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Archive for July 17th, 2009

Agile Infrastructure with Andrew Shafer – Agile Executive 004

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As Israel alluded to last week, in this episode of the Agile Executive podcast, Israel and I talk with Reductive Lab’s Andrew Shafer. Put broadly, the topic is “Agile Infrastructure,” which kind of boils down to the connection between Agile development and the IT department, esp. in trying to get IT to be Agile itself. Here are some, admittedly, poor notes from the show:

After some brief introductory stuff, Andrew launches off: traditional operations has built up a resistance to change. “Change is what enables the business.” There’s an interesting discussion here of operations and infrastructure concerns being “non-functional requirements,” which are sort of second class citizens in some Agile practice.

Starting around this point, Andrew starts referring to talks from the recent Velocity conference. There’s special mention of the John Aspaw talk.

I ask Andrew and Israel where, beyond web companies, they see these practices happening or finding interest. Andrew admits that its only web companies that he sees applying this thinking, but analogizes it to early Agile, XP in particular, which had a small, narrow focus at first and then spread over 10 odd years to where it (Agile) is today. Israel weighs in with an example from a few years ago in the financial sector

Having talked about these ideas in abstract, we talk about some of the practices themselves:

  • as mentioned about, treating your infrastructure like source code – something you can rebuild on-demand.
  • automate your infrastructure – from bare metal to running services.
  • capacity planning, but better, management and acquisition – e.g., rebuilding 60 machines from metal to production in a few hours at Digg.com vs. two full days or work.

Israel asks, is ITIL for the data-center like water-fall for development? Both Andrew and I weight in on how much water-fall you can buy into, making analogues to eat-the-whole-pie RUP. This also recalls a conversation I had on another podcast, the IT Management & Cloud podcast with Rob England, aka, The IT Skeptic, on the topic of CMDBs and ITIL.

Written by cote

July 17, 2009 at 10:51 am

Posted in Podcast

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