DevOps eliminates knee-jerk no’s at the IT level

James Urquhart (Cisco), Luke Kanies (Puppet Labs ), Jesse Robbins (Opscode)  - Structure 2011 Cloud computing technologies have helped remove many of the intrinsic barriers programmers used to encounter when developing, deploying and scaling software applications. Now, the biggest hurdles developers often face are human: their own corporate IT teams.

That’s where DevOps comes in. DevOps is a new set of methods to encourage better communication and collaboration between corporate software development teams and IT and system administrators.

In an on-stage conversation on day two of the Structure 2011 conference in San Francisco, two of the DevOps movement’s biggest supporters — Puppet Labs CEO Luke Kanies and Opscode CEO Jesse Robbins — talked about how companies can use DevOps to streamline their internal operations and ultimately get more things done.

“DevOps is a cultural movement,” Robbins told panel moderator James Urquhart, a senior cloud computing market strategist at Cisco (s CSCO). “I come from a background in operations where I felt like my job was saying no.”

Indeed, removing knee-jerk no’s at the IT level is a crucial part of what DevOps tries to do. “It is about moving IT from being the gatekeepers of getting things done to becoming enablers [of productivity],” Kanies said. He compared DevOps to Agile development, the set of methods meant to encourage more productive software development. “You can treat DevOps as the best way to bring the Agile mentality of the world… into operations.” Just like Agile helps developers write applications, he said, DevOps can help companies push those finished applications to market as quickly and smoothly as possible.

But DevOps still has a long way to go before its adopted on a wide scale. “We are in the early stages of what will be a decade-long business transformation,” Robbins said. “However, there’s no standards, there’s no school, and it will take a long time for that to emerge.”