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From support analyst to DevOps thinker

The title of this post might seem a bit on the conceited side. After all, who am I to claim to be a DevOps practitioner, much less thinker? I will simply say that I am working to implement DevOps principles in my day to day life, am spending more than a little time reading, thinking, and writing about DevOps, and though I may not be considered a DevOps thinker today, I certainly aspire to join their ranks. The title, then, is a statement of aspiration, more than a statement of achievement.

I believe there is a need for someone thinking deeply about DevOps from the support side of things, as support is often framed as incidental to development and operations. This feels quite paradoxical to me. Though development may be the ones creating applications, and operations the ones configuring, maintaining, and patching the servers, support are the ones who are contacted (at least in a shop that has implemented ITIL).

When systems go down – and this is particularly true in companies where telemetry has yet to become a priority – support are often the first ones to be notified about the issue, the first ones to classify it, and the ones weathering the storm while operations and/or development work to resolve the issue.

To me, this suggests an imperative for the operations and development sides of the business to involve support, too. I believe this is where my contributions to the field are likely to have the greatest impact, and I believe my experience in support makes me uniquely qualified to apply the principles of DevOps to that context.

Well aware as I am that these are bold claims, I do not make them lightly. I can only hope that I will reach some small measure of success in this endeavour.

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