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huddleAndy

Huddle.com – Being Agile about Agile with Andy McLoughlin

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John Willis / 

Last week I attended a Pacific Crest Mosiac Summit in Vail Colorado and met with a number of institutional technology investors.  During the summit there were a number of interesting BOF’s and I was fortunate enough to moderated a #devops BOF.  Andy McLoughlin the founder of Huddle.com, was one of the individuals in the Devops BOF and he blew me away with some of his internal #devop practices.  I am happy to share some of Andy’s insights here with you in the video.

 

TechDebtGatt

Full video of Israel Gat interview (Agile in enterprise, DevOps, Technical Debt)

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Damon Edwards / 

After posting the exceprt on Technical Debt, I’ve gotten a number of requests to post the full video of my beers-in-the-backyard discussion with Israel Gat (Director of Cutter Consortium’s Agile Product & Project Management practice).

We covered a number of interesting topics, including bringing Agile to enterprises, how Israel found himself part of the DevOps movement, and the measurement of Technical Debt.

TechDebtGatt

DevOps and Technical Debt: A Debt Crisis in Your Workplace?

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Damon Edwards / 

With all of the recent global financial news being dominated by various debt crisises, this seems like a fitting time to point out that there is another type of debt that is rampant in IT organizations as well.

This type of debt also sneaks up on you if you aren’t keeping an eye on it and it too can have devastating effects. I’m talking about Technical Debt.

Technical Debt is already well known in the Agile circles as way of quantifying the deficit created by cutting corners on code quality or completeness in order to speed business feature delivery. The “Technical Debt” is the difference between doing something good enough for now rather than doing it right.

The debt metaphor is used because it implies that the organization has taken on liabilities that must be “repaid” (i.e. fixed) at some point in the future. The further along in development you move without getting rid of that debt, the more the debt grows. And like monetary debt, there is a nasty compounding effect at work here as well.

 

My favorite short explanations of the main points of the metaphor are:

  • Skipping design is like borrowing money
  • Refactoring is like repaying principal 
  • Slower development due to complexity is like paying interest

Folks like Ward Cunningham, Martin Fowler, and Israel Gat do a much better job of explaining Technical Debt than I do and I highly recommend reading their work.

So what does this have to do with DevOps? I think it’s becoming increasingly clear that DevOps problems can best be approached and quantified using the concepts of Technical debt. I hear people all the time digging themselves into deep holes of DevOps problems with mindset of “lets just get these features out the door first and then we’ll come back and fix our process and automation issues”. They are taking on massive amounts of technical debt and are usually lacking a way to quantify or account for it.

Let’s try the above definitions on for size with one particularly common DevOps problem — missing or poor quality automation:

  • Missing or poor quality process automation is like borrowing money
  • Implementing and improving process automation is like repaying principal
  • Slower pace of innovation and poor execution due to missing or poor quality process automation is like paying interest

It does seem to fit quite well. And the best part? Aside from being a concept that forward thinking developers have already embrace, Technical Debt has also been proven to be a persuasive metaphor at the executive level. Now we just have to port these ideas and vocabulary to the mainstream of the DevOps movement.

The next time you are struggling to convince an executive to fund and support DevOps work, remember to looking into using tried and true Technical Debt arguments.

Below is an except from a recent video interview I did with Israel Gat of the Cutter Consortium. In this segment he goes into what technical debt is and how it can be used to prove the cost of not “doing it right”.

 

Update: If you are at Agile 2011, go see Israel speak at one of his sessions. It’s worth it. His session on Wednesday, ‘Super-Fresh Code’, promises to be of interest to anyone grapping with DevOps issues.

 

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Matt Ray talks Crowbar, Chef, and OpenStack integration for building private clouds (VIDEO)

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Damon Edwards / 

Also while in Austin, I stopped by Opscode‘s satellite offices to talk to Matt Ray about the integration work he is doing with Crowbar (a soon to be open source bare-metal provisioning tool from Dell), Chef, and OpenStack. This toolchain stretches the concept of infrastructure as code all the way from the bios to the provisioning of a private cloud… it’s a “datacenter as code”.

See the short (06:39) video below:

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DevOps in the Enterprise: Whiteboard Session at National Instruments (Video)

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Damon Edwards / 

I was recently in Austin, Texas and had a chance to visit National Instruments and talk DevOps.

National Instruments is a rare case study. While it’s common to hear DevOps stories coming from web startups, National Instruments definitely falls into the category of a traditional legacy enterprise. 

After meeting the larger team, I settled into a conference room with Ernest Mueller and Peco Karayanev to get a deeper dive into both their DevOps and multi-vendor Cloud initiatives. Below is the video from that session.

0:00 – Intro
Topics include:

  • How Ernest, Peco, and National Instruments got from traditional legacy IT operations thinking to DevOps thinking
  • Scaling a single web app in a startup vs. managing the “long tail of long tails” in a heterogeneous enterprise environment
  • Challenge of moving developers from a desktop software mindset to developing for the cloud

10:37 – Whiteboard
Topics include:

  • “Sharing is the Devil”… Managing complexity through isolation by design
  • Overview of NI cloud architecture
  • “Operations as a Service”
  • Model-driven provisioning
  • Building cloud apps that span multiple clouds (Azure and AWS)
  • Working with deployment tools (and enabling developer self-service/maintenance)
  • Tools the team is publishing as open source projects (Only the second time that National Instruments has released something under an open source license)

 

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DevOps Days Mountain View 2011: Escaping the DevOps Echo Chamber (Video)

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Damon Edwards / 

“Escaping the DevOps Echo Chamber” panel at DevOps Days Mountain View 2011.

Gene Kim (Founder of Tripwire / Author of “Visible Ops”)
Ernest Mueller (National Instruments)
Lee Thompson (Hewlett-Packard)
Tom Grant (Forrester Research)
John Christian (TSYS)
Jez Humble (Thoughtworks)
John Alioto (Microsoft)

Moderator: Damon Edwards (DTO Solutions)

See all videos from DevOps Days Mountain View 2011

DevOps Days Mountain View:
http://devopsdays.org/events/2011-mountainview/

Special thanks to LinkedIn for hosting DevOps Days Mountain View 2011.

Also, thank you to the sponsors:
AppDynamics  DTO Solutions  Google  MaestroDev  New Relic  Nolio
O’Reilly Media  PagerDuty  Puppet Labs  Reactor8  Splunk  StreamStep
ThoughtWorks  Usenix

 

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