Is DevOps just a fad? I don’t think so. I’ve seen many technology fads come and go, and DevOps doesn’t look like one to me. Yes, the term ‘DevOps’ is a bit gimmicky and may not survive but its methods and processes will. In fact, not only will they survive, they will become the new best practice. DevOps will be how IT is done in the future. It will be to IT what agile is to software development.
All companies will eventually adopt it; large and medium companies via their internal IT staff, and small companies via their outsourced support. DevOps will actually benefit smaller companies because it will provide them a higher level of IT quality for the same cost. Everyone will be able to do more with less.
Before this happens IT managers need to be convinced that DevOps is worth adopting. They are naturally conservative because they are responsible for the reliability of their systems. They won’t adopt anything that is unproven. This means that the best way to introduce DevOps is gradually, one small change at a time. As it proves itself, it will slowly become part of the change management process. Eventually, after a direct manual change crashes your email servers, it will reach a tipping point and become the only way allowed to make a change.
Those who want to introduce it should be prepared for significant change resistance. Most support technicians have spent their careers doing things manually or mastering the arcane Windows Server GUIs. They will see DevOps as a threat. They will have to learn new skills to keep up. The biggest one is that they will all have to become programmers. This isn’t like learning a new DNS application or a new version of Exchange. This is a fundamental shift, close to being a new career.
Managers will be convinced by results. They are the easiest group to convince. IT staff will be the hardest. 10 years from now they will all be Ruby or Python (or Node.js?) programmers. In the mean time, DevOps advocates will have to persuade these recalcitrants. Give them a stake in its success, get them training, help them see their long term best interest in this new way. The good ones will make the change.