The Developers Have Won

Because I have nothing better to do on a Saturday night I thought I’d jot down a few random thoughts that have been floating around in my head. So this post may be a bit disjointed or rambling in nature, forgive me. If you would have told me 5 years ago that the Developer team within the company I worked for would be driving  the technological direction of IT within the organization, I would have laughed at you. Harken back to 2009, and what you would have seen in many organizations was a centrally planned IT, lead primarily from the infrastructure, administration, and operations teams. Developers, well they were not calling the shots, they were in many instances beholden to a rigid ideology that came from those central planners.

DevOpsToday, the developers have won control, and I don’t see that changing anytime soon. Furthermore the approaches to infrastructure are becoming more developer focused. The programability around all things “software defined” is dominating the focus of IT needs, and in turn we have entered the age of app-centric infrastructure. Todays new application approach is a scalable, agile, self healing, resilient, automated, distributed system, focused on programability (buzzword overload).  The apps are driving the business, and defining the infrastructure. The apps are created by the developer teams, and the operational efficiencies being achieved with this new focus are allowing businesses to achieve unheard of agility and ability to respond to the economic realities that a globally connected society demands.The goal is real time decision making, and the means to get to that point requires an infrastructure and development platform that can respond in real time as well.

The New Normal

If we look at the rapid rise of OpenStack, Chef/Puppet, the hyper-growth of Docker and containerization, as well as the far too many to name startups that are focused on the concepts around DevOps space, we see that there is a fundamental shift in how applications are being created, managed, and deployed. The “Cloud” was the enabler for this new normal mindset, and now there is a shift to bring the elastic nature that cloud presents inside the business and gain full control. These systems are taking greater advantage of the Screen Shot 2015-02-19 at 11.34.53 AMadvancements made in the infrastructure space. The “new normal” is to craft apps that understand these changes and can adapt as quickly as the changes take place.  In this landscape commodity hardware will dominate, and custom built hardware based solutions will be shunned. At true Web Scale, platforms like what is being done with the Open Compute project will be the infrastructure of choice, where down the food chain, Rack Scale, and Hyper Convergence will provide the basic building blocks for IT.

To close out, it’s a great time to be working in this space. Nearly every customer I speak with today is working to implement this new operational model, and it’s great to see all of the new companies that are popping up to meet the new challenges that this space presents. The biggest challenge I see right now, is keeping up with it all.

6 thoughts on “The Developers Have Won

  1. February 21, 2015 at 9:45 pm

    Like the post Gabriel. Couldn’t agree more that most of what you said here will be the new standard. I, for one am surprised that it hasn’t happened a lot sooner, but the road toward commodity hardware for the core infrastructure is lengthy.

  2. Kyle
    February 22, 2015 at 9:10 pm

    Most infrastructure folks lack programming ability from what I’ve seen, hopefully these changes will force them to keep up.

  3. February 24, 2015 at 6:05 am

    I disagree. Or, maybe what I mean is, I hope you’re wrong. Which is to say that even if I did agree with you, I would neither admit it nor enjoy it.

    The environments I’ve supported are still in a coming-of-age era with basic x86 virtualization. Teams are rigidly defined and change processes are archaic (e.g., “did you put in a CR for that vMotion?”). Cloud is still disregarded as a marketing ploy, even though many of us succumbed to the realization that cloud was inevitable. There’s some script-based automation in play, but the guy who built it quit a while back, and now only one person can support it.

    Perhaps it’s the logical consequence of spending my free-time on Twitter and reading blogs, and learning about the direction we’re moving in as an industry, while I spend my work day supporting a museum of obsoleted technology. But to think that DevOps will be uttered in the corridors here is, well, unthinkable. It’s an implementation gap problem, where industry is running faster than customers can keep up.

    The only way organizations such as the one I’m describing can keep up is to let go of the notion of incremental change and embrace a more disruptive approach to modernization. Hyperconvergence interests me because it is organizational change wrapped up in sheet metal. But, for the same reason, hyperconvergence scares the hell out of many technicians and IT managers.

    1. February 24, 2015 at 7:05 am

      Michael:

      Good comment, and I fully understand (and have been) exactly in that situation myself for a number of years. I still see what you describe when I visit customers as well, and after having a discussion with them (both around automation/cloud based efficiencies, and Hyper Convergence) some of them just seem to be of the mindset of “we’ve always done it that way”. And while I wont come out and say it to them on the spot, in the back of my mind I’m thinking that if they stick with that ridgid mindset, the one that causes so much dysfunction in the IT space, that they won’t have jobs in the future. Their skill sets will lag, and they will find themselves passed by, as will the organizations they support.

      Yes thats a fairly broad assertion, and it may not apply to all industries and companies, but I do see it happening for a very large swath of companies as the economics change, as automation becomes more prevalent in our daily lives, as robotics and machine based concepts become more the norm.

      Or maybe I’m just spending far too much time in more advanced customer spaces and I can’t shift down back to that 2009 way of thinking.

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