At PuppetConf 2013, IT Automation Solutions and DevOps Culture Take The Spotlight
Keep Calm and Automate All The Things. If you caught up with Rackspace in San Francisco last week at PuppetConf 2013, then you saw our t-shirt swag emblazoned with this “Keep Calm” slogan. But it’s not just any old meme; it’s also the catchphrase that perfectly describes the overarching theme of the conference.
PuppetConf is a two-day deep dive into all things Puppet. The annual conference brings together some of the best minds in IT for intense discussions on the latest trends in DevOps, cloud automation and continuous delivery. Last week’s event sold out, with more than 1,300 people attending on site and 4,000 others following through an online live-stream. <!-- more -->
Puppet itself is a great configuration management system, but it really shines when combined with other tools such as Jenkins, MCollective and Hubot, among others. At the conference, minds weren’t just focused on automation. Sharing is caring, and sharing was definitely at the forefront with topics such as writing great and reusable modules, testing them, publishing them, or just generally contributing back to the community. There was even a talk for those of you who are rebels like myself and think "packaging" is great.
Another tool I’m a huge fan of is Augeas. On Friday, I gave a presentation on the Puppet module AugeasProviders and explained how it extends Puppet with customer providers. This information is really useful because by writing custom types and providers using Augeas, you can go back to defining your environment with a DSL (rather than managing templates or modules dedicated to defined resources).
One way to reap the benefits outlined in these talks is to change your company’s DevOps culture. But, what if you haven't embraced DevOps in your organization? Are you running into cultural or political roadblocks that prevent change? Or, do your developers and engineers just generally fight like Vampires vs Werewolves?
There are lots of ways to rebuild your organization’s DevOps culture to reflect the changing needs of your business.
One strategy is to use social techniques and tooling to minimize miscommunication between developers and operations. This is crucial because poor communication is one of the most common causes of failure within teams. You can also try to sell DevOps better by enabling patterns that produce awesome results. Why not start growing DevOps experts rather than simply hiring them?
The goals of any company are to reduce time to market, improve quality and increase revenue, and achieving these sometimes involves changing existing business practices. Now that PuppetConf 2013 has wrapped up, you can check out the slide decks online and read about the automation tools and strategies to improve DevOps culture.
The videos should also be posted soon. There are a few more memorable quotes from this year’s presentations that you’ll want to listen for, including:
“Special snowflakes are bad.” – Moses Mendoza (Release Engineer, PuppetLabs)
“Diversity is great in people, but not systems.” – Gordon Rowell (Site Reliability Manager, Google)
“We (DevOps people) are the meat cloud.” – James Fryman (Operations Hacker, GitHub)
In case you missed us in San Francisco last week, be sure to join us for another round of PuppetConf next year. The dates for the 2014 conference are already set for September 23-24, and a Dev Day is scheduled for September 22, 2014.