devopsdays Ghent recap

!!! ATTENTION: Highly unstructured braindump content !!!

Day 1

The Self-Steering Organization: From Cybernetics to DevOps and Beyond

Nice intro intro cybernetics and systems theory. Nothing really new for me as I’m into system theory a very little bit. Keywords: Auto autopoiesis, systems theory, cybernetics, empathy, feedback.

Ceci n’est pas #devops

  • “DevOps is culture, anyone who says differently is selling something. Tools are necessary but not sufficient. Talking about DevOps is not DevOps.”
  • fun experiment replace every occurrence of “DevOps” with “empathy” and see what happens ;-) reminded me of the “butt plugin”)

Cognitive Biases in Tech: Awareness of our own bugs in decision making

  • Talk is mainly backed by the book “Thinking, fast and slow”
  • Brain is divided in System 1 and System 2
  • System 2 gets tired easily: Do important decisions in the morning (e. g. monolith vs. micro-service), postpone trivial ones to the evening (e. g. what to cook for dinner)
  • great hints for better post mortems

5 years of metrics and monitoring

  • great recap on infoq
  • You really have to focus on how to visualize stuff. Looks there needs to be expertise for this in a company which wants to call itself “metrics driven” or “data driven”
  • We have to be aware of Alert fatuigues:
    • noise vs. signal
    • not reacting to alerts anymore, because “they will self-heal anyway in a few minutes” (we call this “troll-alert” internally, which is a very bad description for an alert coming from a non-human system which is apparently not able to troll)


Repository as an deployment artifact - Inny So

  • talking about - application+environment as atomic release tags

Day 2

Running a fully self-organizing/self-managing team (or company)

  • good recap at infoq
  • interesting open allocation work model, but with managers, feedback loops, retrospectives and planning meetings. They call it “self-selection”
  • it’s sometimes better to let people go instead of trying to keep them
  • people need explicit constraints to work in, otherwise they don’t know their and others boundaries

[Automation with humans in mind: making complex

systems predictable, reliable and humane](

Open spaces

Internal PaaS

I hosted a session on “Why/How to build an internal PaaS”. The reason for doing this is building a foundation for (micro-)services: Feature Teams should be able to easily deploy new services (time to market <1hour). They should not care about building their own infrastructure for: Deployment of appliations of different languages (PHP, Ruby, Java, Python, Go …), metrics, monitoring, databases, caches etcpp.

So I had a quick look, e.g. at or, which pretend to do what I want, and I hoped someone actually using stuff like that might be right here.

The session itself was a bit clumsy: I guess I couldn’t explain my problem well enough, or it actually is no problem. Or the problem is too new as there was no one in the room who actually had more than 2 micro-services deployed.

But anyway, talking about what I want to achieve actually helped me to shape my thoughts.

Microservices - What is important for Ops
  • Session hosted by MBS
  • If a company wants to migrate to / implement microservices, an Ops team should insist on 12-factor-app style in order to have a standardization
  • Have a look at Simian Army which has been implemented to mitigate common bad practices in microservice architecture, e. g. make everyone aware of fallacies of distributed computing.
  • Not really for Ops, but for devs:
    • EBI / Hexagonal programming style from beginning on, so it doesnt matter (in theory) if monolithic or service-oriented. In theory easy to switch
    • Jeff Bezos Rules
    • Generally having a look at Domain Driven Design and orienting (e. g. using repository and entities instead of ActiveRecord)

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