Who do you think of when you hear DevOps?

cyberswat's picture

This is not as random of a question as it sounds. In an effort to continue providing quality speakers and content for upcoming Drupal events I'm reaching out to the community for help. Who, in or out of the Drupal community, do you think of when you hear the word DevOps? Who are the shops and practitioners that shine when it comes to this mysterious word?

Any help collecting this list is greatly appreciated!


I'll summarize some of the

cyberswat's picture

I'll summarize some of the tweets I'm getting in this comment just in case I can't convince them to participate on this thread:

Marcus Deglos ‏@manarth:
@cyberswat You should chat to @codeenigma…they keep quiet about what they're doing, but they're doing it right, whatever it is :-D

Kelly Russell Bell ‏@GothamDrupal
@cyberswat @DamienMcKenna I think of @getpantheon ;)


joshk's picture

Hey, chiming in as one of the co-founders of Pantheon, which has a strong DevOps culture.

DevOps is hard to define. It's more of a way of doing than a particular thing. Fundamentally it means breaking down the traditional barriers between Development and Operations groups, getting software developers to think more about systems, and sysops to think more about how their "operations" can be automated, integrated and augmented by software.

In the Drupal space, this usually means automating the setup/configuration of infrastructure, and facilitating workflows (via version control and/or data synchronization) so that teams can effectively collaborate on building, launching, and then running — scaling, maintaining, iteratively improving — Drupal-powered website.

Pantheon's raison d'etre is to provide world-class DevOps tools for developers through our platform. Internally we manage a really large amount of infrastructure and different software systems, so while our workflows and daily routine are a little different than web developers, there's no way we could do what we do without a solid DevOps foundation. We're "walking the talk", as they say.

For anyone looking to get a more narrative introduction into what DevOps means, the Novel "The Phoenix Project" does a pretty good job:


Published by some pretty smart people:


Also, DevOpsDays is an amazing camp-like event:


yep .. I definitely

cyberswat's picture

yep .. I definitely understand the nuances of the word devops and that it is more a way of thinking combined with a disciplined approach to technology and delivery. I appreciate the ongoing search for a set of tools that define the holy grail of devops but am firmly rooted in the camp that understands how vain that quest is.

I am specifically looking for individuals and shops that exemplify the communities perception of devops practices. Who can you talk to in order to get objective and concrete steps for enhancing your workflow through the practice of devops? Which shop is going to be able to walk a client through the complete automation of all their systems and business management practices. Who understands the points that you make above?

I understand that there are a couple of proprietary stacks that focus on helping drupal sites travel through different environments to reach a vetted production level state ... I'm not interested in those. I know Pantheon exists ... I know Acquia exists. I know there are other people out there that absolutely kill this space. For example, the stuff DamZ is doing at commerce guys is absolutely mind blowing. That's the kind of thing I want to hear about.

I'll volunteer

cyberswat's picture

I'll volunteer https://www.appliedtrust.com/ as well .. these guys are amazing on so many levels

Initialy it sounded to me

Novitsh's picture

Initialy it sounded to me like they were Development Operators who intervene when problems occur in code on production sites.

Then I looked it up on Wikipedia :-)

Subtlety, in what it's *not*. . . .

jpw1116's picture

The text I like to fall back on is Paul Swartout's Continuous Delivery and DevOps: A Quickstart guide by Packt (a Drupal site—what's not to like?!).

Anyway, he also goes and defines DevOps as a way

. . . of working that encourages the Development and Operations team to work together in a highly collaborative way towards the same goal.

But not

A way to get developers to take on operational tasks and vice versa.

That goal, in my opinion, usually takes the form of automation—ironic, isn't it, that it counts on new work to reduce old work!

"Updating the thread"

kbell's picture

@cyberswat in response to your exhortation to "update the thread", I can say that for Gotham City Drupal, our practice consists of standard tools and methodologies (issue tracking integrated with Git and RSS, continuous integration practices, standardized development tools such as Drush, PHPStorm, XDebug, etc.), implementing responsive themes for all client sites, etc. combined with process management designed to tie all these features together in a consistent behaviour.

This behaviour is transparent to our clients and is multi-level, so that at any time they can effectively see where their project is in the process, and they also have the performance metrics (velocity, burn-down charts, RSS feeds, etc.) to understand and communicate the big picture to other stakeholders in their organizations. They can deep-dive or get a holistic snapshot, with stops in between. We provide a "Client Quick-Start" document that outlines the features and activities in this process in a non-techy way, and which allows clients to jump into the process with clear guidelines (including naming conventions for user stories, how to set up their RSS Feed and manage their user account, and other features).

The point made about automation is a critical one. Without automation, this level of transparency is too expensive to maintain, and quality consistency is degraded. We are in the process of building a custom (Drupal-based) application that creates an integration point around estimating jobs (which will include historical data for reference), and ties all the above-mentioned resources into client, developer and project manager dashboards with an elegant user interface and project reporting system.

Further to these points, the reason I responded the way I did in Twitter about Pantheon is that Pantheon has been, for the last 3 years, the cornerstone upon which our DevOps house is built. Not only because of what they offer, but because the Pantheon folks are all constantly thinking about the same problems, and have solved their slice of this pie in the best-possible way. I was following the Mercury Project (idealogical parent to Pantheon) closely 5 years ago, because I was trying to solve the same problems in my business. It was an expensive, hard-to-bill-to-clients, nontrivial problem, and I was looking for ways to automate the process myself when I attended a Mercury Project presentation by Josh. The Mercury Project echoed my own opinion about how I thought things should be done - it was what I was looking for, and this vision is what evolved into Pantheon. I was hooked from the start.

I rely on the folks at Pantheon every day to be thinking hard about the future of DevOps - I know I am, and it's very comforting to know that their big brains (far bigger than mine!) are on the case. I participate in their engineering-talk Google group, and they actually LISTEN to what I (and others) have to say, providing cogent, proven advice on the issues we all face and insight into their roadmaps for future development. The insights gained as a result of this engagement and the attendant conversations allow us to build our own integrated DevOps on the solid foundation provided by Pantheon's development standards and the scaffolding extending form there throughout the rest of our DevOps infrastructure.

In other words, integrating with Pantheon provides both an conceptual and idealogical (as well as "real code") framework to build and maintain Gotham City Drupal's DevOps house.

Altogether, our internal tools, systems and processes + Pantheon = DevOps FTW.


--Kelly Bell
Gotham City Drupal
twitter: @kbell | @gothamdrupal