As I sit here trying to formulate my thoughts on to this blank canvas I am struggling both to find the starting point as well as type. The typing part is due to a cat laying across my hands hitting random keys for laughs. The starting point is much much deeper.
I’ve been working in IT now for over 20 years which when I type that out I think “man, I’m now the old guy at work!” I still feel like I am a mid level guy. I’ve been around long enough to have it forced into my core being that I have to double space at the end of every line. I promise I will try to work on that.
Another thing that is irking me is that this minimalistic wordpress theme I chose seems to not allow indented paragraphs. Clearly I need to get with the times and just deal with it.
DevOps, where was I. Oh yeah. So my employer who for now shall remain mostly out of the picture till I want to discuss such things is a large, VERY large software company. They make dozens and dozens of pieces of software, most of which is sold to extremely large companies to use to make large complicated things. I’m really not trying to be too vague. I swear I have been with them for less than 4 years now and I still barely understand what the software actually does. I know that we sell it to huge companies and not really your off the shelf Best Buy customer. Companies that make cars, nuclear plants, air planes, space stuff, etc. You get the gist.
Because of this the software is insanely complex. There are tens of thousands of developers, testers, branding people, sales people, interns doing intern-ish stuff, and even IT staff just keeping the machine running. That is where I fit in. I am the IT guy.
I work and have worked primarily in traditional infrastructure. And when I say traditional I mean “you buy hardware, throw it in a rack, and configure it for someone to do something to it, and keep the lights blinking green at all costs.”
My company however is shifting from traditional old school development to the new age CI/CD model. The meaning of that acronym is beyond the context of this blog post but if you click the link you can find out what it is. One huge shift we are doing closer to me is automation, and getting more into DevOps. I have never done any DevOps at all, and most of my automation revolves around setup scripts we use in the datacenter to provision things faster.
Then one day someone on my team said “Why aren’t we using Ansible for this?” I had to google what Ansible even was. It was a life changing moment that lead down a massive rabbit hole for months. I ordered and read a copy of The Phoenix Project by Gene Kim. Its terrifying at times if you work in IT. It hit too close to home. But if you make it through the nightmare scenarios it presents the solution they present to fix the problems is DevOps. Its a fun read. 10/10 recommend.
So “How do I DevOps?” That’s a fun query to send to Google. The answer of course is always depends. In my case I work in infrastructure so I need to work more on automation and learn some coding and Linux. Most people new tackle it from the other side becoming programmers first then dipping their toes into cloud or infrastructure.
The great news for me is that I have not only a fully functional T3 datacenter to help me hone my skills, but I also have a massive corporation with people already doing this job that I can always reach out for help or mentoring. I am not alone at my pc in my basement desperate to shift my skillset.
The graphic at the top of the page was a clip of a MUCH larger roadmap on how to learn DevOps. It is from https://roadmap.sh/devops and I recommend that everyone fascinated by this journey go there and bookmark that. I will be gently following that to some degree, but I am also focusing on things that I can immediately use in my day to day job. thus the start with automation, provisioning, and Ansible.
So strap in, it’s going to be a ride.