Jennifer Smith is a Software Consultant for ThoughtWorks Australia. She originally got into software development through the coincidence of mandatory C++ classes that formed part of her Music Technology degree. She equally accidentally became interested world of infrastructure and operations worked ‘cos you gotta get software out somehow! Grudgingly this has translated into actually enjoying learning more about infrastructure and understanding how to keep things running in production.
Q: How did you get involved in DevOps?
A: Working for ThoughtWorks, Continous Delivery is something that has become very much a default setting for me.
The DevOps movement is something that I have followed with interest for some time. As someone that is coming very much more from the ‘dev’ rather than the ‘ops’ side I was really interested in understanding more about what goes on underneath the abstractions I work with day to day. Partly through curiosity and wanting to learn new things and partly because I think it’s important to have at least an initial understanding as a developer.
Q: What do you see as the biggest advantage of DevOps?
A: I think that the biggest advantage of the DevOps movement/culture is ably demonstrated by the portmanteau itself – bringing together the two perspectives of development and operations together for greater good.
These two groups of people can learn a lot from one another – developers like myself who are exposed to running systems get a really good understanding of the challenges of keeping systems running, available and stable. I can’t speak too much from the other perspective, but I feel like there are developer-lead approaches to automation and readability that are a major benefit.
As I mention in my article, exposing developers to operations and support is one step on the way to helping them support their own systems. This not only gives them great experience and feedback but also frees up the operations folks to do bigger and better things.
Q: What do you see as the biggest challenge in DevOps?
A: I think that one of the biggest challenges is around the complexity of the tools, stacks and concepts in the operations space. People who have been doing it a while can start to lose the appreciation of this complexity (maybe a curse of knowledge effect http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curse_of_knowledge).
Although some things just are plain complicated, we can work a lot on addressing this via tools, visualisation and just taking a different perspective on the issue.