Only 6 months has passed since our inaugural DevOps Girls bootcamp and on Saturday 12th of August 2017 we had the pleasure of running the second edition. For those new to the bootcamp: it is a free event for women interested in learning more about devops, run by a community of passionate volunteers.
The idea started with a realisation that unless we are proactive about diversity in tech and we make meaningful contributions, it’s going to be hard to move the needle on this. The aim of the event is not only to train women but also to create a community of like-minded people who can provide support to each other.
Our first bootcamp went extremely well. From the moment it finished all the organisers and collaborators, apart from being exhausted, were already thinking: when are we doing this again? And of course, we did. We decided to run another introduction to AWS, iterating on the lessons that we learned in the first edition. Continue reading →
A few months ago we were catching up with the guys from Puppet Labs here in the REA offices in Melbourne and they asked us this question:
PL: ” Configuration management, what are you doing about it? ”
J: ” Well, that’s a long story…”
We spent the rest of the morning sketching on the whiteboard the evolution of configuration management in REA, and the different stages we went through. A couple of weeks later my colleague David Lutz asked me if I wanted to present at the Melbourne Infrastructure Coders meetup that he co-hosts, and I thought that I could share the story with the wider audience. After receving some positive feedback about the presentation I sent a proposal to linux.conf.au to repeat the talk there at the Sysadmin miniconf. A couple of weeks ago I presented it in Auckland.
If you want to review the journey we’ve been through regarding configuration management at REA, and get a good peak into our Devops culture, check out the attached video:
Also if you are interested in the slides you can find them in Slideshare.
No doubt that the term Devops is probably one of the most worn-out concepts in IT these days, maybe only slightly overtaken by the emerging buzzword of the moment: docker, docker, docker. But from the vast area and topics that Devops can cover, the one that attracts me more lately is how to build the Operations culture in an organization: bringing down the walls, sense of ownership, capability to operate a service/system, etc.
In REA we are quite proud of the Devops culture in the organization and we work really hard towards creating highly autonomous cross-functional teams that can operate efficiently end to end. This includes the ownership and operation of the services and products the team builds and maintains. This vision of Operations as a capability/responsibility in a team, rather than a separate team or static role of the engineers, has been providing really good results since we started championing it a few years ago, therefore the willingness to commit to it. There is probably not a single way to boost this capability. Sometimes we achieve it by embedding an Ops specialist in the team, whose mission and passion is to enable and train the rest of the team, but which in general means that we are committed to invest in raising the technical capability and awareness of all our engineers and providing them with the level of access to our systems/data/services to do their job in an efficient manner.
In this post I am going to focus in one of the ways that we are trying to build/improve that Operations capability across the company based on running a set of community driven activities that we have called the Ops Dojo. The idea behind the concept is not new for REA, we already had several ad-hoc training sessions, plenty of brownbags and a strong culture of sharing what we learn across the organization. The Ops Dojo is just an initiative to have even more of that and to build a community that follows it up and makes it happen regularly. The Ops Dojo is just one form of the guild initiatives which are on the rise at REA as a mechanism to share knowledge and passion and today covers such diverse topics as Security, Public speaking, Delivery Engineering, Agile, Happiness, etc… Continue reading →