Alan Shimmel asks have we beat “What is DevOps” to death yet? Alan illustrates his point by using the more-than-beaten-to-death, we-wish-it-would-go-away-right-now of Chuck Norris meme. Those of us who have talked about DevOps for a while are certainly beginning to tire of explaining why it is more than automation. But Alan’s question is legit, and I have to say the answer is “No!” We are in the top of the second inning of a game that will be playing out for years.

I know no amount of coffee will stifle a yawn when practitioners are confronted with yet another DevOps definition. People who are past simple automated builds and moving down the pathway to continuous integration do not need to be told what DevOps is. What they need help with is practice in how to do it better. But DevOps is still a small portion of the IT and development community, and the rest of the folks out there may still need to hear it a dozen times more before its importance sinks in. There are very good definitions, which do not always resonate with developers. Try getting a definition to stick with people who believe they’ll be force chocked to death by a Sith Lord before code auto-deploys in an afternoon – not an easy task.

To put this into context with other development trends, you can compare it to Agile. Within the last year I have had half a dozen inquiries on how to start with Agile development. Yes, I have lost count of how many years ago Agile and Scrum were born. Worse, during the RSA conference this year, I discussed failed Agile deployments with a score of firms. Most fell flat on their faces because they missed one or two of the most basic requirements of what it means to be Agile. If you think you will run a development cycle based on a 200-page specification document and still be Agile, you’re a failure waiting to happen. They failed on the basics, not the hard stuff.

From a security perspective I have been talking about Database Activity Monitoring and its principal use cases for the last decade. Still, every few months I get asked “How does DAM work?” And don’t even bother asking Rich about DLP – he gets questions every week. We have repetitive strain injuries from slapping our foreheads in disbelief at the same basic questions; but firms still need help with mature technologies like encryption, firewalls, DAM, DLP, and endpoint security. DevOps is still “cutting edge” for Operations at large, and people will be asking about how DevOps works for a very long time to come.r