DevOps days in Moscow

Devopsdays is a worldwide series of technical conferences covering topics of software development, IT infrastructure operations, and the intersection between them. Topics often include automation, testing, security, and organizational culture.

The first DevOpsdays was held in Ghent, Belgium in 2009. Since then, many DevOpsdays conferences were taking places worldwide in different countries.

Actually these conferences popularized both: the term and the philosophy of DevOps. And when DevOpsDays announced first in Russia, of course, I couldn’t miss this chance:)

The Definition

First of all, let me introduce you to another term rising up from the flesh, out of two major related trends. The first one was called “agile system administrator” or “agile operations”. It came from applying newer Agile and Lean approaches to deal with operations work. The second is a bigger expanded definition of the value of collaboration of operations and development team through all phases of development lifecycle while making a service.

Thoughts from chiefs

Once Jez Humble (don’t need no introduction) said, DevOps is

“a cross-disciplinary community of practice dedicated to the study of building, evolving and operating rapidly-changing resilient systems at scale.”

That is so great and substantial, of course, however it might be excessively too esoteric and particular to Internet startup styles. We believe you can easily characterize term DevOps more specific as the act of operations and development engineers participate in the whole service lifecycle, from a starter plan procedure to continuous production support. DevOps is not a goal, but endless process of getting better. It’s an idea of creating a culture of people want to improve every day.

Presentations

Keynote was delivered by Jan De Vries, DevOps/agile evangelist. He spoke about the relationship of Antifragility and DevOps.

Devops engineer, as no one else, should be able to create a system out of chaos, to fortify it from attacks and falls. This doesn’t means engineer is independent from the system. It’s two interrelated components. So, guys, it’s time to be a little better.

Your company is worth a billion? You need antifragility in order to kicks the zeroes. © Jan DeVries

Interesting experience shared by big-time russian banks (AlfaBank, Otkritie Bank, Raiffeisen). They told about what methods to be used in a large bureaucratic company, how to perform DevOps practices and achieve delivery time of code in production for about 2–3 hours (time-to-market). About what and how to talk, how to change people minds and convince them. May be take your team for the weekend out of the city and tell ’em about bright future with DevOps, and then just get drunk. Sounds like a plan, right? :)

Why we need DevOps? From the pain, all the good comes from pain © @KnyshNikolay, Raiffeisen

Almost literally burned on stage, the russian-speaking american Leon Fayer, apparently justifying his nickname @papa_fire. With plenty of humor and a lot of deep thoughts explained, he told us why techies need to be friends with businessmen.

“I don’t understand why developers write code with errors”. A typical business © @papa_fire

But earlier, he said DevOps usually comes up with no errors. The general topic was who DevOps is and what DevOps is not. People think that DevOps means that developers are taking over operations and doing it themselves. Had to say, part of that is true and part of it is not.

DevOps is not allowed in the office and put on the table © @papa_fire

Marcin Wielgus, the lead developer of the project Kubernetes at Google shared his experience of using this manager of container clusters. Sounded really cool and excitingly. As much that discussion of the keynote resulted to separate session in open space.

Anton Weiss from Otomato said that it is important to have flow metrics of useful changes. Otherwise you never know what are really valuable and can’t work more quickly.

The most important indicator speed — average turnaround time © @antweiss

There were disastrous reports too. Guys from Stoloto (russian lottery) told that they moved servers to the cloud and it somehow works. So they don’t need Ops anymore. And come up with this new term — NullOps :)

Open Space

After all the presentations happened in open space sessions, we came to format of free discussion to talk on various subjects. I went to discussion of the implementation DevOps culture. Summary for me: culture of DevOps is necessary and important, company needs an enthusiast of DevOps philosophy. If company does not understand necessity of DevOps, then marketplace will decide who will stay alive.

Organisation

Event was organized on a high level. As a result of the measures adopted by organizers, all little flaws have been nipped in the bud.

Presentation itself was so exciting, the sound and video worked perfectly. Conference networking app supplied by meyou.ru. Using the app you staying in touch with any member of the conference, to get quick access to content, schedule, fresh tweets and photos. And this is not an advertisement, it is really cool app.

Before you suspect me in promoting, I got to tell about sponsors :) Great contests with generous prizes, an option to exchange for the red cap — a calling card of event. Spoiler: it was a hat :)

The space is big enough to fit the conference, everything is near at hand. And free cookies… :) So feel free to put a-minus for the conference.

Summary

Overall, I am glad I had a chance to visit this event. Even after a while it’s nice to remember the all the bright moments from the conference, great ideas and good people. I hope that DevOps community in Russia will actively expand and I’ll be a part of it :)

In the end, DevOps is kinda tricky to define, just like its older friend Agile. But it is worth doing though. When left at the pure philosophy level, points to be a successful DevOps or Agile professional means to know all the layers that go in and out, and what a given DevOps implementation may contain or not contain. So, what DevOps hopes to bring to Agile is the conception and experience that software isn’t fully done until it is successfully delivered to a customer.

by Maksim Kolesnikov, DevOps
Dima Dmytriienko, editor & Brand Specialist
with help of Oleksandr Knyga, Software Engineer