(This is the German version of my Dear Clara (*), …-article I posted some minutes ago)
Ich bin nicht der Techniker-zu-Deiner-Verfügung
…ich bin nicht der Techniker-zu-Deiner-Verfügung, als den Du mich eventuell ansiehst, weil ich unter Umständen einige Informationen teile, vielleicht Dinge weiß, die Dich interessieren oder wir uns gegebenenfalls mal in der Vergangenheit getroffen haben, ein paar Worte miteinander wechselten oder uns gar beim Turniertanzen gemessen haben.
Wenn Du mich also im sozialen Netzwerk Deiner Wahl etwas fragst, dann gibt es kein Universum, in dem Du von mir erwarten kannst, dass ich Dir innerhalb von Minuten, Stunden oder sogar Tagen antworte. Du wirst Deine Antwort bekommen, jedoch nur zu einem Zeitpunkt, an dem es mir auch passt.
Deshalb tue mir bitte einen Gefallen: Erspare mir, von Dir im sozialen Netzwerk Deiner Wahl gestresst zu werden, und das noch nicht mal 48 Stunden nach Deiner Anfrage. Es wird nicht dazu führen, dass ich schneller oder qualitativ hochwertiger antworte, aber es wird definitiv dazu führen, dass Du dir von mir eine Breitseite und eine geharnischter Antwort einfängst. Und wenn Du Pech hast, dann blogge ich sogar darüber und wenn Du ganz viel Pech hast, rutscht mir sogar Dein echter Name raus, Clara. Deshalb: Frage und frage auch nach – Du sollst Deine Antwort auch haben. Erwarte sie aber nicht in Echtzeit oder zeitnah, deshalb frage lieber zeitiger. Erspare mir Deinen Frust und Deinen Stress, sonst bekommst Du das genau so zurück.
…I am not a Technician-at-your-Disposal, even though I am perhaps sharing quite a lot of information, perhaps may have quite a lot of knowledge in regards to things you are interested in and we perhaps met at some time in the past, had a conversation or two or even battled with each other in a ballroom competition.
So, whenever you ask me something in some social network, there is no world in which you would have the right to expect an answer from me within minutes or even days. I WILL answer your question, but at a point of time, when it fits into my life as well.
Additionally, although it might look differently, I am not following social networks very closely. I am looking into them not more often than every second day, I have no FB-messenger or similar software installed, I actually refuse to use the default applications for such networks and I have turned off any notifications from those networks (Twitter, Facebook, etc.).
Therefore, kindly hesitate to stress me in your social network of choice not even 48 hours after your inquiry. It won’t improve my reaction time, it won’t give you a better answer, but it will guarantee you my frustration and a harsh response. So, do me a favor, Clara: Ask me, but ask me in time. Expect an answer and perhaps remind me of that answer (you deserve it), but don’t bug me or lay your stress and frustration on me, since I will answer you in exactly the same way then.
It’s beginning of August – and today two new members of our Cloudibility Team start their journey with us. And, additionally, two others, who joined in July, need to be introduced as well.
Chris is a very skilled and talented Security Engineer, which is into DevOps approaches and -technologies, such as Ansible, ELK, Grafana, etc., as well. He will allow us to put even more focus on Cloud Security and Security processes. Welcome on board, Chris!
Sven is an experienced Project Manager, with a lot of knowledge around processes and ITIL. He will be working as DevOps Manager, utilizing his experiences in classical and traditional processes in order to learn from them when setting up agile DevOps processes. It will be a challenge for him, our customers and ourselves in each other projects, since he knows both worlds. We like that and are happy to have him with us!
Pratibha started working for us mid-July. She is DevOps engineer, has experiences around AWS and Azure, as well in automatizing processes and tools. She immediately impresses with her knowledge and open mind. We are glad to have her in our team!
Rahul is an experienced Java engineer, who joined us mid-July at the same time as Pratibha. He is currently working in our test department and does very important work for something yet to be announced. We love, how he takes responsibility and learns about new approaches and processes!
Is that all? No!
We will have another four people joining our company in August and beginning of September. We’re so proud of each of them, since they are hand-picked and bright minds, without any exception.
Yeah, we want to do DevOps. We understand this is a critical thing, it is important for succeeding in our Dev- and Ops-projects. We can’t do without.
