The Death of DevOps

DevOps Borat
My first experience managing a DevOps team came in 2010 when I took the VPE role at Sonian. While on the surface my new team looked like traditional system administrators, they shared three traits that were new to me in operations: a commitment to agile, a hybrid of software development & operations skills, and a focus on infrastructure as code. I instantly decided to embrace the emerging term DevOps, and supported the team on its way to some great successes (blogged about in a post called The Virtuous Cycle of DevOps).

But four years later, I feel the need to say what no one else seems to want to say: DevOps is dead.

I first began to suspect its death as I watched operations professionals change their job titles on LinkedIn with no corresponding change in job function. This was followed by the rise of the consultants: companies providing high-priced experts to train uninitiated organizations on practices that were mainstreamed years ago. The final realization came with the arrival of DevOps books, which promoted cutting edge concepts such as continuous integration, continuous delivery, agile, automation, and Lean.

So the DevOps movement died for a simple reason: it was all culture and no movement. Technical movements have core tenets, supported by technology and/or processes. While DevOps has some loose tenets, it has no supporting technology or processes, and thus never rose to anything more than a cultural fad.

It was a great party while it lasted, but it’s over now and time to go home. Feel no shame in going back to calling yourself a system administrator, operations engineer, network engineer, or any of the pre-DevOps titles. The only shame you should feel is failing to embrace the modern practices that come in the age of agile software development and cloud computing.

The Wikipedia definition of DevOps is:

" development that stresses communication, collaboration and integration between software developers and information (IT) operations professionals."

By this definition, if you are an operations professional that commits yourself to communicating, collaborating and integrating with a software development team, you are DevOps.

I should also note that you are also... doing your jobs. ;)