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How a BigCo actually got some innovation done - The Longer Story of Crowbar
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How a BigCo actually got some innovation done - The Longer Story of Crowbar

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Abstract: ...

Abstract:

Sometimes it seems like It's near impossible to get anything innovative, interesting done in a large company - it's as if BigCos are goaled to prevent just that. While you can't type a URL without hearing how a Ramen-fueled startup got ground breaking product out the door, you rarely hear about how the other side of the exit lives in Large Company Land. This talk will use the story of Crowbar at Dell to grope out how to get good things done in big technology companies, esp. when it comes to something as BigCo esoteric as DevOps!

I'm amazed when I find a skunk-worked project that's blossomed into a valuable, strategic asset for a company. In the case of Dell and Crowbar, it's even more astonishing: Dell has traditionally been a stone-cold hardware company focused on shipping more boxes each quarter, Crowbar is an open source piece of software whose business model depends on the nuanced dynamics of open platforms strategy. You'd never think these two things would go together. And yet, Crowbar exists and has had amazing success (both externally and internally) in an extremely short time. With the access I have to the "real story," being at Dell now after six years at RedMonk covering tech from the outside, I'll go over lessons learned on getting DevOps and a DevOps product through the Brazil-like pneumatic tubes of a $62.1B company.

Presented at DevOpsDays Austin: http://devopsdays.org/events/2012-austin/proposals/How%20a%20BigCo%20actually%20got%20some%20innovation%20done/

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    How a BigCo actually got some innovation done - The Longer Story of Crowbar How a BigCo actually got some innovation done - The Longer Story of Crowbar Presentation Transcript

    • How a BigCo actually got someinnovation doneThe Longer Story of CrowbarMichael Coté@cote
    • The Setup• We, here, all know what DevOps is, so I won’t talk about that• Most of us would love to work on a product, some of us do• Getting stuff done in the small is well documented, but not in large companies• Here, I go over lessons learned for getting a DevOps product out the door and (bonus!) traction in a large company• P.S.: these are my views after studying and interviewing the team and ecosystem. They’re not not official, sanctioned Dell views (never mind this template). 2 2
    • Conclusions• There are two types of people in the world… - those that understand DevOps, and those who don’t• Always Be Coding, not educating - Be comfortable with people not understanding, you can’t educate forever• Get Customers/Users ASAP - drives your own process, use to explain yourself• Work the Iron Triangle - when you’re young being awesome is better than being on-time• Find the right context - getting pulled to do something is easier than pulling something along• Hiding Out – things are easier when no one knows they should care• Get by with just enough architecting & abstracting - you probably are gonna need it, but you can finish it later• Don’t open source a box of junk - bring something to the party• Market the right stuff - top-down marketing & bottom-up marketing 3 3
    • Crowbar: howdoes it work? (As if I could tell you!) 4 4
    • What Crowbar is • Includes all the components required to implement an APIs, User Access, entire cloud infrastructure including components from & Ecosystem ecosystems partners Partners Ops Management Dell Crowbar Cloud • Pluggable components deploy cloud infrastructure Infrastructure & • Allow for expansion by the community services and Dell IP Extensions customers Core Components • Can integrate with existing products & Operating • Delivers basic data center services and required cloud Systems infrastructure • Provision bare-metal servers from box to cloud WITHOUT Physical Resources user intervention, other than racking/cabling and some minimal configuration questions 5 5
    • It’s got a UI! 6 6
    • History of CrowbarMeat-cloud March, 2011 July, 2011 August, 2011 Sep, 2001 November, 2011 • We have Bob do • Initial • OpenStack • Hadoop • Barclamps fully • Hadoop that announcement • Dreamhost Ceph (Cloudera) modulerized barclamp open • Open Sourced • Cloud Foundry sourced Installing private cloud stacks was tedious – we want to do it 2-3 hours 7 7
    • Lessons Learned (Once again, all the usual things apply.) 8 8
    • There are two types of people in the world….Those that understand DevOps, and those who don’t• Many people won’t understand what you’re talking about• Come up with good metaphors – Soup vs. Sandwich (judgmental, benefits driven) – “And then what?” - Talk about the 2-3 year strategy• Speak through your customers 9 9
    • Always Be Coding – Not EducatingBe comfortable with people not understanding, you can’t educate forever Professorial Shiny Object Syndrome: • “What is DevOps?”? • “What is Agile, Lean, etc?” • “What is Big Data?” • “What is cloud?”Image from Chip Holden &co.: http://www.flickr.com/photos/mrchippy/443960682/ 10 10
    • Get Customers/Users ASAPDrives your own process, use to explain yourself• “Find 10 customers, no matter what size, segment, geography.” – Once you have traction, you’ll be taken seriously – You can have your customers explain what your doing to yourself – You’ll get excellent direction about what you should be doing• If you think this is obvious, you don’t work at a BigCo 11 11
    • Work the Iron Triangle When you’re young being awesome is better than being on-time • “If I wait a week, I’ll get another feature” Features • The older the project, the more schedule matters • DevOps is young, so schedule is lowest priority of the three For the wonksQuality Schedule Image from Scott Ambler: http://www.ambysoft.com/essays/brokenTriangle.html#Figure1 12 12
    • Find the right contextGetting pulled to do something is easier than pulling something along• Getting pulled to do something is easier than pulling something along• Opportunistically look for chances to solve problems with your solutions• Avoid gratuitously selling & pleasingImage from http://failblog.files.wordpress.com/2009/05/fail-owned-tricycle-fail1.jpg via John Willis 13 13
    • Hiding OutThings are easier when no one knows they should care• Carve out from the organization• Don’t over-hype and promise – Sets expectations that won’t match process – Creates pull for you to education – cf. Professorial Shiny Object Syndrome• Hiding out implies you’ll have something worth-while once you emerge• Narrow your explanation of what you’re doing as needed, no matter what you’re actually doingImage from http://www.flickr.com/photos/barretthall/121988215/ 14 14
    • Get by with just enough architecting & abstractingYou probably are gonna need it, but you can finish it later “I really don’t know what I’ll need in the future” • Build a platform • Plan for the future • But don’t go crazy • You’ll argue this all the time • Creates strong dependency on organizational knowledgeImage from http://www.flickr.com/photos/neajjean/1596292769/ 15 15
    • Don’t open source a box of junkBring something to the party• Roll up your pre-opening cabal of partners• If you’re servicing an open source ecosystem, being open yourself is probably easier• Know how to (internal) market OSS momentum• Partnerships are much easier – Mechanics of participation – Good enough is often good enoughImage from http://www.flickr.com/photos/cote/7014915367// 16 16
    • Market the right stuffTop-down marketing & bottom-up marketing • “Why aren’t these guys telling me about Crowbar?” • Marketing & PR from all angles • Practitioner-to-practitioner • BUT! You’d be surprised how hungry PR people are for genuine stories 17 17
    • Thanks!For more: http://presentnow.me/555 Michael Coté Michael_R_Cote@Dell.com @cote 18 18