I read Devops In Practice by O’Reilly. It’s more like a booklet, but I am not sure how they categorize it. Either way, it’s not a bad read. It’s authored by Paul Reed and talks about devops experiences at a couple of companies; namely Nordstrom and Texas.gov.

This is a topic for a different (and much longer post), but devops in general tends to lack specific guidelines and I think that hinders adoption at larger companies.  In enterprise space, people often like to have formal methodologies (ITIL, Agile/Scrum come to mind), even though following the process without understanding the underlying philosophy isn’t going to get you very far. But I digress.

What I liked about Devops in Practice is that it highlights the cultural challenges of a devops transformation. In my mind that’s the first and foremost component that’s often circumvented by “let’s create a devops/tools team” approach.

The first company talked about in the book is Nordstrom. It seems like they had all the usual suspects in place. Separate dev and ops, monolithic apps (arguable if that’s incompatible with devops), lots one-off scripts and so on. They started figuring out that as they needed to deliver faster, “throw it over the wall” mentality wasn’t cutting it anymore.

The solution or rather the path to a solution revolved around embedding people into teams, optimizing for speed-to-value and figuring out their value stream. They also discovered that you need to “optimize the whole“, which is a lean concept that also applies to ops/devops/infrastructure.

At the end it briefly talks about wrapping services into APIs and the organic spread of their model. The second part is a bit more brief, but touches on a concept of integrating security practices with a devops model at Texas.gov.

All in all, it’s a good high level summary of approaches taken at two different organizations. The details are very sparse and I would have liked to see more about what failed and why in their earlier approaches (outside of one example given). It would have also been great to read more about the techniques they used to propagate the culture. However, it’s a good introduction and could be a valuable example/reference to use if you’re trying to sell the mythical devops in your own organization.