Selling Automation to Ops

The DevOps movement isn’t new in some companies. It’s the same coordination and teamwork that has existed for a long time between the development and operations staffs. Developers take advantage of the skills in Operations to get standardized environments for their work, and let the Ops people manage (and track) changes. Operations people talk to developers about the challenges and issues faced in production, and the let the developers build applications that can easily be deployed. The sharing of information ensures each group knows what the other faces, and the regular contact builds bonds and respect between employees. Neither wants to let the other down or make someone else’s job any harder than it needs to be.

However that’s not the case in many companies where developers view Operational staff as complainers that slow the process down. Operations staff see developers as wild and irresponsible, tossing code into production that they don’t need to support and haven’t tested. Both of these views are correct in that each side sees a reality in the process that makes their job more difficult.

Ultimately I believe it’s up to developers to change things. Those of us that build the software need to respect the problems that instability causes and learn to help ensure that our changes can be deployed smoothly. The development side of an organization has more skill in tracking changes in version control, in managing the movement of those changes among environments, and in programming systems. We should be working to help push that knowledge through to Operations personnel that become responsible for our applications.

That means we need to build scripts and tools to migrate our changes and give them to Operations. I’d recommend that we learn how to automate the configuration of our development systems, as well as script our changes. Most modern platforms allow us to programmatically make changes, so let’s do that. Then let’s take a few hours and show Operations people how to use these scripts, and let them setup and change our development environments. It will be slow at first, but they’ll learn to make changes faster, but also bring stability to every environment from development to QA to production, and can ensure we have the same configurations everywhere. We’ll have one less thing to manage, and our changes will get deployed faster, but also more consistently.

Ultimately we all want the same thing. Better software delivered to customers faster. We want to Ship Safe, and Ship Often.

Steve Jones

The Voice of the DBA Podcast

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1 Response to Selling Automation to Ops

  1. I have found that working with the business to help automate tasks using VBA in Office and showing them the process of gathering information and the various iterations I have to go through makes them appreciate our work whilst also showing them why its very important to come up with a detailed and accurate explanation of a process

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