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DevOps is Bullshit – Massdriver Weblog

DevOps is Bullshit – Massdriver Weblog

2023-06-16 05:00:42

DevOps is Bullshit

DevOps began as a well-intentioned set of practices and tradition.

Through the years, it has devolved into an unholy beast of division and tunnel imaginative and prescient. Why did we cease dreaming greater? What occurred to ripping down silos, rising engineering velocity, and including worth? Keep in mind? The issues DevOps was purported to do?

However the actuality is, exterior of FAANG and essentially the most well-funded firms, your staff might be doing one of many following:

1. You’ve received a DevOps staff.

Congrats, that’s not DevOps. I’d wager most of what they’re doing is utilizing Terraform and YAML to do menial duties for the engineering staff.

Want a database? File a ticket with DevOps.

Want an IAM position? File a ticket with DevOps.

Earlier than lengthy, your large staff of engineers has absolutely saturated your understaffed “DevOps” staff’s backlog.

This strategy doesn’t scale.

2. You’re doing DevOps, nevertheless it appears like shit.

DevOps, the free-for-all the place every engineer does the required ops to do their job.

Greatest practices? We’ll invent them alongside the way in which!

Safe? I’m too busy rising conversion charges!

Naming conventions? Nah. NAH. nah-prod. PROD-NAH. PRODUCTION-NAH

Value administration? Deleting unused cloud assets? Nope, we’ve received AWS credit to burn! ????

The issue is most engineers don’t need to do operations work.

They need to construct the product. They need to add tangible worth. However organizations will drive this upon them, and engineers will both work with what they’ve already received, guess their method by some new cloud service, or the DevOps duties will slowly change into the accountability of some people that change into the “DevOps” staff.

The worst a part of this state of affairs is that deadlines rule, and product stakeholders don’t see ops.

When was the final time you noticed a product supervisor high-five the ops particular person and say, ‘quick fucking autoscaler!’?

Slowly your staff feels the malleable nature of DevOps stagnate into inflexible infrastructure as groups cease making the laborious operations choices and simply bend their software program round what they’ve.

In the long run, all infrastructure ultimately turns into a platform – how simple is yours to alter?

Operations is a Commodity; Let’s Act Like It

I’ve been on the operations facet of engineering for a very long time. I’ve been growing in Ruby since Rails 1.0. Earlier than that, I wrote among the trashiest PHP the world has seen. I had the chance emigrate from an information heart to AWS EC2 when it was launched in 2006. As I’ve change into extra skilled in operations, I used to be “pigeonholed” into the “DevOps” position.

So far, I’ve deployed over 200 production-grade Kubernetes clusters throughout a handful of firms.

Need to know a secret?

I’ve copied and pasted the identical rattling Terraform modules for each single one. My job felt like a rip-off, however firms pay me for my experience in Kubernetes, not for writing Terraform. I had constructed a copy-paste-driven, single-user platform-as-a-service and nobody cared as long as nothing was damaged.

You’ve made it this far, so I’m simply going to say it:

The businesses constructing “DevOps” groups are moving into the proper route, however they have to be shifting away from infrastructure configuration administration and in the direction of platform engineering and enabling developer self-service.

The information silos are good. The silos are a characteristic, not a bug.

Experience is a good factor.

DevOps is bullshit.

How “Ops” Breaks the Loop

Steady development by teamwork, effectivity in communication, elevated morale, leaving the door open to ideas for betterment… signal me up, proper?

DevOps loop, obviously bullshit

This mannequin labored when the cloud was easy. It made sense, even. Again once we had a number of digital machines, possibly an S3 bucket and a few queues, this loop was achievable. What threw a wrench in all the pieces was the rising complexity of our methods, the operational burden of these methods, and compliance. For a lot of organizations, operations groups inevitably change into DevOps gatekeepers at each section of the loop.


Planning as we speak requires information and trade-offs of cloud providers. Because the cloud has gotten extra advanced, groups are left with a number of choices: work with what they’ve received or sync with ops to see what their backlog appears to be like like.

