DevOps is the New Potato!

By: Savinder Puri

In my job as a DevOps evangelist, I am fortunate to meet customers across multiple geographies and industries. Most days, it’s about understanding real, complex business challenges and using a DevOps mindset, processes and toolsets to resolve them;  pretty awesome stuff – where you get the feeling that you’ve done your two cents for world peace!

Today wasn’t one of those days.

I met the kind of customer who’s running his business off Excel sheets, thinks collaboration is overrated and DevOps is already dead. And is left wondering why his technical debt is through the roof. And is stumped that his last release had five P1’s in two days!

As I returned from the meeting on the train, the lady next to me pulled out a mashed potato dish and started to savour it. I’m still mulling the meeting. And that sight suddenly strikes a eureka moment: “DevOps is the new potato!”

Let me explain:

It’s a Global Movement

I did some major research and found the following legitimate dishes, in different cuisines across the world:

Every enterprise worth its salt, is either “doing DevOps” today or “has done it”. You get the picture.

Only Few Can Actually Bake a Really Good One

You hear of the FANG’s (Facebook, Amazon, Netflix, Google) stories of doing thousands of releases every day. And then of the new startup who can switch feature flags and do awesome A/B Testing. At a DevOps conference, a large retailer will talk about it’s super awesome transformation story. While the next door Enterprise is still trying to get Continuous Delivery across its monoliths in place.

It’s Mashed Potato. No, it’s Creamy Mashed Potato. No, it’s Creamy Mashed Potato with Dill Sauce

It’s DevOps. No, it’s DevSecOps. No no, it’s BizDevOps. Call it what you will – it’s only as good as the challenges it solves. And the business value it delivers. And the productivity gains it drives across the SDLC.

I remember, circa 2000 when I was a Build Jockey (Not BC!), we had a home grown system at Siemens that would fire off a build with each developer commit. Across around seven hundred developers in two continents and four locations. Only, we did not know it was to be called a Continuous Integration server years later – we simply called it a Build Server!

A Good Jacket Potato is Hard to Make

I’ve fallen in love with the humble jacket potato. When I had it the first time, in freezing December, it seemed pretty simple to make – just take a boiled potato, add dollops of butter, some spices and toppings and voila! It took me about eight months to make a half decent one at home.

Continuous Delivery seems very easy when you see a demo. Just click some buttons, deploy to cloud, Kubernetes is self healing and voila! I’ve known organisations that took seven weeks for the ports to be opened to download npm packages from the new Artifactory server. It takes a while for the technology solution to be implemented in a large enterprise. And getting the adoption truly imbibed takes years of persistent top-down strategy and bottom up efforts!

Creamy Mashed Potato is a Real Thing. And it Rules!

DevOps is a real thing. DevOps delivers the promised land. If done right and if scaled up. Check out the State of DevOps Report 2019 by Puppet Labs  or the The 2019 Accelerate State of DevOps by Google or talk to any of the leading analysts.

Creamy mashed potato is a foodie’s delight. When done well and with patience and tenacity!

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