The short answer, as Adam put in his keynote at ChefConf 2013, DevOps is about, "How well people work together and how streamlined our operations really are."
A longer answer is that DevOps is an idea that was born out of a presentation called "10+ Deploys Per Day: Dev and Ops Cooperation at Flickr" at Velocity 2009 (you can see John's slides here). It is a call for close collaboration between the traditionally distinct disciplines of development, and operations (IT). Everyone involved in the software process works together on all aspects of the project, including testers and managers. The application and the infrastructure that runs it are not treated as separate, unrelated entities. Neither can exist without the other.
You can see the following example of a DevOps process on our Continuous Delivery page:
The pipeline begins when the team checks in code to the version control system. It ends when the change goes to production. In between, a lot can happen. Continuous integration is triggered when the check-in occurs. This means that every time someone commits a change it triggers a build and automated build verification tests. After a successful build, other tests run, such as functional tests and performance tests. These are the quality gates. Notice that every stage relays feedback to the team. Fast feedback is an important part of continuous delivery. If a stage fails, someone needs to know right away because the pipeline stops until the problem is fixed. In the last stage, the build is approved and goes live.
You can watch and read about other examples of companies moving to DevOps below, or contact us to have a chat about how we can help you embrace DevOps.
In this #ChefTalk, Rob discusses how to level-up change in your organization by creating a DevOps culture and automating with Chef.
Jamie's #ChefTalk is about how expressing infrastructure as code helps DevOps organizations print out new infrastructure faster than ever.
One complaint about DevOps is that it’s difficult to describe what it is.
In this presentation, Gene Kim describes what is required from each of the major stakeholders, including Development, Test, Product Management, as well as IT Operations. He presents common constraints and conditions that apply each patterns, as well as the modifications that must be done to existing patterns, including: Dev patterns (e.g., Agile and continuous integration and release processes) and IT Operations patterns (e.g., release, change, incident and problem management, monitoring, escalation, escalation of preventive project work, etc.).
In 2011, Prezi started with one ops engineer using Chef to configure a single server type. By 2013, over 30 developers have used Chef to manage their systems across the whole company.
Here's how Prezi uses Chef, including:
BK Box describes how his team found their way to DevOps while building Rackspace's Managed Cloud.
John Esser shares about specific challenges, phases, and actions taken during Ancestry’s cultural metamorphosis from adopting Agile development to creating Ancestry.com's own flavor of DevOps and continuous delivery.
Because DevOps relies not just on tools but on organizational changes, adopting it can be difficult for many companies. Opscode can help. While Chef is a fundamental tool for implementing an automated pipeline, the Opscode professional services team can also help you with the business process and cultural elements of this transformation.