Journey from Linux Systems Admin to a DevOps Engineer

It was an open source event that delve me into *NIX and since then my real interest were in Systems. I was hired as a Linux Systems Administrator in a start-up named Atlantis Computing and I really enjoyed my work. It was in the year 2007 when the journey began.
System Administrators [SysAd] are the people who run millions of computer that makes everything in our daily life possible. Without them there will be no large working computers anywhere. Imagine a world where air-traffic controllers don’t have computers, where you need to talk to an operator anytime you want to make a phone call and where you have no e-mails. It’s hard to imagine. Right ?
The role of SysAd is quite diverse and encompasses variety of specialities ( same way as doctors graduate and specialize in surgery, pediatrics, and so on ). At the higher level SysAd is responsible for building and maintaining the computer systems for an organization. When it crashes, we fix it, when it under-performs, we tune it and when it grows old, we upgrade it.
The role of managing these and other computer systems comes under Operations group. An Operations group can include variety of people, from Desktop support team for a company, to people who design and build large scale computing infrastructures, to senior managements who decides company’s IT decisions.
I chose to be a SysAd and I enjoyed it greatly. I get to sit behind the scenes ensuring users get to information they need without interruption. It lead to a vast number of opportunities which can take whole life time to explore and enjoy. I actively participate in various local user group meetings and attend conferences to meet different kinds of people. I spend time in responding to e-mails in various mailing lists and feel happy when their problems are fixed. And yes we have our day too.

Well, after being in Operations field for more than four years I got an opportunity to attend DevOps Days 2011 at ThoughtWorks, Bangalore and I have already shared my experience with it in one of my previous posts. I was overwhelmed and thought I was not giving justice to myself after learning about the creative ideas and solutions. I started interacting with folks about a career in DevOps. A fellow ThoughtWorker named Ram guided and motivated me to a large extent.
So what are DevOps skills is another question in my mind ? And it is answered very nicely on Puppet blog. Today, I can best utilize my Operational skills while interacting with Developers. I now see that continuous product deployments have improved. Making realistic deployment environments available to the team so that production deployments can be exercised early and automated. I am now in the process of hardening my skills on Chef, Puppet because I like automating most of my tasks.
A couple of months back OpsCode hosted ChefConf 2013, a 4 day event focused on adopters and contributors to Chef. Our organization Relevance Lab was participating sponsor. While my colleague attended it, I had an opportunity to attend live webcast. It was a rich experience, ChefConf demonstrated the electricity of how DevOps is shaping the future of how businesses compete in market place.
I am exposed to many automation tools and cloud computing providers like Amazon, OpenStack. I can now apply thoughts on how Infrastructure can be programmable. I am breathing a DevOps culture.

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1 Comment

  1. nice one! i learnt something new today!!


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