My DevOps journey began with configuration management and a passion for automation.
That passion manifested at a very early age. I can remember my first home automation project from when I was 7 years old. The light switch for the lights in my room was on the opposite side of my bedroom, and I disliked having to get out of bed to turn off the lights when I wanted to go to sleep. Through the use of some string, rudimentary pulleys and tape I was able to put together a system to lazily turn off the lights when I wanted to go to sleep.
According to Zillow, whoever has my bedroom now is a much bigger Yankees fan than I ever was.
My first endeavor into home automation should come as no surprise to anyone who visits my house now. All the lights are fully automated. As an added bonus, I can turn the lights both and off. Quite an upgrade to the “off only” ability of my early mechanical version.
I started experimenting with automated configuration management in 2013 when I learned about Chef. I have been involved in supporting large web infrastructures since 1998. Throughout most of that time, my experience in automation and configuration management was arbitrary scripts cobbled together. As a Software Engineer and automation enthusiast, the industry movement to formal configuration management was very exciting. The ability to test infrastructure components, manage the infrastructure as code, and build reliable automation we a revelation.
No longer would the state of a server be a guessing game based on who touched it last or when it was built. Infrastructure code could sit in source control, be reviewed, rigorously tested and discussed before it went impacted a single server.
If you are managing an infrastructure, configuration management can be a tremendous asset. The base level automation that Chef, Puppet or Ansible brings to the table enables reliable higher level automation for a cloud platform, such as Continuous Deployment, that customers need.
Configuration management is not in itself DevOps – but it can be the first step in that journey.