How Etsy makes Devops work

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And we wrote Deployinator, which is our in-house tool that we use to deploy code, and we open-sourced it because one of our principles is we want to share with the community. Rackspace at one point took Deployinator and rewrote a bunch of stuff and they were using it as their own deploying tool. I don’t know if they still are today, but that was back in the early days when it first launched.

We use Chef for configuration management, which is spread throughout our infrastructure; we use it all over the place. And we have a bunch of homegrown tools that help us with a variety of things. We use a lot of Nagios and Graphite and Ganglia for monitoring. Those are open-source tools that we contribute back to. I’d say that’s the vast majority of the tooling that ops uses at this point. Development obviously uses standard languages and we built a lot of tooling around that.

As other people are considering adopting these methods of work, what kind of questions should they ask themselves to see if it’s really for them?

I would suggest they ask themselves why they are doing it. How do they think they’re going to benefit? If they’re doing it to, say, attract talent, that’s a pretty terrible reason. If they’re doing it to improve the overall structure of the engineering culture, enable people to feel more motivated and ownership, or they think they can improve the community in which they’re responsible or the product they’re responsible for, that’s a really good reason to do it.

But they have to keep in mind it’s not going to be an overnight process. It’s going to take lots of time. On paper it looks really, really easy. We’ll just drop some Devops in there. No problem. Everybody will talk and it will be great.

Well no. I didn’t marry my wife the first day I met her. It took me a long time to get to the point where I felt comfortable in a relationship to go beyond just dating. It takes longer than people think and they need to be aware of that because, if it doesn’t work after a quarter or it doesn’t work after two quarters, people can’t just abandon it. It takes a lot of time. It takes effort from people at the top and it takes effort from people on the bottom as well. It’s not just the CEO saying, “Next year we’re going to be Devops.” That doesn’t work. It has to be a cultural change in the way people are interacting. That doesn’t mean everybody has to get along every step of the way. People certainly will have discussions and disagreements about how they should do this or that, and that’s OK.

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