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OpenStack Journal: Article

My Journey to #DevOps Enlightenment

Making DevOps Summit a premier event that connects a wide range of stakeholders to provide a valuable & educational experience

I am honored that the Cloud Expo conference organizers have asked me to be the Tech Chair for DevOps Summit 2014. The positive response from so many people I respect has been wonderful. Thank you to all who sent good wishes - it means a lot to me to have your support.

Part of what makes this an exciting opportunity for me is that I expect my past experience and attitude will reflect the experience and attitudes of many DevOps Summit 2014 attendees.

For example, I was once a DevOps 'noob' (newb? n00b?) and expect many attendees will be similarly naïve. In the four years since my first skeptical DevOps post (when I was still an independent analyst, and DevOps didn't even have a Wikipedia entry), reactions from 'the movement' have ranged from petty insults to good-humored ribbing and frequently educational commentary. However, as I said in the press release, "I have seen both firsthand and in independent research the fantastic results DevOps delivers." At DevOps Summit 2014, I hope to share with other DevOps noobs and skeptics some of the insights that turned me into a fan.

Along the way, as with many attendees, I have learned about and from DevOps experts including :

  • Thought leaders and practitioners like Gene Kim, Kevin Behr, Patrick Debois, Damon Edwards, Joshua Timberman, Colin McNamara, Adrian Cockcroft, and Jeff Sussna
  • Researchers and analysts like Cameron Haight, Donnie Berkholz, James Governor, Michael Coté, Julie Craig, Kurt Bittner, Lori Macvittie, and Theresa Lanowitz
  • Colleagues like John Michelsen, Ruston Vickers, Jacob Lamm, Brian Johnson, and Shridhar Mittal; as well as various competitors and other vendors - who shall remain nameless ;)
  • Thousands of customers and contributors to conferences, blogs, tweetstreams, videos, forums, and more - including (for better or worse) even DevOps Borat!

So while I may not be the "World's Top Expert" in DevOps (a claim I should have seen and edited out of the press release), I have invited many of these legitimate experts to present at DevOps Summit 2014, so others can learn as I have. I am excited that many have already accepted, and the "rock star faculty" is fast becoming reality.

Like most conferences, some presenters will have a 'day job' working as a vendor or consultant selling DevOps-related products or services. However, informed by my experience working with 'a DevOps vendor', I know that many vendor reps have great expertise gained from working with customers, analysts, partners, and consultants. Also as a vendor, I know a brazen sales pitch when I see it, so I will do my best to make sure all presentations are educational not promotional, with relevant products only mentioned in passing, if at all.

For others following my journey to DevOps enlightenment, this diverse mix of views from thought leaders and practitioners, researchers and analysts, vendors and customers, will make an excellent DevOps conference. To borrow from Geoffrey Moore, DevOps is 'crossing the chasm', from early adopters and web-scale businesses to mainstream enterprises with distributed teams and 'big DevOps' requirements. As the grassroots movement evolves, this diverse faculty will help foster new discussions not just within the movement, but also beyond it.

For example, based on my experience I believe it is especially important to engage not just existing DevOps pros, but also managers and executives like CIOs and CISOs, Dev and Ops managers, business leaders and architects. Much of the DevOps conversation to date has been amongst practitioners, but as DevOps luminary Damon Edwards recently tweeted, "Management decisions support/prevent any real DevOps improvement!" While DevOps Summit 2014 should provide value for DevOps practitioners, it is also critical to engage strategic leaders.

Ultimately, I see DevOps Summit 2014, as I said in the press release, as an opportunity to "tell the world how they can leverage this emerging disruptive trend." With something for everyone - skeptics and believers, practitioners and executives, small organizations and large enterprises - I would love nothing better than a DevOps Summit 2014 that expands the community, shares knowledge, educates stakeholders, and builds support for DevOps - top-down and bottom-up.

Therefore, despite the great roster so far, I am still looking for more great presenters to assist in this mission. If you have experience, ideas, or expertise in DevOps; if you have a process, a story, or a theory to share; or if you just think Devops Summit would be a better conference if you were presenting; then please submit your speaking proposal to the Call For Papers submission.

Whether you present, attend in person, or view the fantastic content online, my hope is that together we can make DevOps Summit 2014 a premier conference that connects a wide range of stakeholders to provide a valuable and educational experience for all. Whether you are an expert or skeptic, a practitioner or a manager, a vendor or an end-user, I hope to see you there.

More Stories By Andi Mann

Andi Mann is vice president of Strategic Solutions at CA Technologies. With more than 20 years’ experience across four continents, he has deep expertise of enterprise software on cloud, mainframe, midrange, server and desktop systems. He has worked within IT departments for governments and corporations, from small businesses to global multi-nationals; with several large enterprise software vendors; and as a leading industry analyst advising enterprises, governments, and IT vendors – from startups to the worlds’ largest companies. Andi is a co-author of the popular handbook, ‘Visible Ops – Private Cloud’; he blogs at ‘Andi Mann – Übergeek’ (http://pleasediscuss.com/andimann), and tweets as @AndiMann.

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