Not such a dramatic title this time… DevOpsDays London – Day 2

Here are some highlights of Devops Days London November 2013 – Day 2 that I wanted to share.  If you missed my blog about Day 1, it’s here.

First up was John Willis aka botchagalupe who is well-known in the DevOps community, partly due his podcasts DevOpsCafe.  John was a great presenter and only a few minutes in, I was resolute to listen to more DevOpsCafe.

John spoke about software driven networks (SDN) which he described as the next frontier of DevOps.   He started off explaining how SDN works.  I won’t attempt to regurgitate it, but I can highly recommend this video about SDN that I watched after someone recommended it at the last DevOpsDays London.

John provided an excellent list of resources on SDN here.

John drew parallels between the adoption of automated Configuration Management tools (e.g. Puppet and Chef) and the adoption of SDN.  He predicted that SDN will experience similar reactions that automated Configuration Management received such as fear and resistance.  I’m sure he’s right.  

It was interesting to me that he regarded adoption of automated Configuration Management tools as something that happened between 2000 and 2010.  This was a reminder of quite how far ahead of the game some organisations are with infrastructure-as-code.  Personally I wasn’t even aware of Puppet until at least 2009!  

John mentioned that Frenetic is an important language in SDN and that SDN has its own equivalent to Vagrant in the form of Mininet.  If that sentence doesn’t make sense, basically Vagrant is a tool for managing virtual images on your local development machine so that you can develop against more live-like servers and so that you can develop and test infrastructure-as-code code. So Mininet is a tool to developing and testing SDN code.  If you aren’t yet into Vagrant, read this.

Next up was Jeffrey Fredrick to talk about culture and mutual learning.  It was a great contrast to John’s talk and a reminder that in addition to tools and processes, the DevOps movement is heavily concerned with improving the culture at organisations.  (NB. John did mention culture in particular CAMS

Jeffrey talked though some of the concepts on here and I particularly liked the graph that true collaboration being dependent on mutual trust and respect, and a willingness and freedom to disagree.  It make me reflect a lot on particular situations in the past when conflict had occurred and I wondered whether it was indeed due to lacking mutual trust and respect.

Jeffrey described a psychology experiment where smoke had been pumped into a doctors’ surgery waiting room.  When one person was in the room, the person was most likely to draw the obvious logical conclusion that the smoke wasn’t a good sign and leave the room.  However, when multiple people were in the waiting room more often than not people didn’t move for fear of embarrassment.  I think this is called the Bystander Effect.  Anyway, the main point that I took from it was around avoiding embarrassing your colleagues.  I certainly agree that working hard to think about how your actions may make others feel is extremely important, especially during high stress times like service outages.

He mentioned Chris Argyris who I’d come across before due to his work about organisations and learning.  Definitely going to read some of his books.

The last full talk of the day was from Pieter_Hintjens.  Peter spoke about successful rules for open source software projects  He spoke without slides and stood in front of the stage and I must admit I found this format a little harder to follow.  He described how well the ZeroMQ community works and it certainly impressed me enough to want to find out more by literally reading the ZeroMQ manual and specifically the chapter about the community.  I also read his wikipedia page which highlights his strong and very interesting views about patents.

What a great DevOpsDays event, can’t wait for the next one!

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