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DevOps Con Israel: Enterprises will have to wing IT

on ‎05-02-2013 03:13 AM

The first DevOps Con Israel took place at Microsoft’s offices in Herzliya, a couple of months ago (Jan 28th).

The event was well organized, the content thoroughly DevOps-y and the speakers were great. I had enough previous knowledge of DevOps that only a few of the presentations had much novelty, but all of them were highly grounded in DevOps reality and the level of BS was very low.

Coming from a very large R&D organization, which delivers products mostly to enterprise IT, one of my main takeaways is the deep chasm between DevOps ideas in startups and Web companies, and what we see and learn from enterprise IT organizations. 

On the enterprise IT side I heard Alon Aizenberg give a very interesting overview of how SAP IT approached DevOps for their online help site, and of course our very own Adam Spektor detailing continuous delivery for HP Agile Manager. In both cases, automation had to deal with multiple environments (developer, testing, staging, production), with complex access permissions, a lot of legacy code and legacy architecture. For IT the road will need to be a migration from traditional practices to DevOps, and it will be a challenge to find the right first baby steps (for SAP it seemed to start with infra automation, for HP it was deployment automation). One key aspect for all IT will be the high level of test automation, a holy grail that had been chased for a couple of decades now. Getting IT developers to pledge for test automation is a very big challenge!

On the startups/Web front the conference had many speakers, such as Clive Foley of Wonga (who stole the show with a funny and honest detail of a DevOps group gone ‘horribly’ wrong) and Yaniv Even Haim of Wix (there were a few other presentations that I hadn’t heard due to the split tracks). Both were more intent on empowering developers to handle the full lifecycle, as well as handling issues of scale and reliability. For a startup, to have a monitored production environment is a real challenge, whereas most enterprises will already have a monitoring solution in place.

Out of the two categories, I think enterprises got it harder. DevOps started and is maturing with startups and Web companies, and a lot of the existing experience and tooling is suited for these. Enterprises will have to find their happy path towards DevOps; one key question would be whether to develop in-house DevOps pipelines and tooling, adopt the OSS ones (published by Facebook, Flickr, Etsy, Amazon, Netflix etc) or buy the emerging offering from established vendors (such as yours truly).


In the continuous delivery pipeline: feature flags and culture. Almost all presenters mentioned their use of feature flags (toggles, flips) and how once starting to use them they become a second nature. Culture is (as usual) hailed by all, although I believe that culture means many things to different people.



About the Author


Research Architect @HPSW, focused on what ALM means for developers, DevOps, user experience and other emerging practices. Previously was a functional architect and a developer in HP ALM and HP UFT products.

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