JAX DevOps Blog

Interviews with DevOps influencers

JAX DevOps, 14-17 May 2019
The Conference for Continuous Delivery, Microservices, Docker & Clouds

13 Mar 2019

Who are the most influential DevOps people in the Twittersphere? After analyzing thousands of accounts, we created a list of people that every DevOps enthusiast or pro should be following. Today, we would like you to meet Thorsten Heller, co-founder, and CEO at Greenbird Int. Tech, as he shares his thoughts on new and rising DevOps technologies, ways to turn short-term failures into long-term success and more!

JAX: One of the key tenants of DevOps is the idea that both teams have an equal share of accountability. Does this work in practice, or only in theory and how?

Thorsten Heller: Cloud infrastructure, Kubernetes or container architecture as the new normal makes the lines between the teams more and more blurry. Dev and Ops are now for the first time DevOps, meaning 1 team.

JAX: Measurement and metrics are another key tenants of any DevOps transformation. How can well-defined metrics enhance DevOps success? In a DevOps context, how do we know what is important enough to measure?

Thorsten Heller: DevOps without metrics is not really Devops and makes no sense. But the important metrics might differ from organization to organization. A utility operating mainly the power grid infrastructure, for instance, might be less concerned about “speed of delivery” compared to customer-centric organizations.  

JAX: DevOps failures are an unfortunate reality and they are often inescapable. So, what tips can you offer to turn short-term failures into long-term success?

Thorsten Heller: Finding the right balance between tooling support and organization mindset seems to be one of the hardest challenges many organizations face. We believe in: People first, meaning start with getting your organization to adopt an agile DevOps mindset before investing too much effort into tooling.

JAX: DevOps is not only about the cultural aspects, but also about the tools. Which tools do you recommend for a successful transition to DevOps?

Thorsten Heller: As CICD for us is one of the core elements in our DevOps approach, we use Concourse to manage our pipelines in combination with Git, Docker, etc.

JAX: Is AIOps the next evolutionary step or simply a different way to think and implement DevOps?

Thorsten Heller: We’d prefer to highlight the importance of DataOps as a next but complementary step to think. As most organization turn into data-driven or data-informed organizations, the importance of managing the entire lifecycle of data gets more and more crucial.

JAX: Speaking of rising technologies in the DevOps ecosystem, is GitOps the new paradigm to meet the needs of cloud-native development?

Thorsten Heller: YES. At least for us and our clients’ development which heavily utilizes Kubernetes as our cloud-native “operating system”, GitOps has shown to be the most effective way.

JAX: Automation is one of the key concepts in any DevOps implementation. Although it promises to rid developers of routine work and let them focus on the meaty details, on some occasions it may cause more problems than it solves. What causes the automation trap and how can developers escape it?

Thorsten Heller: It is as it is with all other automation projects: Finding the right balance between automating routine work versus setting up extremely complex automation solutions to handle many different scenarios is the key here.

JAX: Last year, Sacha Labourey, CEO and founder at CloudBees told us “DevOps is the new normal, cloud is the new infrastructure & Kubernetes is the new operating system.” Do you agree with this statement? Is the cloud the protagonist in the DevOps narrative?

Thorsten Heller: We totally agree and call even our Utilihive Platform (Big Data iPaaS purpose-built for Utilities) as the “Operating System for Smart Energy Services”. Kubernetes and container architecture are the de facto way and define with that the DevOps approach.

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