Organizations which have invested in platform engineering have both a golden path already recognized or allow groups to analysis and develop new golden paths quickly. This flexibility is vital to an amazing platform. We aren’t constructing “golden roads”, they’re paths. Golden paths ought to present route and guardrails however be adaptable when the enterprise wants change.


Coding is changing into increasingly of a hodge-podge of cloud APIs. It is a good factor! We must always need to write and run much less code.

Are you aware what’s worse than ready by an ops backlog in the course of the planning section? Lacking your deadline and dealing late since you’re ready for somebody on the ops staff to replace IAM insurance policies and create KMS keys since you didn’t understand the SNS Matters have been in a unique area than your SQS Queues.

An important inner developer platform has conventions in place to deal with the small tedious bits of the cloud, like IAM and KMS, that take essentially the most period of time to deal with. They deal with an engineer’s intentions, not making engineers fear over implementation particulars.

Construct, take a look at, launch, and deploy

Ah sure, CI/CD. The fuzzy boundary between improvement and manufacturing. These phases are so fraught with bullshit that they’ve change into meme-worthy:

Worked fine in Dev, Ops Problem Now

But it surely’s not an “ops downside”, it’s a complete group downside. I’m satisfied that the CI/CD section is the basis of the place frustration and division develop between operations and engineering groups.

Take this pretty frequent instance:

In manufacturing, we’re working in containers, however growing within the container is simply too gradual, so the staff leans in the direction of asdf and a README stuffed with stuff to repeat, paste, and pray. Throughout a dash, an engineer provides convert (ImageMagick) to the combination to assist manipulating pictures and forgets to replace the Dockerfile, after which manufacturing goes down.

That is the place belief between builders and operations begins to erode.

Inside developer platforms ought to permit an engineer to run their software the place they need, how they need. Lambda and Docker, certain. K8s + Buildpacks, certain. VMs and a tarball, certain.

Sadly, most of the platforms as we speak drive builders to run on Kubernetes. An important developer platform meets engineers the place they’re. It needs to be versatile in structure however opinionated in self-service.

Function and Monitor

The ultimate phases of this “good” loop mannequin are arguably the place Ops needs to be. That’d be nice, besides now we’ve received SREs to cowl that. Huh.

If the “DevOps” staff ships a Postgres RDS occasion it’ll run high quality without end, that’s till an software begins utilizing it. Rapidly a cascade of N+1s hit, the CPU spikes, and queries grind to a halt. Who’s woken up? And why does this all the time occur at 2 AM? On this state of affairs, there’s nothing for operations personnel to do, but right here they’re.

Do you continue to suppose DevOps is doing what it’s purported to do?

The experience that operations and SRE groups have is vital to growing safe, scalable methods, however the previous thought of “DevOps” and the hurdles our {industry} has turned it into is holding us again.

It’s Time to Bury DevOps

I’ve spent portion of the final two years speaking to groups about their cloud infrastructure and DevOps processes/tradition. I’ve heard the above rant in some type from staff after staff. What’s extra regarding concerning the state of DevOps as we speak are among the different issues I’ve heard…

Present of fingers—how many individuals in your group suppose CI/CD is DevOps?

Present of fingers—how many individuals in your group suppose they don’t want DevOps as a result of they run serverless?

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Present of fingers—what number of of you suppose the above two interpretations are an issue?

To most, the time period “DevOps” has fully misplaced its which means.

If you happen to’re actually actually doing DevOps, do you suppose reinventing all of that commodity is de facto price your engineering staff’s time? Is {that a} good funding for the enterprise?

“You construct it, you run it.” Pffffft. Extra like: You construct it, nevertheless it takes longer than your dash estimate, and you narrow corners on the ops bit that doesn’t suit your “definition of achieved.”

Information silos and experience are two sides of the identical coin. From full stack engineering to DevOps practitioner, our {industry} likes to fake everybody can do all the pieces. We’re an {industry} of hobbyists. We like to tinker. I don’t know if we’re fooling ourselves or if the {industry} has been exploiting our hobby-driven nature, nevertheless it’s time for DevOps to get thrown out of an airlock.

