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DevOps Days Amsterdam Day 1 Focused on Continuous Delivery and DevOps Culture

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The first day of DevOps Days Amsterdam had its focus split between continuous delivery and automation topics on one side and promoting a DevOps culture within an organization on the other. Talks on continuous delivery focused on how to automate the deployment pipeline but also automating system recovery in case of failure. On the culture side the need to leverage distinct personality types to successfully introduce cultural changes and the positive impact of strong company culture when hiring were some of the main takeaways.

Michael Ducy from Opscode gave an entertaining talk with his analogy between the characters in The Big Lebowski movie and typical personality types in IT organizations. The point being the need to adopt different approaches for advancing IT changes according to the personality types in the organization. Unbelievers need to be convinced with logical arguments that prove them wrong. Business needs to see the bottom-line for changes with the help of business metrics. Experts have power in the organization and need to be acknowledged but also pushed back at times to actually gain their respect. The common thread is to actively sell the changes to stakeholders in the organization who will then positively influence the decision makers.

Jonathan Weiss from AWS focused on building in systems resilience by actively and frequently replacing machines in the production system, restoring data from backups or introducing chaos monkeys. All of which help ensure the system can recover from failure in an automated fashion. Jonathan proposes the introduction of 1-Box deployments in the continuous delivery pipeline. That means to deliver changes to a single machine in production first, then monitor its metrics (technical and business) over a period of time and check that they fit within the standard deviation of the entire fleet. Only then push the changes to the rest of the machines.

John Willis repeated his introductory session from DevOps Days Austin in which he reveals the secret weapon for hiring is to nurture a strong culture backed by congruent actions. Potential employees identify with and want to be part of said culture. Companies with strong identity such as Etsy (code artisans), Github (sharing, even at management level) or Netflix (go getters, no apologies) excel at attracting people fit for their culture, even in a scarce recruitment market.

Frank Breedijk, security officer at Schuberg Philis, listed the friction points between security and DevOps and how to collaborate to avoid them.  Examples include automating security tests and environments, reducing scope of security audits to relevant system components only or allowing security fixes to jump the queue of changes to production.

Afternoon open spaces orbited around introducing DevOps and continuous delivery in organizations, including operational requirements in agile development, and some demos and tooling discussions.

The conference is being live streamed for those who want to attend remotely.

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