CAMS at DevOpsDays Austin

I gave a talk recently at DevOpsDays Austin where New Relic had a sponsor booth in a strategic location—near the BBQ and ice cream :icecream:. It was my first DevOpsDays, so I wanted to take a moment to share some of what I learned about the craft of DevOps.

Most of what I learned aligns with a handy acronym first coined in 2010 that described the 4 values of DevOps, CAMS:

  • Culture
  • Automation
  • Measurement
  • Sharing

Many of the conversations and talks at the conference fit in one of these categories, especially culture.

Culture of DevOpsDays

DevOpsDays Austin is one of the older and larger events in the DevOpsDays ecosystem. For many of the speakers and attendees, it was their 4th or 5th event in Austin. The keynotes were given by household names in DevOps: Kelsey Hightower, Patrick Debois, Adrian Cockcroft, and others.

Many of the talks focused on culture, which seemed to resonate very well with the audience. Many people described themselves in a role where they have a technical focus (internal tools and build and release engineering were common) but also are internal evangelists and promoters of the DevOps to other groups.

This echoes an earlier observation from a colleague at Enterprise DevOps Summit last November—that one component of that DevOps conference is people wanting to talk with others about the challenges they’re facing as “the DevOps person” in companies that haven’t fully bought-in.

DevOps without Measurement?

Measurement was universally acknowledged as important. Despite the acknowledged importance of measurement, there seems to still be confusion on what’s actually important to measure or how to do it. My observation was that measurement (i.e. collecting data from monitoring tools or elsewhere) is often done after massive investments in automation—if at all.

Sharing at DevOpsDays

One important insight came out of a monitoring panel at the end of the day—the culture around sharing data, despite not really being there, has still improved enormously in the past 10 years and that actually understanding how your systems work “fundamentally changes your business.”

The business-angle came up again when one speaker said that, for someone on the business side, monitoring should answer the question and encourage self-reflection on this point: “Is your business operating the way you think it should?”

In the same panel, half the room raised their hands when asked, “How many of your are using more than 5 monitoring tools?” Does this feel familiar?

Where are You?

Does your team subscribe to the CAMS model? Are there places where the model really works? Really doesn’t?