Published on 22 June 2010 by

This is a big week in the world of Operations, perhaps the biggest week of the year, with the Velocity, Structure and DevOpsDays conferences all running.  Velocity, representing the 'enfacts terribles' of the WebOps world, and its more corporate cousin Structure address the needs of the Web and enterprise operations markets respectively.  DevOpsDays is the conference representing the nascent DevOps movement, which is trumpeting its message of cooperation and collaboration between development and operations teams.

The overall message of all these conference is that Operations matters.  Operations is the backbone of IT organisations and the group that carries the burden of ensuring that services are delivered to the appropriate service level and for the right cost.  This isn't a surprise to most of us in the Operations world (and certainly not to the people who brought you Puppet!) but it's heartening to see a broader understanding of this in the wider IT industry.

It's exciting also to be involved in discussions about Operational culture, processes and tool stack and we're particularly thrilled by the emergence of Configuration Management as the glue that holds together that stack (the ITIL folks are in the back saying "Yes, well we told you that ages ago!").  The enterprise understands that merely having iron to run services and applications isn't enough anymore.  Speed to market, fast fault resolution and better economies of scale in managing infrastructure require tools that understand what your environment should look like and provide the capabilities to make it so.  In the Cloud world too, both in hulking internal clouds and external Cloud providers, there is an acknowledgment that simply providing the computing power isn't enough, as Opscode's announcement of a SaaS configuration management tool reveals, you need to provide tools to provision and manage it.

Configuration Management though isn't just needed in the enterprise and the Cloud.  Tools like Puppet manage infrastructure in the SMB world, where costs and resources are at a premium and every dollar expended in costs has a direct impact on the bottom line.  Puppet and other tools are deployed in education and government, in ISVs and ISPs, and to manage an increasing number of desktops, networks and embedded devices.  The penetration in these environments is also only just beginning.  Configuration Management and automation is a whole brave new world for many organisations and I look forward to seeing how it's going to unfold.

We'll be at all the conferences this week - Luke, Scott Campbell, and John Rutherford will be at Structure whilst I will be attending Velocity.  Luke and I will at DevOpsDays where we're both speaking on panels about DevOps.  So if you're also attending any of these events please look us up and have a chat about Puppet, Configuration Management or the state of Operations in general.

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