DevOps engineers have existed since computing started….but they were called Engineers or sometimes Systems Engineers.
Engineers have not disappeared but they have changed.
Five things occurred which have had a serious impact on the ability of IT to deliver and they were mostly related to cost pressure and the limited skills available to support the enterprise. Each of the following have contributed:
1. the adoption of outsourcing is clearly one
2. increased IT compliance requirements and resulting regulation
3. the complexity that comes with increasingly complex products
4. off-shore development
5. workplace politics
Innovative people always have a response to these challenges, responses include automation, virtualisation and Cloud but they are not a silver bullet and you may notice that the contributors identified above are not technical but more closely linked to people and process.
In very few organisations are there sufficiently qualified, motivated and competent people to deliver working solutions. The system integrators operated in this field but their skills have been diluted by off-shoring.
Technical staff in the Enterprise have a huge wedge driven between operations and the business.
The most valuable resource any organisation has is its’ people. People who solve problems.
So perhaps the use of the term DevOps is helpful as it emphasises the capabilities of the real problem solvers in a business. Let’s just be careful because like too many other things in IT in particular everyone now seems to be a DevOps engineer.
The reinvention of Engineers who are focused on delivering fully functioning solutions is a positive thing; but did they disappear in the first place?
ps: a very smart boss of mine told me in 1996 that I was ‘build, implement and run’.
He used the term to help a failing project refocus; it was late, requirements and implementation were floundering and we were not being paid.
3 months later and after a lot of hard work with 3 people spending far too much time in one another company the project delivered and was hailed a success.
The phrase ‘build, implement and run’ sums up for me the whole DevOps movement. And the three adversaries in BIR are now my most trusted allies (a developer, DBA and system admin)