…we need to get the whole picture first. We need to have a fully featured DevOps-concept. We need some infrastructure. We need top clarify with our Stakeholders.
You know what?
These are only excuses for not doing DevOps.
The best approach to DevOps is by simply starting it. Forget about that fully featured DevOps-concept to be discussed throughout all hierarchy levels of your organization. Forget about providing the perfect infrastructure. Forget about everything – just start it!
DevOps is a process and a mindset. It is an approach to collaboration, to transparency and to knowledge sharing. Yes, it always can be done better, more aligned, deeper integrated, etc.
But nonetheless: The best way to start doing DevOps is to simply start doing it.
I will never ever set up and maintain my environment by hand again!
I will never ever set up and maintain my environment by hand again!
I will never ever set up and maintain my environment by hand again!
If you ignore this advice, you might be ending like a lot of projects I’ve seen in the last years: Unmanageable, unstable, unpredictable and basically unreliable.
Use a tool
If you ever happen to set up a something in your environment, learn about tools like Ansible and perhaps Terraform first. Provision your machines and VMs with these tools, roll out your environment using these tools and version the scripts in a repository.
Do not, ever, later on, do changes or install updates on your environment by hand! Again, use Ansible or a similar tool, to roll out and install updates and components.
The key to automatization is using tools like GIT extensively. Every single configuration file, every single automatization script needs to be put under version control. Every iteration, every change, needs to be versioned as well. Get rid of your local script repositories, keep things in a central, safe place. Share the scripts and configurations, and don’t only document them in your ticketing tool!
Do not use SSH
Of course, SSH is used when working with Ansible or other automatization tools. But you, or any of your team members, should not use it. Using SSH to do tasks on a machine is by definition a manual process, something which has to be avoided! So, forget about SSH as a tool for manually managing infrastructures, configurations, and machines. Script your changes, test your changes, roll out your changes or roll them back – all using Ansible (or other similar tools) and version those scripts as well.
Automatization is key, the tool is not
Don’t feel comfortable with Ansible? Not an issue, use Chef or Puppet or any other automatization framework instead! Don’t want to learn about Terraform? Then go the native route using AWS-CLI or Azure-CLI instead. GIT sucks? Use SVN or CVS or Mercurial!
Regardless of the tool: You need to get the right mindset, and you need to get it, before starting any work! It never worked (and never will work) bringing in automatization and tools later on. You simply won’t be able to consolidate all different configurations without any bigger effort. It’s not gonna work!
Be a developer
Yeah, I know. You are not a developer. You are an administrator. You don’t program things. You don’t write nasty code. You are the specialist, the surgeon.
Well, no. You are a fool if you happen to think so.
You need to think like a developer thinks: Laziness over repetition, scripts over manual approaches, versioning over file-share-based storage. A developer – and believe me, I am one these guys – has a very simple approach: Every repetition of any kind of functionality to be implemented, is basically a wast of time.
A developer tries to write specific code only once, he organizes code in libraries for reusability. He refuses to do things a second time if he could reuse existing code or a library.
Adopt this kind of thinking! Express everything in scripts. Version these scripts. Create your own library of scripts and share it with your fellow colleagues!
Stay in control
I get often asked: What and when do I need to automatize? The answer is simple: Everything, anytime. The moment you SSH into a machine and do any kind of change there, you have lost control. Even if you are unsure about a configurational change being the proper solution to an issue, use a script.
Did I say „Even“? Especially then!
Using an automatization framework, you can roll back the change or set up an environment into a well-known state, allowing you to safely perform changes, test the outcomes and understand the consequences. Since you have versioned everything, you can always revert back to the last known version. Since you have everything in a shared, safe place, you can even lose your computer and your notes – and still remain operational.
And, in case it was not clear enough: This holds true for any kind of environment – Bare-Metal, virtualized, cloud, everything in between.
To stay in control, automatize and version. Everything!
I said this quite often during several projects over the last years – and often directed to persons being „difficult“ with regards to discussing hard, having different opinions, contradicting a Product Owner or an Architect with thoughtful arguments. This is something you will have to accept, even if it is hard to do so. And it is exhausting, it is stressful working with such people on a day-by-day basis.
But, I changed my mind.
