. Extremely few operators and sysadmins are (or should be) experts in Object Oriented Analysis and design or how to manage software projects. Let's not risk damaging this situation that works well when done well, by embracing buzzwordy, ill-defined hype.

    1. garethdaine

      Re: This article just broke my bullshit detector...

      Amazon deploys every 11.6 seconds

  15. disgruntled yank


    Didn't Trevor Potts just run a longish rant in The Register, covering among other things his distaste for the way DevOps is sold?


    1. amanfromMars 1 Silver badge

      Re: questions

      Didn't Trevor Potts just run a longish rant in The Register, covering among other things his distaste for the way DevOps is sold? ..... disgruntled yank

      Hi, disgruntled yank,

      Do you think effective DevOps is bought rather than sold? Such is not a subtle difference.

      1. disgruntled yank

        Re: questions

        A profound question, and one that I haven't had enough coffee to answer. One sells a bill of goods, but buys a pig in a poke: can we start our reasoning from there?

  16. teebie

    I have a question

    What is devops?

    1. phuzz Silver badge

      Re: I have a question

      Imagine if you were from management and you couldn't tell the difference between a programmer and a sysadmin.

      You might walk into your IT department and notice that you were employing five people with one job title, and another five with a different job title. However, they're all just sat in front of computers pressing buttons, so they must actually be doing the same job right?

      So, just sack half of them (doesn't matter which) and call the remainder "devops".


    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I have a question

      was that too hard to look up for yourself?

      1. Franco

        Re: I have a question

        Yeah, good one. All of us proper IT professionals make decisions based on Wikipedia articles.

        It's very hard to take any of these industry buzzwords seriously. One week it's docker/containers, another it's DevOps. Given that the current trend for cloud computing is fundamentally the old client-server model but with the server somewhere else, it's hard not to see the whole thing as turd polishing.

  17. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I was a Devopster before it was cool

    Now I'm just a regular hipster doing... uh... what IS the trendy thing in tech now? I'm not on Twitter.

    Seriously, though, I do a little of everything, from server maintenance to javascript... that's how it always was in smaller organizations. Having control over the servers is indeed a big win for web developers. However, it's becoming impossible to handle operations AND keep up with the churn and fragmentation in the webdev world.

    Something is wrong here. We're basically publishing static content, but instead of 'fire and forget' now we need 24-7 operations to keep the websites & apps running. We're paying the price for "dynamic" and "smart" crap. DevOps is part of that problem, not the solution.

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Re: I was a Devopster before it was cool

      that's how it always was in smaller organizations

      Still is, but now we can put DevOps" on the CV.

      In a small subsidiary of a larger company, you often get the worst of both worlds - all responsibility for your local servers, but stifling Corporate regulations preventing you from accessing the server you're supposed to be maintaining.

  18. Bibbit

    Giving me flashbacks...

    Them: It rubs the snake-oil on its skin. It does this whenever it is told.

    Me: Mister... my family will pay cash if you stop trying to sell me this sh*t. Whatever ransom you're askin' for, they pay it.

    Them: It rubs the snake oil on its skin or else I'll tell it about AGILE SCRUMS again. Now it places the snake oil in the basket.

    Me: Please! Please I wanna go home! I wanna go home please!

    Them: It places the snake oil in the basket.

    Me: I wanna see my mummy! Please I wanna see my...

    Them: Put the fucking snake oil in the basket!

    True story.

  19. Dan 55 Silver badge

    I can only assume the hero image for this article is the Reg commentardiat's reaction on seeing a new DevOps article.

    1. Bibbit

      Complete with the compulsory threatening passive-aggressive title. Better than "your culture sucks!" and "you are doing it wrong!" I suppose...

      They normally wait until a Friday to release this crap. Now I can relax now it is out of the way.

  20. coldfuion

    What is DevOps?

    I would take a guess Dev-Ops would be a short for Development Operations.

    I would also take a guess that they would be in charge of somethings like:

    New software development for sales.

    New in house software (Web apps for intranet, database clients, connectivity software for migrating data from platform to platform, software for automating mundane tasks which cost large amounts of money for the datacenter).

    Does this sound correct?

  21. TheOpsMgr

    Gartner prediction?

    Anyone have access to the full Gartner whitepaper?

    The press release linked doesn't support the article's claim of "90% failure rates of DevOps inititatives"

    If anyone can verify the claim from the full Gartner paper that would be good.

    1. cote

      Re: Gartner prediction?

      You're right, it's the wrong link:

  22. Paul Hovnanian Silver badge

    Doing DevOps before DevOps was a thing

    The definition of DevOps that I've come to understand is nothing more than a close coordination between the operations people (the people responsible for getting things done) with the developers (the people responsible for building the tools to do what Ops needs).

    Back in one of my past lives, I worked with a group responsible for controlling engineering documents and getting them to the shop floor. It didn't matter whether we ran around with clipboards and paper or used the latest buzzword technology. We went from the aforementioned paper distribution system to a web based one. Back when the web browser of choice was Mosaic. We controlled the process specifications and built our tools in house (on NCSA httpd and eventually Apache). Because as both the developer and the operator, if anything broke in the middle of the night, it was our process AND our tools that had to be kept running.

    Sadly, this didn't fit with the philosophy of our IT department. Whose reputation rested on managing huge applications development contracts. This required that operations gave them a spec, waited patiently for a product to appear from the vendor and then ops just had to put up with whatever creaky crap IT had actually negotiated for.

    1. Dalkeith

      Re: Doing DevOps before DevOps was a thing

      Spot on Paul - that s my reading of Dev OPS

      Sections are Responsible for Process AND Tools.

      (I really don't think its a new idea ) - the first thing I would do is move people from separate IT departments to the sections they serve - ironically you don't want to get rid of the staff quite the reverse you probably want to hire more just put them in really diverse sections. As a result probably mainly beneficial to large organisations that have divisions and allow internal development. If you've contracted out all your development or you are a separate development shop for hire its basically almost impossible.

      Also requires allowing your staff to really experiment and do in house development which companies have been fighting for years.

      1. Matt Bryant Silver badge

        Re: Dalkeith Re: Doing DevOps before DevOps was a thing

        " don't want to get rid of the staff...." Hilarious meeting just a few weeks ago - senior management PHB asks "What is this DevOps stuff?" Much sucking of teeth and waffling later, the IT Ops and Dev PHBs have both given their versions, highlighting the promised gains in efficiencies, to which senior PHB replies; "Good, so how many people can we re-assign?" Clue here is the company never "re-assigns" anyone. That prompted much back peddling from Dev and IT Ops managers, both desperate not to see their little empires reduced in importance! Seeking an escape, they fell back on the tried-and-tested "Let's set up a committee to look into the possible benefits" jaunt. As long as they can keep the senior PHBs away from external consulting companies they should be able to dodge the bullet for another year.

  23. PavanBelagatti

    This is really a funny article but true. We are thinking of writing a similar article on Shippable's blog.

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