The rising zeitgeist is that “platform engineering is the longer term.” And provided that I co-founded a product within the area, I certain hope so! Sadly, organizations can’t get there by anticipating the “DevOps” staff to do it. I’m sorry, however copy/pasting some Terraform modules between your git repos is a horrible “platform.” Your engineers don’t need to take care of it, and inevitably your ops staff can be on the hook for supporting it. Hell, even HashiCorp is leaping on the
“no code” provisioning train for his or her “please contact gross sales” plan. Huh, looks like all these firms with enterprise bucks are struggling too.

So how does the common group get to the promised land of Platform Engineering?

Easy, simply rent some extra frontend and backend engineers to develop an amazing inner PaaS with all of the golden paths your operations staff is architecting while you’re making an attempt to construct your precise product that runs on high of it.

Clearly simpler stated than achieved.

To get there, many organizations will want a actuality verify.

For each operations particular person with out software program improvement abilities, there are FORTY engineers with out cloud operations abilities. If you’re going to construct an inner platform, you’ll want consultants with overlapping expertise in each fields working collectively.

You might be additionally going to want a shitload of time and finances. This isn’t a hackathon mission. It isn’t the pet mission of the brand new CTO with a wild hair up their ass to plant their flag on the enterprise. You can provide it a cute “skunkworks” identify to point out everybody you have got entry to Wikipedia too, however constructing an inner platform is a startup inside your major enterprise. Constructing an inner improvement platform is like altering the tires and engine of a automobile whereas it’s hurtling towards a cliff.

Keep agile.

Migrate an auxiliary service to it shortly.

Get suggestions out of your engineering prospects.

Yeah. ENGINEERING CUSTOMERS. They aren’t your staff anymore. They’re your online business’s second set of shoppers, but when these prospects aren’t shopping for it, you find yourself with morale issues, engineers pining for “the previous method,” a boatload of debt, and a bunch of wasted effort and time.

Chin up! You or the brand new CTO’s subsequent staff can get it achieved.

What’s in a Nice Inside Developer Platform?

In case you are planning to construct a platform, there are
five core components which are required, however in our expertise, there are a number of extra attributes that make for an amazing platform.

Extendable with open-source tooling. Groups and workloads are totally different and can have totally different golden paths. If an IDP has one opinionated strategy to run your workload, it’s no higher than a PaaS. An abstraction over Kubernetes is just not sufficient. IDPs should work for all workload sorts, whether or not containerized, serverless, or virtualized.

Anti-Lock-In, it’s best to be capable to stroll away from a foul build-or-buy choice with out risking manufacturing or having an arduous migration course of.

Safety, compliance, and guardrails have to be inbuilt. With out them, you aren’t enabling self-service, you might be enabling disservice. The quickest strategy to derail self-service is a CISO worrying a few breach. A easy internet type or YAML abstraction over an AWS or GCP API is just not sufficient. Experience in practices and safety have to be included.

Highly effective constructing blocks to extend engineering velocity. We have now an industry-wide scarcity of experience within the cloud area, an amazing IDP ought to have secure, reliable constructing blocks for designing cloud providers shortly.

Allow experimentation by flexibility and extensibility. If it’s important to attain for one more device or platform to see how your app would work in a serverless container or with a unique Pub/Sub system, you’re going to obtain pushback out of your stakeholders in your IDP. IDPs should allow experimentation so the proper choices could be made for our purposes.

Ephemeral environments for purposes and infrastructure have to be supported. Our purposes have gotten so closely depending on cloud providers. If you happen to can’t provision dependencies like buckets, queues, or databases, once you open a pull request, then are you actually getting a detailed approximation to manufacturing?

Configurable alerting and monitoring for provisioned infrastructure and purposes with good defaults. If engineers can deploy their very own assets, they have to be monitored with out requiring an additional device to configure. In any other case, the chance that these assets have alerts configured will lower considerably.

Platform engineering is feasible, and it’s the future. Our methods are getting extra sophisticated and better scale earlier as increasingly elements of the world get on-line. We’re creating nice new engineers every day out of boot camps, however we aren’t excelling in operational maturity as an {industry}. We have now loads of information to guard. We’re stewards of private data. Clients assume we’ve got a fiduciary accountability, however we principally act like hobbyists. We want to ensure “platform engineering” is the subsequent bullshit buzzword.

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