Or, to put it differently, I am now in a position where I want to have such characters around me. Here at Cloudibility, we want persons having their own ideas and their own minds, we want them to contradict us and to proove us to be wrong.
We want to have such minds around us. Of course, they will have to stick to our rules of respect and culture, they will need to be compatible with customers and the team. But besides this: Have your own mind, contradict, improve, overtake us!
Cloudibility is a company focused around knowledge and heads. We are not limited to a specific location – our German employees are located in Berlin, Magdeburg, Brunswick, Frankfurt, Karlsruhe, etc.
Today, we expand that a little bit and welcome our first Indian team members. They are located in Faridabad, next to Delhi, in the offices of our long-lasting partner AppFlow Solutions Pvt.
Public Domain, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=23473510
Different to other approaches, we don’t treat them as a remote team working for us, but as our team-members working a little bit down the road. They will be participating in our processes, meetings, etc. and will be a core part of our team.
Our Indian team members are „hand-selected“ the very same way as our German stuff – they have to have the same culture, the same approach to cloud-native infrastructure and processes and the same greed for excellence.
Within the next four weeks, our Indian team will be extended to at least three employees, but we are actively looking for even more of them.
So, if you want to be a part of our journey, contact me or Pradeep, the head of our Indian partner!
I do often get this question when providing our specialist’s profiles to possible customers.
Well. No. We can’t. And we won’t.
Let me explain that bold statement a little bit. There are plenty of reasons for saying so. The most important one: We have some of the best specialists here at Cloudibility.
We love our experts.
We provide our bright minds with an environment which allows them to shine – a good work-life-balance, paid educational hours, etc. We do this, since we would have liked such an environment ourselves when being employed. But it was not possible due to calculation issues. Which forced us to quit our jobs.
Therefore, we want to pay our experts reasonable salaries and want them to gain even more knowledge. We want them to stay motivated and hunt for solutions instead of billed hours. We are investing a lot into our experts, and we are very happy and proud to do so. We know, that you deserve the best expert and the best approach for your project.
But it’s still expensive, though.
Do you know how much it costs, to do without good experts? Or to simply opt for the cheaper alternative since it is … cheaper? Can you really afford the second best or a somehow okayish solution? Just for the sake of saving some bucks forehand?
Our experts are worth their money.
They are experts and bright minds, they are able to solve problems, they are able to think outside the box. They save you time and money and nerves, they bring knowledge and experience into your projects.
So, no. We won’t do special prices.
We already have the best prices in the market since we have the best experts and the brightest minds here at Cloudibility.
Because you shut down your VMs at night. Automatically.
Because you have a Jenkins-installation.
Because you are moving to a cloud environment.
Because you have set up a „DevOps“-team.
Because you have a lot of meetings with stakeholders.
Because you want a Development team to run a software since the approach is often described as „You build it, you run it“.
Because you know about this nifty image on top.
Turns out: No.
You don’t do DevOps.
You just shut down your VMs at night, you just happen to have a Jenkins-installation, you’re just moving to a cloud environment, etc.
But this is not DevOps. At least not in the sense we at Cloudibility understand it and explain it to our customers and set it up with them. To us, DevOps is not about any specific technology or setting up a team.
DevOps is a mindset.
It is an approach to thinking about, developing and running software collaboratively. It is about the way you interact from the start to the end of a project with each other. It involves getting rid of this „throwing over the fence“ mentality. It involves a process for collecting and maintaining knowledge in an ever-changing team and agile approaches to development and operations. It is about the way a team is set up and how it evolves, it is about the way we set up and execute operational processes. DevOps even is a way to organize collaboration in a whole company.
So, DevOps is way more than putting Dev and Ops on the same table. Or than moving into cloud environments. Or than being agile. Way more.
In the following months and weeks, I will give you insights into our approach to DevOps. I will give you some tips and hints. I will help you to see the whole picture. I will do this on a per-issue and per-aspect base, and it will be a loose series of articles.
While heading back home from Frankfurt to Berlin, I had to change trains in Hannover. From there to Berlin the distance is quite exactly 300km. Have you ever tried doing this on the infamous A2 Autobahn? It will usually take around three to four hours, often even more.
In comparison, the ICE train I’m currently in will do the same distance in less than ninety minutes.