What is DevOps?

The term "DevOps" describes a dynamic approach in which software development (Development) and IT operations (IT Operations) work closely together to accelerate the delivery, improvement and deployment of products. A successful DevOps transformation involves not only special methods and tools, but above all a cultural change within the company to the so-called DevOps culture.

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DevOps is teamwork: Skillful dovetailing

The core idea of a DevOps culture is that teamwork and shared responsibilities lead to better results. Through close collaboration and strong automation, teams become more efficient, faster, and can expect higher customer satisfaction as the quality of products noticeably increases. At the same time, each team member is involved to some degree in all phases of the product lifecycle. For example, developers are not solely responsible for the development of new features, but also for the impact of their changes on the stability and performance of live operations. Conversely, IT operations staff are involved in planning and development phases to ensure governance, security and compliance at this early stage.

Many teams use dedicated DevOps tools to make their work transparent and thus make collaboration smoother. The more visible the individual priorities, workflows and responsibilities are, the more seamlessly the different areas can be dovetailed. That's why shared statistics are also among the worthwhile points of connection. Beyond Dev and Ops, Quality Assurance and, as needed, other departments are often integrated into the resulting framework.

DevOps is a journey: Every step counts

The DevOps approach combines agile thinking, lean concepts and far-reaching automation measures with an incremental development process. This strong combination results in short release cycles, thanks to which teams can plan better and assess risks more specifically. Changes in requirements are also implemented much more quickly thanks to the short time intervals. Continuous improvement has its place in this dynamic environment, as do continuous integration and continuous delivery - in other words, with DevOps, everything is in flux. Code changes are regularly integrated, updates are continuously provided, and processes are inexorably improved. In a DevOps culture, there is always something that can - and will - be further optimized.

DevOps is the courage to make mistakes: A look at history

If you look for the origins of DevOps, you can't avoid four names: Patrick Debois and Andrew Shafer, as well as John Allspaw and Paul Hammond. At an agile conference in Toronto in 2008, exactly one member of the audience turned up for Andrew Shafer's spontaneous "Agile Infrastructure" discussion: Belgian consultant and project manager Patrick Debois, who had long been frustrated by the deadlocked, non-transparent IT structures in his organization. The lively discussion between the two initially resulted in an interest group for agile system administration.

About a year later, the problem of isolated, poorly communicating IT departments was once again in the spotlight at an international conference. At the 2009 O'Reilly Velocity Conference, Flickr employees John Allspaw and Paul Hammond presented their collaboration methods for Dev and Ops. In addition to shared metrics and responsibilities as well as interpersonal respect, they particularly focused on the need for change - despite the fact that change would always mean risk to live operations. The approach presented, therefore, was to enable change with risk present but as low as possible. Debois, who could not attend the conference himself, took the inspiring talk as an opportunity to hold his own conference in Ghent: DevOpsDays, which gave the DevOps approach its name.

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