where does DevOps work in the enterprise?

Gartner have been talking about bi-modal and tri-modal models of IT: some systems are legacy ones to be handled with legacy methods, with an emphasis on risk and control. Other systems are new and innovative, and can be managed with new techniques and a higher risk profile.

Most of the DevOps poster-children are greenfield: Netflix, Etsy, Amazon, Google... But we are now hearing names of older enterprises: Barclays, GE, Disney, Macy's, Nordstrom, Telstra...
Now this is interesting: what are they doing with DevOps?

I suspect much of the adoption of DevOps in enterprise is in [Gartner-speak:] Systems of Innovation / Mode 2, which nearly always equates to web/mobile and nearly always equates to standalone greenfield systems. Lets beware the over-enthusiasts who think DevOps can and should be rolled out through Systems of Record. This is a harder ask, reverse engineering DevOps ideas and tools into legacy environments. Is it proven? Have we arrived at generally accepted DevOps Enterprise practices? These are systems with a low appetite for risk. We want to see the evidence before we do anything radical with them.

Now, DevOps is not an all-or-nothing thing. Just like ITIL, we shouldn't "do" all of it. We adopt and adapt ideas as they deliver value. There are ideas in DevOps which we could potentially apply in all areas of IT, not just Systems of Innovation.

So we need to monitor what the DevOps Enterprise pioneers are doing, to see where they are applying DevOps, which parts of DevOps work where, and what practices are becoming generally accepted.

That's why I'm going to San Francisco, to the DevOps Enterprise conference, October 21-23 Image.

I asked some questions of Gene Kim, one of the organisers of the conference, about DevOps Enterprise. (If you are wondering where you have heard of Gene, he is an author of The Phoenix Project, The Visible Ops Handbook, and a founder of TripWire.)

Gene, how do you define "DevOps Enterprise"? I see it as the intersection of DevOps and legacy IT, the examination of how DevOps can be applied to what I call " Real IT". Am I close?

ImageI love this quote from Chris Little, which I think is very appropriate when talking about how DevOps is perceived by large, complex enterprises.

“If there’s anything that all horses [enterprise IT organizations] hate, it’s hearing stories about unicorns [DevOps shops]. Which is strange, because horses and unicorns are probably the same species. Unicorns are just horses with horns.” — Chris Little

In other words, enterprises practitioners will often to DevOps by saying, "We're not Amazon, Netflix, Etsy or Google. DevOps is not relevant to us."

I would define DevOps Enterprise merely as the community of practitioners who work in large, complex organizations who are adopting DevOps practices, which typically means more traditional industry verticals such as financial services, retailing, government organizations, etc.

Our goal with the DevOps Enterprise Summit is to assemble some of the best practitioners and leaders in the DevOps space, who are transforming how software and services are delivered in large, complex organizations. By doing so, we hope to achieve the following:

*share the emerging and evolving experiences of Agile, Continuous Delivery and DevOps in the enterprises
*accelerate enterprise IT transformations
*create a community of practice of fellow travelers

What is the origin of the term "DevOps Enterprise"?

I was talking with my friends Damon Edwards and John Willis, who along with Patrick Debois, have been the one of the primary sources of energy behind DevOpsDays. We were talking about how awesome it would be to highlight all the heroic and courageous tales of DevOps transformations in more traditional companies, of how people overcame suspicion and vanquished low-trust, command-and-control bureaucracies, etc.

In many (or most) of these cases, the person driving the DevOps transformation put themselves into tremendous personal jeopardy by taking on the entrenched silos, and proposing wildly different ways of working than traditional Dev and Ops processes.

In many ways, we thought these stories were as heroic as those being told at DevOpsDays, with an additional angle of political savvy needed to make it happen.

We thought, "It's DevOps in the enterprise." And thus, the "DevOps Enterprise Summit" was born. :)

I hear the DevOps Cookbook is nearing review stage. Will it address DevOps Enterprise? It seems to me the world is still working out how to do DE, it is still evolving: is there enough generally accepted practice yet?

The Cookbook will definitely address the topics and challenges discussed above. Because most IT practitioners aren't so lucky to be working at Google, Amazon, etc. Instead, they will need to mobilize the "coalition of the willing" in order to replicate the outcomes that the unicorns have achieved.

So all the strategies and tactics that we've observed enterprise practitioners of DevOps will be addressed.

That's why I'm going to San Francisco in October. I hope I will see you there! If not, I'll be reporting back.

See my Kamu project collecting learnings for the crossover between DevOps and Real IT

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