On stage at OpenStack Days Silicon Valley, Puppet CEO Luke Kanies talks myths and realities surrounding DevOps.


All companies are software companies, says Luke Kanies, founder and CEO of Puppet, an open-source configuration management company.  As such, they have to optimize their practices to deliver high quality software to their end users quickly and reliably.

According to five years of survey data conducted by Puppet, the set of tools and practices known as DevOps has been shown to improve the frequency of software deployment by a factor of 200, resulting in 2,500 times shorter lead times between the time of idea and production, or problem discovery and customer benefit from fixing that problem.

Many companies, however, believe that the costs of changing their current technology infrastructures to one that uses DevOps too high. As a result, many of these companies will fail to become great software companies.

On stage recently at an OpenStack Days: Silicon Valley, Kanies explained to attendees why adopting DevOps tools and practices within their organizations was paramount to their current and future success.

“If you’re able to move past the barriers that exist in most organizations today, you’ll be able to keep the great people on your team happy, spend more time creating value instead of responding to outages and problems, and deliver better software faster,” says Kanies.

There are six big myths about using DevOps that Kanies wants to dispel.

MYTH: There’s no direct customer or business value for adopting DevOps practices.

Reality: The problem is that more that companies don’t know how to really understand their customers and then create software that actually connects to those issues. DevOps, says Kanies, delivers reliable products, delivers software faster, seeks to optimize processes, and introduces real measurability.

MYTH: There’s no significant return on investment in applying DevOps principles to legacy applications.

Reality: The reality is, says Kanies, that 98 percent of the world runs in legacy environments. Using DevOps is not an all or nothing proposition and is often simpler than it appears. The largest returns often come from unexpected areas when teams start utilizing DevOps practices in legacy environments, while ignoring these older systems may undermine other efforts within the company.

Teams need to start to work with DevOps across the entire infrastructure, but it doesn’t need to be all at once.

“There’s a ton of value in using DevOps across your entire organization, syas Kanies, “even if you’re not going to go rebuild and completely automate your entire setup.”

MYTH: DevOps only works with ‘unicorn’ companies and not traditional enterprise businesses.

Reality: DevOps is the new normal, says Kanies, and it benefits with reduced time to market, lower mean time to recovery (MTTR), and high levels of employee engagement. It works as well for traditional, mature organizations as it does for newer startups.

MYTH: Improvement via DevOps principles requires spare time and people that we simply don’t have

Reality: Many companies waste time doing things manually that software can do more reliably and faster. DevOps, says Kanies, is more often about reclaiming the time focused on current inefficiencies and using it for more sustained, long-term efficiency strategies.

This leaves more time  for value-adding activities and can actually free up capacity within organizations.

MYTH: Regulatory and compliance requirements that preclude the adoption of DevOps principles.

Reality: It’s not against the rules to automate compliance and regulatory activities, says Kanies. In fact, adding in audit and compliance systems to DevOps practices makes the processes easier to audit, easier to understand, and easier to secure.

“If you have an automation platform that doesn’t do all these at once,” says Kanies, “you’re most likely going to fail in some relevant and miserable way.”

MYTH: We don’t have any problems that adopting DevOps principles and practices would fix.

Reality: In fact, DevOps principles and practices allow teams to improve their efforts, move faster, and eliminate the most frustrating parts of work. This allows organizations to consistently deliveri a better software experience, and hence a better product, to its customers.

“You and your teams and all the companies around us have a choice: whether you want to aggressively move into this world,” says Kanies, “or let your competitors do it first.”

The data makes clear the benefits of adopting DevOps. The survey says that companies that adopt DevOps are pulling away faster than ever.

You can download the DevOps report here or  catch his 20-minute talk here:

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