There’s never been a better time to be in infrastructure. My developer roots go way back but my journey to the cloud started back in 2007 and switched to the “dark side” as I spent most of my time on infrastructure and ops. I have stood up countless architectures for different environments over the past two decades. Truly, I never thought I would be writing that sentence. However, after a recent podcast interview with DevOps guru Gene Kim—author of the bestselling books, The Phoenix Project and The Unicorn Project—I have to agree with him that there has never been a better time to be in infrastructure.
Even 10 years ago, every new system, or even major updates, required provisioning or re-provisioning the right combination of desktops, servers, routers, switches, and all the other components that come with whatever you were trying to get to run. The process took days, or weeks, or longer, and infrastructure people sometimes took a lot of criticism for companies’ lack of agility.
However, the cloud, and the shift to DevOps, has forced a change in how companies implement infrastructure. With DevOps, developers need access to flexible development and test environments that mimic production environments, so they can create code that’s ready to go—all on a super-aggressive schedule with daily (and sometime hourly) changes. Infrastructure management is changing to meet those demands, and in the process, infrastructure people have an opportunity to become everyone’s best friend.
On the podcast, Gene and I talked about the changes he’s seeing in how companies deal with their infrastructure to accommodate DevOps and its imperative to push changes every day, the ubiquity of Kubernetes, microservices, etc.
Gene thinks infrastructure management is changing as rapidly as anything else in IT right now, and that getting DevOps right is going to make rock stars out of infrastructure people. “People will be your best friends because they value your help, and your skills, and your expertise,” he said.
He’s really excited that DevOps has bought infrastructure a place at the table and made it cool to do infrastructure. “I think there's so many things happening in development that are hitting operations and infrastructure like immutability, like functional programming, like idempotency, like that's – many people have talked about it for the last ten years, he said, “But I think we're now, with things like Kubernetes and Kafka, we're actually seeing these things show up, and I think it is a better way of thinking, it's a better way of doing.”
Gene believes that infrastructure has learned a few tricks from development—especially new philosophies like Infrastructure as Code—and that’s creating high demand for people who can do infrastructure that enables good DevOps. “It's actually leveraging decades of work that's been done in programming languages and development that are now being applied to the infrastructure domain,” he said. “So, I think it's just really, really exciting, and it's a great time to be in infrastructure. There's no better place and there's no better way to be productive than to have this world-class platform scheme that takes all those problems and solves them for you.”
What a change from the (not so) good old days when infrastructure people were invisible when things worked and in a fish bowl full of boiling water when they didn’t!
What’s your take? Do you agree with Gene that there’s never been a better time to be in infrastructure? What do you think the future holds for DevOps professionals?
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