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The Dark Side of DevOps

Chris Short
September 08, 2017

The Dark Side of DevOps

The DevOps journey is a combination of people, processes, and tooling. The culmination of these is a team of allies pushing the envelope and never resting on their laurels. There is no such thing as a completed DevOps transition. Resting on your laurels is not a DevOps mindset. DevOps and its allies should be iterating and improving upon what they have learned daily.

Chris Short

September 08, 2017

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    @ChrisShort devopsish.com

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    @ChrisShort devopsish.com

    • A quick intro about me

    • I've worked in IT for over twenty years now

    • I've worked in DevOps capacities since 2011

    • I'm currently at working at bankrate.com in Detroit, MI

    • There's a new project I'm participating in with opensource.com called DevOps Stories

    • It's about the intersection of open source and DevOps

    • If you're interested in helping out head over to opensource.com/devops-team

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  3. • True Story: Last year I lived in Raleigh, attended DevOpsDays here. But, I spoke at DevOpsDays Detroit.

    • This year, I live in Detroit, will attend DevOpsDays there and am speaking here in Raleigh.

    • The moral of that story is: be careful where you speak at your first DevOpsDays, you might end up living there.

    • But, Don't Knock Detroit

    • Blight is so 2000s

    • These are just a few pictures I've taken of Detroit since moving there

    • The city is going through a massive rebirth and it's amazing

    • If you are ever in town let me know, I'll give you a tour

    • On to the DevOps part of this talk

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  4. • One thing I love about DevOps is how failure is embraced

    • I love failure because it teaches us things we never would know about ourselves

    • Many people present DevOps as this great thing filled with

    • Roses

    • Rainbows

    • Unicorns

    • Maybe even a random Leprechaun

    • Sometimes it's nice to remind ourselves that DevOps has a dark side to it

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  5. • The Dark Side of DevOps is Complete Abject Failure

    • Failed DevOps Transformations Are a Real Thing

    • Organizations try to move their organization towards The Three Ways and fail

    • It happens; failure is a part of life

    • Let's Explore a Couple of Examples from My Own DevOps Journey

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    @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • Let me drop this quick disclaimer

    • This talk was adapted from an article I wrote in March: http://cshort.co/darkops

    • These are real world experiences I have had within organizations that I have been employed by

    • Identifying information is intentionally anonymous

    • If you think you are in one of these organizations please consider keeping that to yourself for the sake of others

    • Or don't if you're the rebellious type

    • Ready? Let’s walk into the cave on Dagobah together.

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    @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    When I say "abject failure", this is what I'm referring to

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    ▸ Dev teams adopted DevOps practices
    ▸ Traditional IT team was not adapting
    ▸ IT team was actively resisting DevOps
    ▸ Mutiny!!! Majority of IT team left company en masse
    ▸ Tribal knowledge left with remaining two team members
    @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • Dev teams adopted DevOps practices for flagship product

    • The traditional IT team was not adapting

    • IT team was actively resisting the transition towards a DevOps workflow

    • There was a mutiny and the majority of the IT team left the company en masse

    • Tribal knowledge rested with two remaining team members

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  9. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    Qatar, 2002
    • This is where I came into this sordid affair (in the twenty-teens)

    • I joined on as an operations lead to push the team into the future

    • A younger, less experienced, and slightly mislead Chris Short

    • "Well maybe not that young"

    • I should've used young Ewan McGregor but... Ya know... Episode 1

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  10. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • Week One was a sign of how bad this was going to be

    • ZERO formal processes and on boarding was terrible

    • Changed desks halfway through the second day

    • I had a loaner laptop and never had a work phone number while I worked there

    • Spent my first week working on compliance training I did not need to do

    • Did not have access to what I needed to complete the goals laid out for me

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  11. • Then the architecture review happened...

    • Company had been acquired for a HUGE sum of cash

    • The architecture review was not for me, the new lead, it was for the company that had bought them

    • I learned the office server room with faulty HVAC held some production functions

    • Learned that Windows NT 4.0 was still present in their infrastructure in 2015

    • Changes could not happen due to business concerns

    • Legal coverage was good enough for the corporate lawyers

    • No data stored on archaic OS versions; this was pretty much a lie

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  12. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • Then I started poking around the network

    • Was immediately told to stop

    • IT was concerned about the load I was putting on the network (from my laptop)

    • The "concern" was bogus and it was actually to keep the old guard in a position of power

    • The mutiny was on-going as the lingering staff continued to consolidate power

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  13. • Ambitious plan underway to move the flagship project over to a cloud provider and use containers

