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I launched the BMC DevOps Leadership Series by starting with the man who brought us DevOps, Patrick Debois. He's smart, savvy, and one of the most freindly and generous souls I've ever met. I am proud to know him.

That said, we asked him a few things about DevOps. As usual, we worked out all of the

questions ahead of time and went from there. Tom Parish, the one-time BMC podcast hsot, conducted the interview.







Tom Parish:  I'm glad you're here.  It's not often that I get guests from Belgium, so this is a special treat.   The first question is: what is DevOps?


Patrick Debois: The multi-million dollar question everybody keeps on asking me.  There is not one definition, and I doubt if there will ever be one.  It can mean different things to different people.  I can tell you about how I came to coin the term, what it means to me and how other people have begun to see it.


Before I came up with the term, I was very involved with projects that used Agile Development methodology. I was supporting them from a system administration point of view, and I felt a bit left out of their group. I wanted to start doing the same things and help them from my perspective.  I first named it Agile System Administration, and then I thought it was more like a system administrator doing Agile, while development was doing Agile – we needed development and operations to work together.



I saw the term DevOps as collaboration, but in reality, this is a narrow definition.  It's not just about development and operations collaborating, it's getting every silo, every part of the business, of the enterprise and the organization collaborating to meet business goals.  The term is short and is catchy; making it longer, like Dev-Security-Ops just didn’t make sense, so DevOps just started getting around.



Tom Parish:  I guess it's fair to say that it's not just a technology and it's not some interim thing, it's more of a philosophy that combines technology and people into a single perspective.  Isn't that it?



Patrick Debois: Yes.  That’s because it was born from my perspective of Agile Development, Agile as such has a manifesto and talks about more of a mentality or philosophy on how you collaborate.  Tools exist to support that methodology or mentality.  There is a direct leader relationship, of course, but getting the culture and getting the collaboration going will make sure you succeed.  Your tool alone will not make you successful.



Tom Parish:  How old is the concept of DevOps?



Patrick Debois: It was first coined in September/October 2009, but as a philosophy, there were already a lot of people doing it. People who were automating and collaborating, but there wasn't like a common term for it.  Some people just say. ”Oh, DevOps is just being a professional system administrator who proactively reaches out to all parts of the company, or a developer reaching out to all parts of the company,” I guess that's a bit different.


Even with all the tools and automation in place, it just shifts in the way that you actively go out of your silo and seek out that collaboration. 




To be continued when Patrick discusses tooling, ITIL and collaboration in DevOps.