James Betteley writes: “Many years ago, someone decided to put me in charge of doing builds and releases of software. I can’t remember why, I think everyone else was out at lunch. I inherited a system of batch files, shell scripts and all sorts of weird and wonderful things which, to this very day, I still don’t understand. Since then I’ve made it my job to debunk complicated software systems, automate as much as possible and just try to make things more sensible. My main driver is bringing real business value through great Development & Operations processes, whether that be by using tools or implementing a new process or culture.”
Q: How did you get involved in DevOps?
A: Once upon a time in a software team in London, we needed someone to automate our deployments, and everyone else was out at lunch, so I drew the short straw. It turned out to be more interesting than I’d expected, and learning more about infrastructure and the runtime system was actually good fun. “Infrastructure as code” didn’t really exist in those days though, so I’ve seen the DevOps world emerge and change the way I work immeasurably.
Q: What do you see as the biggest advantage of DevOps?
A: “The biggest advantage of DevOps is that it reduces your time to market by 40%” Seriously, there is actually a report out there which makes this claim. It’s my favourite DevOps made-up fact. In reality, for me the biggest advantage of DevOps is better quality systems. Where a DevOps culture exists, delivery teams are able to design and deliver software which is tailor made for the production environment, which means more reliable, better performing systems.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge in DevOps?
A: I think it’s the whole “cultural change” thing. Most people now “get” that DevOps is about culture (as opposed to being just about automation), but what we still struggle to understand is exactly how to change a culture effectively. Depending on your existing culture, changing to DevOps can be a radical departure, and people just don’t appreciate how hard that can be.