    • Majority of that work was being handled by a third party integrator

    • Plan was for the vendor to integrate and stand up the new infrastructure

    • Team would then take over operations

    • Company was relying more and more on the vendor when the opposite was the desired outcome

    • It was becoming clear the team was going to continue their resistance and I had no allies

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  14. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • Shortly before a major US holiday, I determined enough was enough

    • After three weeks, I was putting in my two weeks notice

    • The anti-DevOps mutiny was successful

    • The leadership tried very hard to get me to stay on

    • Leadership offered to terminate the remaining holdouts days before a major holiday

    • Not okay with morally bankrupting myself in the name of DevOps

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    @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • I had high hopes for my next opportunity

    • Fresh out of one DevOps failure I unintentionally jumped into another one

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  16. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • A full blown DevOps rebellion against the monolithic IT department was planned

    • DevOps was brought to bear within a small team working on an open source project

    • I had high hopes for this opportunity

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  17. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    Team was already using cloud native tools because existing tooling was inadequate:

    • Docker

    • Papertrail

    • Postgres

    • Slack for communication

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  18. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • CTO said cloud was prohibited; everything had to stay in house

    • Weeks or months to get a VM; DNS change requests took days or weeks

    • Team was going to utilize Heroku despite the IT organization stating “cloud” was prohibited

    • Shortly before my arrival they had done all the appropriate paperwork to deploy this new project

    • Assumption from the IT staff and paper pushers was that this new project was deploying in-house

    • All the documentation clearly stated Heroku was the workload’s destination

    • CRAFTY and I loved it!

    • It was so gangster

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  19. • IT department approval authorities signed off on utilizing cloud resources despite saying they never would

    • They just signed off on a full blown shadow IT project and it was right there in their own documents

    • This proved their ITIL and ITSM death grip process was not meeting their desired objectives

    • The cloud cat was out of the bag

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  20. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • IT attempted to change and satisfy the team's needs in-house

    • The IT process was a strict, by the book adherence to ITIL

    • It would never be able to shoehorn itself into a speedier process until the need for hand jamming tickets was eliminated

    • OpenStack instance as a developer playground was going to take a year or more

    • Tooling to enable API calls for IT resources was outsourced to a vendor with little feedback from our team

    • IT did not get it but the team was working around the bottlenecks

    • It was working for the team but my job of trying to get the IT org looking towards the future was next to impossible

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  21. • Resistance and educating the IT organization were critical components of helping them on their path towards transformation

    • The alternative was to join in the IT organization's thinking which as stifling innovation

    • Join them and you can ruin the galaxy together!

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  22. • The rebellion was in full force

    • Microservices were being built and deployed

    • IT organization had no way of keeping up with the multiple releases a day

    • Change occurred when IT organization realized it was lagging way behind

    • IT organization realized they couldn't compete on costs

    • Do to a host of other issues I decided to leave this position for another opportunity

    • Eventually compliant Azure resources were made available to the teams

    • Last I heard it was still taking months to get a VM in their datacenter

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    @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    What did I learn from these two journeys?

    Aside from changing jobs is easy in Raleigh/Durham

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    WE FAIL."
    Ralph Waldo Emerson

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  25. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • A mutiny and a rebellion might look the same from opposing perspectives

    • The rebellion was to change for the better while the mutiny was to maintain the status quo

    • This is not to say Ops is bad and Devs are great (far from it)

    • These jobs along my journey proves that motivated teams can act towards their common goal be it good or bad

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  26. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • I have learned that DevOps needs allies at all levels

    • I wish I would have learned this earlier in my career

    • Not just leadership

    • Not just individual contributors

    • People have to want to better their environments

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  27. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • The Dev Rebellion had people at all levels pointing at successes of the team

    • The Ops Mutiny had a core group of people trying to cast off change regardless of outcomes

    • But both were personal failures since I wasn't able to rally enough support in enough time to keep me from going mad

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  28. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • In Conclusion...

    • The DevOps journey is a combination of people, processes, and tooling

    • The culmination of these is a team of allies pushing the envelope

    • Never resting on their laurels

    • There is no such thing as a completed DevOps transition

    • Resting on your laurels is not a DevOps mindset

    • DevOps and its allies should be iterating and improving upon what they have learned daily

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  29. @ChrisShort devopsish.com
    • Thank you for your time today

    • Feel free to reach out to me on Twitter if you ever need another opinion or a nudge in a direction

    • Take care of each other out there

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