Had a great meeting today with Oregon State Data Center. They unveiled to us their plans to fully automate the provisioning and deployment of all their Linux workloads. It’s still in the development phases but it is an amazing accomplishment. Bravo and kudos to them. They are positioned to be able to service their constituents in the time frame of hours instead of days or weeks.
This is really an example of what I like to call “Automate to Innovate”. The theory behind this is actually pretty simple. Automate the repetitive tasks that your people do day in and day out and free them up to do the novel things that drive your business forward. In the case of Oregon DAS, not only do the System Administrators at the Data Center benefit, so do their constituents who have access to their resources sooner and can rely on the repeatability of that provisioning in the future.
This is just one piece of the DevOps movement that you’ll hear me talking about time and time again… and it is an easy way for any enterprise of any size to realize benefits and savings quickly and allow the employees, the real mind-share and assets of the organization, to innovate and contribute to their fullest.
So I recently celebrated my one year anniversary with Red Hat. For those of you who don’t know, I am a Solutions Architect with the North American Public Sector sales organization. It’s actually pretty awesome, I get to talk to all the customers but leave all the high pressure sales stuff to the Account Execs that I support… but that’s not the point of this post…
The point is this: In my one year, I’ve learned alot about IT in the public sector. Let’s explore some of my lessons:
IT is truly a never ending process. As the CIOs and Enterprise Architects that I meet with on a daily basis will attest to, their job is never done. For every initiative that is coming to a close, there are a dozen more starting up. In the public sector, this is even more the case as these agencies, departments, bureaus and offices are subject to the whims of a legislature and an electorate. But that never-ending process is a good thing. It means you have plenty of opportunities for growth and improvement and if you approach it that way, good things follow.
IT is an evolution. One of my favorite slides to show as I travel around the West Coast has four columns on it. Each column describes a different aspect of IT, from Development Methodologies (Waterfall to Agile to DevOps), to Application Architectures (Monolithic to N-Tier to Microservices), from Deployment (Bare Metal to Virtual Servers to Containers) to Infrastructure (Data Center to Hosted to Cloud). What you can clearly see in that slide is that this is all an evolution. Every group is at a different point in that journey and everyone has to prioritize. But the journey is what really allows us to grow and to innovate. Whether you are at the beginning of a column or near the end, (to sound a little cliche) the journey is whats important.
No effort in IT is too small. The aforementioned journeys are not quick ones. Undertaking the journey is not an easy task. With that in mind, if you wait for the “perfect moment” to begin that journey, you’ll never move. (Cliche warning again) Grab the bull by the horns and get moving. Pick a small project and move it to the next stage. Prove to yourself and your organization that you can do it and that it will make a difference. Trust me, when you look back, you will see that it WAS the “perfect moment” and you just couldn’t see it at the time.
One year of walking the beat has shown me that success is out there and it really is in everyone’s reach. You just need to understand a few things. It is a process and an evolution and even the smallest step is movement in the right direction.