Behind the scenes: A day in the life of a CloudOps director

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The cardinal to adopting a astute DevOps mindset, according to a CloudOps director? Prioritization and automation.


Nelson Normahomed is the elder manager of unreality operations and IT astatine the bundle institution Vendavo.

Image: Nelson Normahomed

Nelson Normahomed, calved and raised successful the tiny metropolis of Mutare, Zimbabwe, archetypal got into exertion with the accomplishment of his archetypal computer, astir property 15. "I was loading up, installing Windows, and conscionable doing the basics, but my involvement grew from there," helium said. 

SEE: DevOps: A cheat sheet

Now, Normahomed is the elder manager of unreality operations and IT astatine the bundle institution Vendavo. In his astir five-year tenure, he's taken a pb successful helping follow a DevOps mindset and champion practices astatine the company.

His ceremonial way began erstwhile Normahomed moved to London, England, and earned a grade successful machine systems and networking, getting broadside jobs successful freelance web improvement and machine repairs to get by. When helium graduated, helium took a occupation astatine Fujitsu—his introduction into IT—where helium did first-line, second-line support, dealing with users' issues with applications, servers and more. Later, helium got a occupation arsenic strategy technologist for a healthcare institution based successful Kansas City, wherever helium started doing infrastructure implementation, and moved into a method designer position, and stayed astatine the institution astir a decade.

When helium archetypal began astatine Vendavo, Normahomed was a exertion architect, managing a information halfway and getting customers to migrate to it. Then, the institution transitioned from a managed information halfway to nationalist unreality providers similar Microsoft and AWS. His relation was some arsenic exertion and cyber reliability engineer—"to plan what our caller unreality would look like." As a strategy cyber reliability engineer, helium would instrumentality an progressive relation successful implementation—installing the unreality system, gathering out, and moving the solutions—versus simply handing it implicit to customers. 

SEE: Research: Video conferencing tools and cloud-based solutions predominate integer workspaces; VPN and VDI little fashionable with SMBs (TechRepublic Premium)

Since Vendavo owns the unreality it supports accumulation environments, successful first-line, second-line fashion; however, "the full unreality infrastructure supporting that exertion remains with us, our team, and we typically enactment that moving forward," Normahomed said.

"Every time is simply a caller challenge," Normahomed said, since Vendavo is perpetually adopting the latest technology. 

"We don't stagnate, technology-wise, due to the fact that we're ever trying to support up with what makes consciousness from a exertion standpoint and incorporated that into our infrastructure appropriately," helium said. "Everything from infrastructure arsenic code, moving with Microsoft and AWS unreality providers, Oracle and Microsoft SQL server—we interaction it all."

On a emblematic day, Normahomed starts his docket of tasks astir 9 a.m., "but successful the beingness of an SRE, that ever changes, right?"

The main extremity is to support the customer's infrastructure moving reliably, helium said, and marque definite "there are nary surprises." To bash this, helium works intimately with engineers and task teams. The adjacent priority, aft the customer, is task work—such arsenic getting codification implemented into the customer's environment—followed by interior improvement tasks for the cloud.

And portion of the day-to-day enactment is astir improving infrastructure. This means automation. "How overmuch tin we automate? Because that's beauteous overmuch our main priority: performance, reliability and automation." 

Anything they tin automate, helium said, they will, to trim enactment connected mundane tasks and absorption connected captious issues. 

"So, we are perpetually observing and monitoring the infrastructure," helium said, which includes determining however to respond to hundreds of alerts.

DevOps has been astir for astir a decade, but Vendavo's travel is astir a twelvemonth and a fractional old.

"We went down this way because, initially, we were precise siloed arsenic organizations," helium said. The unreality operations squad and engineering squad did not ever "have afloat visibility successful presumption of however we physique retired our infrastructure wrong the unreality oregon however we tally operations wrong the cloud, supporting our customers," helium said, which posed a challenge. In a smaller improvement environment, determination was besides a services team, focused connected caller features oregon upgrading code—but determination wasn't a batch of visibility astir however they operated successful the accumulation environment. This could pb to immoderate shifting of blame, oregon determination could beryllium trouble securing an engineer's assistance successful troubleshooting an issue.

SEE: AWS Lambda, a serverless computing framework: A cheat sheet (free PDF) (TechRepublic)

By implementing DevOps, "we tin person a fluid pipeline of codification delivery, accountability and support, and a full loop of feedback," helium said. "From the clip it gets deployed, oregon from the clip the Engineering squad propagate that codification into the accumulation situation wherever the customers were utilizing it, each done to troubleshooting, and having that feedback backmost to them, truthful they tin besides recognize and cognize the issues and the challenges that we faced by past besides making them recognize however we are afloat acceptable up successful the cloud, arsenic well, from an infrastructure perspective."

The DevOps roadmap includes engineers from unreality operations and cyber reliability engineers from the CloudOps team, who are plugged into Oracle. Together, they person play stand-ups and sometimes regular stand-ups. This has already eliminated the silo.

The connection besides helps by prioritizing challenges alternatively of simply responding to JIRA tickets, which could origin debased solution times.

The main skills needed for the job? The quality to prioritize and automate, Normahomed said.

"As an engineer, the breathtaking portion is dealing with challenges, troubleshooting and resolving issues," helium said. "And determination is nary bounds successful presumption of what technology, oregon however much, you tin automate." 

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