The beach was buzzing with energy and enthusiasm on Thursday evening for Tech In Motion's panel centered on DevOps. According to Tech in Motion's leas organizer, Chelsea Villalobos, membership for events has grown since she joined the organization in August 2014. She credits new spaces such as the Cove for providing a place for the community to gather, learn and network in Orange County instead of having to drive to Los Angeles and San Diego as they did in the past. This evening's focus on DevOps was in response to the community requesting more education-focused events and to provide a space for members of the numerous OC DevOps Meetup groups to gather.
Moderated by Max Schnepper, Practice Manager of Workbridge Associates and a subject matter expert on the local DevOps market, the panel began with defining some key terms. DevOps is a framework for identifying and eliminating constraints, so processes such as software development and deployment run smoothly at a high level of efficiency. According to panelist Matt Chung, a Systems Development Engineer with Amazon Web Services in Seattle and founder of the OC DevOps Group, "DevOps is both technical and cultural. It involves making sure teams such as software developers and the people who administer the resulting systems are co-existing and working together. Technical productivity and efficiency are also part of it. The goal is to eliminate waste and add value to the company." Chung also shared the following on the OC DevOps community, "the DevOps community in Orange County is by and large in its infancy. We bloomed much later than Seattle and Los Angeles. Both of those communities were founded in 2011, while OC DevOps formed in December 2014. This trend is not esoteric to the DevOps space. The OC NodeJS group, for example, launched two years after LA. It is not that OC turns a blind eye to innovative technologies; rather, the enterprise keeps their finger on the pulse of emerging technologies and embraces them once they reach maturity."
When asked about whether DevOps is a good idea, panelist Jedidiah Yueh, Founder of Delphix and Avamar (sold to EMC), responded, "software is a key battleground and winners and losers are being defined by the way they ship software and interact with customers and users. Shipping software when you need it is key. DevOps is the realization that existing IT systems are too slow. The ROI on DevOps is pretty clear. All organizations can benefit from automation and tooling. Just look at the data. Put the right data in the right environment and you can improve release timelines and gains across all faces of the SDLC (Software Development Life Cycle)." Panelist Spencer Seebald, Senior Field Technical Solutions Engineer with Puppet, Inc., added, "People are starting to see software, regardless of the industry, as a competitive advantage for business and a way to drive it forward. DevOps people can help move things along more quickly, and that is an advantage. Data shows companies that adopt DevOps move faster in a more reliable and controlled fashion." Chris Ciborowski, CEO, and Co-Founder of Nebulaworks shared from a startup perspective that the best DevOps approach should have such a high degree of automation that there is little human intervention unless it involves innovation. Additionally, Ciborowski emphasized that DevOps “eliminates the need for people to move levers and turn dials, and instead helps humans focus on finding new ways to solve problems.”
Regarding DevOps from a Windows perspective, Seebald responded that while Windows administrators were previously GUI (Graphic User Interface) driven because they were not able to script to other solutions, there is a shift toward opening the development environment up for new custom-made solutions. Yueh added his perspective stating that development will continue to expand in the Linux space due to a vast majority of tools being open source which allows for more control. Regardless of the environment chosen, all panelists agreed that the focus should be on running your technology where it performs best.
The evening concluded with questions about the future of DevOps and how businesses at different stages can adopt this framework. Chris Ciborowski shared his perspective, "with DevOps practices outside of the US such as Europe as Australia; they are already working and running in the cloud, applying these strategies. As these markets see where improvements can still be made, they will also see where the trend moves." Ciborowski added that, “you cannot buy or hire DevOps” and that businesses, whether they are a startup or enterprise, can benefit because DevOps encourages, “a real understanding of how you are developing software and how the business maps into the process of creating future releases and testing. All of these processes go hand in hand.”
Hai contributes to the Cove as a content writer for both the Currents newsletter and blog. As an alumnus of UCI with a degree in English and a co-founder of a local creative agency, Hai's focus is centered on spotlighting events, stories, and startups within the Orange County community. He is passionate about entrepreneurship and has participated in fast-pitch competitions through the UCI Antrepreneur Center and has co-organized local business and startup groups such as 1 Million Cups and Orange County Young Entrepreneurs.