Randell: Put DevOps Into Practice

From Visual Studio Live!, Anaheim: Brian Randell gets beyond buzzwords with a DevOps demo that puts .NET Core and Visual Studio Team Services right in the middle of the mix.

Everyone has heard the term DevOps lately, but what does it really mean and how can you put it into practice? That was the focus of Brian Randell's Tuesday morning keynote at Visual Studio Live! in Anaheim, entitled "Cross-Platform DevOps with .NET Core and VSTS."

After defining and explaining DevOps and putting the term into context, Randell took the crowd through the process of building a multi-platform web application that fit the new Microsoft mantra, "Any developer, any app, any platform."

After a brief introduction, Randell dove right into his presentation. "What is DevOps?" he asked the crowd. "Let's get right to it. Who cares? One of fundamental things of DevOps is we always start by defining what it is. What really matters is that we get beyond the buzzwords."

The most important aspect of DevOps, as Randell points out, is not the term itself but what it means and how it can help development teams work more efficiently. "The key highlight we really care about when it comes to DevOps is not the buzzword," he says. "What we care about is the outcome. We care about specific results clients are trying to achieve with their business. The customers are the people you're trying to support. They don't care what language you write in."

What is truly important when considering and implementing DevOps is the manner in which it changes the way teams work and the end result. "When it comes to DevOps, don't get too caught up in the buzz," says Randell. "Focus on what's essential. Ultimately, that means doing our jobs, but doing them better, for that continuous delivery of value."

He shared his favorite definition of DevOps, which came from a friend of his and keynote presenter at the earlier Redmond Visual Studio Live! Donovan Brown. "DevOps is the union of people, processes and products to enable continuous delivery of value for end users," he says. "That's what it's ultimately about."

And every aspect of that definition is important, says Randell. People come first. "You can't be successful as a DevOps if team and people responsible don't choose the process. The next part is the process. You need method to the madness. With DevOps, it comes down to one simple word: automation. You need to create repeatable operations to allow you to successfully get what you create in hands of users."

Randell reminded the assembled developers that the customers are ultimately indifferent to all this. "Focus on the product," he says. "Remember no one cares what language you use and what technology you use. As long as they get their solution on time and at high quality, that's what they care about."

While the tools and processes are essential to creating high-quality solutions, that shouldn't be the focus. Randell then moved on to Microsoft's new mantra as it relates to DevOps. "Now Microsoft loves teams," he says. "Microsoft has a new mantra when it comes to team development: Any developer, any app, any platform."

Randell then moved into the demo portion of his keynote, in which he created an app live on stage using a variety of platforms. "What I'm going to show today is something you can do on premises. You can build apps for a desktop, web server and mobile device."

Then he started the actual build process. "Let's get down and build something. I'll switch to a virtual machine running Windows 10, .NET CORE and VS 2013 update 3. I am running current public releases of everything." While he started on the Windows platform, he also moved over to the Mac OS 10 and Linux. He validated and explained every step he was taking. While the first attempt didn't work quite as he intended, he assured the crowd he knew what had happened, and he would publish the working code on his blog.

The next Visual Studio Live! event take place as part of Live! 360, which also includes TechMentor, SQL Server Live!, the newly renamed Office and SharePoint Live!, Modern Apps Live! and the new AppDevTrends conference. Live! 360 takes place in Orlando, FL December 5-9. For more information, check here.


About the Author

Lafe Low has been a technology editor and writer for more than 25 years. Most recently, he was the editor in chief of TechNet magazine. He has also held various editorial positions with Redmond magazine, CIO magazine and InfoWorld. He also launched his own magazine entitled Explore New England, and has published four editions of his guidebook The Best in Tent Camping: New England.

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