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The future of DevOps: Microsoft's Donovan Brown explains

26 Oct 2016

The Microsoft Ignite New Zealand 2016 event kicked off yesterday at SkyCity in Auckland with over 1700 attendees from all corners of the industry. 

Donovan Brown, senior program manager for Microsoft was one of the keynote speakers at the opening session. He’s responsible for Microsoft’s DevOps team and manning the new breed of automation.

For many organisations, DevOps is something that hasn't yet been mastered or implemented, but Brown swears by it.

“The collaboration that you get when those two teams work together is going to drastically increase your velocity. It’s no longer throwing stuff over the wall to another team who’s getting something that they’ve never seen before,” he explains.  

“When you’re forced to collaborate, you’re forced to communicate more. Having separate teams is just a recipe for what we live in today - which is not a perfect world.”

Although, DevOps is not without its trials and tribulations.  

“Sometimes you have to share resources, and that can sometimes be a challenge for the individual who is being shared across multiple teams,” says Brown.

“It takes a while to get the culture to match, but once you do it’s well worth the investment.

I tell everybody that going from Waterfall to Agile will be one of the most painful things you do in your professional career, but it will also be the most rewarding.”

Brown explains that at Microsoft, what he’s really trying to do is automate the automation.

“One of the underlying pillars of DevOps is automate as much as you possibly can. But what we’ve noticed is that there is a lot of friction and complexity in building the automation for the first time,” he says.

“One of the new things for Team Services is the ability for you to automate everything you do.”

While Brown says DevOps is the way to go, he also hopes that in 5 year’s time it won’t be a thing.  

“I really hope it’s something that we’re not talking about anymore. I hope it’s something that we used to talk about,” he explains.

“I remember when continuous integration was bleeding edge, the idea of being able to download, build and test my code was mind blowing.

And now, it’s a check box. We’ve literally reduced it to check this box and you get all this magic that before was just this Herculean type of event to set up.”

Brown believes that there is no reason he can’t do the same with DevOps.

“What I hope it is in 5 years, is an afterthought. It’s something that we all just do.”

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