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DevOpsDays and the History of DevOps

DevOpsDays is a worldwide series of technical conferences covering topics of software development, IT infrastructure operations, and the intersection between them. Each event is run by volunteers from the local area.

Most DevOpsDays events feature a combination of curated talks and self organised open space content. Topics often include automation, testing, security, and organizational culture.

History

The idea began in 2008 with a discussion between Patrick Debois and Andrew Clay Shafer concerning the concept of agile infrastructure. However, the idea only started to spread in 2009 with the advent of the first DevOpsDays event held in Belgium.

Want to know more? Watch the video below to know more on the History of DevOps and also DevOpsDays!

The Timeline

2007-2008: A Frustrated Belgian

Belgian consultant, project manager and agile practitioner Patrick Debois took on an assignment with a Belgian government ministry to help with data center migrations. In particular, his role was in certification/readiness testing. His duties required him to straddle activities and relationships between the application development teams and the operations teams (server, database network). His experiences—and frustrations over the walls of separation and lack of cohesion between application methods and infrastructure methods—planted seeds of discontent for Debois. His desire for a better way would soon lead him to action.

In 2008, at the Agile Conference in Toronto, Andrew Schafer posted an offer to moderate an ad hoc “Birds of a Feather” meeting to discuss the topic of “Agile Infrastructure.” Only one person showed up to discuss the topic: Patrick Debois. Their discussions and sharing of ideas with others advanced the concept of “agile systems administration.” In that same year, Debois and Shafer formed an Agile Systems Administrator group on Google, with limited success.

2009: The Case for Dev and Ops Cooperation

At the O’Reilly Velocity Conference, two Flickr employees—John Allspaw, senior vice president of technical operations, and Paul Hammond, director of engineering—gave a now-famous presentation titled, “10+ Deploys per Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation at Flickr.” The presentation had a dramatic flair to it, as Allspaw and Hammond would role-play the contentious interplay between representatives of  Development and Operations during a typical software deployment, along with all the finger-pointing/blame that goes on, such as, “It’s not my code, it’s your machines!” Their presentation made the case that the only rational way forward is for application development and operations activities to be seamless, transparent and fully integrated. Over time, this presentation has reached legendary status, and is historically viewed as the seminal moment in time for that called out to the IT industry for methods that we now know as DevOps.

Unable to attend in person, Debois watched the Allspaw/Hammond presentation by video stream. He was inspired, and—at the prompting of others through social media—formed his own conference called Devopsdays in Ghent, Belgium. By this point in time, the term “DevOps” had officially landed in the history books.

2010: DevOps in the United States

With a growing constituency, a Devopsdays conference is held for the first time in the United States in Mountain View, California, on the heels of the Velocity annual conference. Fast forward to 2018: There are more than 30 Devopsdays conferences already scheduled for 2018, including dozens across the United States.

2013: ‘The Phoenix Project’

For many of us, another noteworthy moment in the history of DevOps was the publishing of the book, “The Phoenix Project,” written by Gene Kim, Kevin Behr and George Spafford. This fictional novel tells the story of an IT manager thrust into a seemingly hopeless situation, as he’s charged with salvaging a mission-critical ecommerce development project that’s gone off the rails. His mysterious mentor, a board member steeped in the disciplines of lean manufacturing, guides the main character into new ways of thinking about IT and application development, introducing the concept of DevOps along the way.