In this edition of SRE Anti-Patterns, I'm highlighting one of the more substantial shortcomings of written documentation — it is difficult to get people to read it!
The last mile problem for DevOps is Operations. "The last mile" is an economic concept, born in the telco industry, that describes the last bit of effort that is required to extract the benefit of significant previous investments. The metaphor is a good fit for the relationship between DevOps and Operations.
IT Operations has always been difficult. There is always too much work to do, not enough time to do it, and frequent interrupts. Moreover, there is the relentless pressure from executives who hold the view that everything takes too long, breaks too often, and costs too much.
In search of improvement, we have repeatedly bet on new tools to improve our work. We’ve cycled through new platforms (e.g., Virtualization, Cloud, Docker, Kubernetes) and new automation (e.g., Puppet, Chef, Ansible). While each comes with its own merits, has the stress and overload on operations fundamentally changed?
Enterprises have also spent the past two decades liberally applying Management frameworks like ITIL and COBIT. Would an average operations engineer say things have gotten better or worse?
In the midst of all of this, there is conventional wisdom that rarely gets questioned.
This video tells the story of a typical SRE journey with Rundeck. First, using Rundeck for creating standard operating procedures and checklists. Second, using Rundeck to safely enable Operations as a Service so others who are traditionally outside of the operations organization can execute operations procedures.
It has been interesting to watch how Rundeck spreads in organizations who are also adopting SRE practices. The emerging role of SRE (Site Reliability Engineering) focuses on using software engineering skills to build and operate highly-reliable and highly-scalable services.
Their Rundeck usage can be divided up into two categories that I call "helping me" and "helping you".