Thoughts on DevOps

I’ve been reading a little about DevOps. I’ve come across it before but never really tried to explore it in detail. Until now. Why? Well it is increasingly clear that it will be helpful to our team and in part is something that I’ve moved towards in my last couple of jobs.

At the previous job, I started as a pure PHP developer. Bog standard junior stuff really with MySQL and I enjoyed it in part. I got involved with the Operations team (and I cannot remember why) and started moving towards a more cross domain role. Completely without meaning to really.

In my current role, I need to move into a cross domain world and into DevOps properly. On Twitter, @alpower shared a cool links on the Paperplanes blog which talked about the subject and I’ve just spent¬† a couple of hours surfing the net, reading the recommended blogs and putting them into Google Reader.

One of the links, James Turnbull’s What DevOps Means to Me, pointed me to James White’s Rules for Infrastructure. I’ve been wrestling with the final point in the last couple of weeks about manual data and have been working on a system to reduce some of this. I’ve also been looking at the messaging layers and trying to reduce the complexity and number of MQ servers running. Partially through inexperience but I’m learning here. Right.

Having had an interesting week with servers, I’ve been looking at system administration books (mainly in Python) to get.¬† I’ve been looking at some of the command line tools such as siege, netstat and ngrep to explore what is connected, running and how it runs. Admittedly this has been a more crash course than one would have wished but I’ve learned a few tricks to explore what is happening on running servers to get into its operations.

I guess to become a more effective developer, I need to understand this at more than just a superficial level but as somebody who can fix operational issues before having to consult one of the administrators. It is stage one, there are more but if I start small I can develop and grow skills rather than thinking that I ought to be doing something.

On another side, I’ve already taken some of this to heart to try and fix the issues that I’m seeing.