Reevaluate What Makes DevOps Work at DevOps Loop 2021

September 27, 2021 Patricia Johnson

DevOps came on the scene as a way to bridge the development and operations divide—to conquer the last mile of application delivery. It would enable agile development processes to actualize in agile delivery. It was anchored by the principles of culture, automation, lean, measurement, and sharing, which Jez Humble neatly packaged into the acronym CALMS. 

This was a bold new world where we all would solve the culture wars of developer freedom vs. operator need for stability and security. We’d automate the heck out of everything so that manual, time-consuming steps, like security checks and upgrades, would be a thing of the past. We’d adopt the lean manifesto of working in small batches to deliver value continuously. And we’d share across teams. There were hugs all around. 

I wish blog posts had sound effects, because if they did you’d be hearing the screech of a car doing a rapid 360, putting us right back where we started. It’s 2021, and we’re still working on CALMS—but this time with new cloud tech and Kubernetes in the mix. 

With that in mind, think of DevOps Loop at VMworld, a new event launching Oct. 4, as a place to examine core DevOps principles in the context of a modern app, multi-cloud world. At DevOps Loop, VMware is bringing together the folks that make DevOps work to help us all learn from the past, make sense of the present, and visualize a future that builds on the foundation of CALMS. 

Let me tell you why I’m so excited for this day, and all the ways you can prep to get the most out of it.

DevOps Loop principle #1: Stay CALMS

One thing we’ve realized is that the principles of CALMS are always applicable. But they need to be reinterpreted for this new world.

That’s why Joe Beda is kicking off DevOps Loop with his keynote, Evolving DevOps in the Age of Cloud Native. As an inventor of Kubernetes and a leader of the cloud native movement, Beda is especially well-positioned to help us understand DevOps in the context of the new tech realities. He can help us in our quest for CALMS in a changing landscape. 

And what better way to stay CALMS than by getting the perspective of someone who’s talking to both enterprise companies and software vendors about software delivery? Bola Rotibi, research director at CCS Insight, will be tackling the myths of DevOps and providing some tangible ways to make DevOps work for you.  

The “c” in CALMS—culture—will be a constant theme throughout the day. VMware’s Michael Coté frames the challenge in the description of his session, We Fear Change, by noting that “changing how people work is still the most persistent problem for organizations that want to improve their software process.” As a developer advocate and author focused on helping organizations build and run software better, he always has interesting takes on our industry. 

We also have Dr. Nicole Forsgren, DevOps analyst supreme, wrapping up the sessions with a keynote designed to answer the question Why Even DevOp? She’s done the research—see Accelerate: The Science of Lean Software and DevOps (IT Revolution Press, 2018)—and is currently a partner at Microsoft Research where she is digging into productivity and reimagining culture. This session will be great for those of us looking for facts and evidence on how to adapt ourselves and our teams for whatever the “new normal” is.

Review the agenda ahead of time so you’ll be ready to engage with the DevOps knowledge experts throughout the day. 

DevOps Loop principle #2: Go with the flow

Like most of the software industry, at VMware we tend to visualize DevOps as a continuous loop that software travels, from development to production. And there are good reasons for that. DevOps embodies the idea of automation and continuous improvement—the idea of developers and operators working seamlessly together.

Has this well-worn loop seen its better days? Emily Freeman is going to tell us why it may be time to rethink the software development lifecycle. In fact, she says “It’s time for a revolution.” As the author of DevOps for Dummies (For Dummies, August 2019) and principal of DevOps solutions at AWS, she spends her time solving for the human challenges of software engineering. I can’t wait to hear her perspective. 

And you can follow this up with a foundational session from developer advocate and cloud native guru Kat Cosgrove about CI/CD history. After all, if you don't know history, you are destined to repeat it. She’ll tell us how we paved this loopy road, and how that informs our path today.

You’ll also be able to take a closer look at the business benefits of GitOps (infrastructure as code continuously updated) with Cornelia Davis. She helped bring Cloud Foundry to the industry, authored Cloud Native Patterns (Manning, 2019), and is now at Amazon. You’ll learn more about the GitOps principles and practices that drive great outcomes. 

And be sure to hold on tight in the middle of the event for the rapid fire of 10 lightning talks that will last 10 minutes each. These sessions will be fun and tightly focused, full of helpful tips that you can put to use right away. You’ll find topics about practices and people, including how to: 

  • Create more resilient systems, with Jason Yee (advocacy director and chaos engineering lead at Gremlin)

  • Build DevSecOps balanced teams, with David Zendzian (VMware’s own Tanzu field CISO) 

  • Implement culture and sharing into sprint tickets, with Greg Greenlee (a senior DevOps engineer at Insight, passionate about DE&I)

  • Shift left in a better way, with Hannah Foxwell (platform services director at VMware Tanzu Labs) and Andy Burgin (lead platform engineer at Sky Betting and Gaming)

  • Navigate post-pandemic burnout, with Ashley Willis (developer advocate at Microsoft)  

Keep your seatbelt fastened throughout the day. Things are going to move fast. Be sure to take your bathroom, food, and beverage breaks strategically so that you don’t miss a thing. 

DevOps Loop principle #3: Engage with the community

One thing I’ve learned from working in the DevOps space for a little over six years is that it’s a great community of humans helping each other to be better. DevOps Loop is just the latest opportunity to engage with community members and learn from the best. Others include the DevOpsDays conferences, which are held every month around the world and are a great way to  connect with your local community.

At DevOps Loop, we want you to have an excellent virtual community event experience. To that end, we’ve asked Matt Stratton to emcee our day. He’s a developer advocate, DevOpsDays global chair, “Arrested DevOps” podcast co-host, and DevOps game-maker (which I’ll come back to shortly). He will keep the event moving forward with alacrity and fun!

The end of the day will flow into five simultaneous panel discussions, with many of our presenters on hand to answer your questions. You’ll be able to move between panels to engage in all the topics that interest you.  

The panel session line-up is as follows:

  • Putting Dev Back into DevOps. The roles and responsibilities of developers and operators continue to shift. This panel will talk about what developers need to focus on now. Do you have a point of view on that?

  • Making CD Work in the Real World. Is it time to rethink how we deliver apps, and what does that really mean? Many of the sessions devoted to continuous delivery will provide great fodder for this panel. 

  • It’s DevOps (The Sec Is Silent). Security is showing up in new ways as part of modern application delivery. What does a good practice for shifting left look like? What’s not working today?

  • Kubernetes: Whose Idea Was This? Let’s face it, Kubernetes is great, but it comes with some complexity. This panel will discuss the benefits of Kubernetes for DevOps and ways to leverage this powerful platform. 

  • Obligatory Culture Discussion. As you might have noticed, a lot of the conference topics focus on the people side of DevOps, a topic that will continue to evolve along with this space. What’s on your mind about culture?

There will be lots of learning taking place during the day, which is exciting. But I am personally most thrilled by the special DevOps Party Games that will wrap up DevOps Loop! The games will be hosted by Matt Stratton, and the players will be the DevOps Loop speakers below. The rest of us will be able to vote on our favorite answers and have fun in the chat. It will be the ultimate way to get to know this great community.

DevOps Loop will be online and free to attend Oct. 4. Register now so you don’t miss the live fun. And please check out the code of conduct before you join.

I can’t wait to hear all the perspectives from the speakers that will challenge the status quo and propel us to iterate the way we work in the context of new technologies, new teams, and new practices. Get looped in now! 

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