Richard Bucker

Programmer or Devops

Posted at — May 22, 2020

Are you a programmer or do you do sysadmin functions too?

When you think of these traditional roles what did people do? When I started as a programmer nothing we did was truly well defined. We made the rules as we went along. And those rules were broken constantly.

When you looked at personal computers user were there own sysadmins. It was not until timesharing that we needed those roles. But what started as a niche function grew. The same is true today. These machines, the OS, the services, the applications are so complex that the admin burden slides from user to programmer to sysadmin.

enter devops

Programmers in small or stealth organzations have been doing this from the beginning. So to think that someone invented something would be wrong. But where mainframe admins worked with standardized stacks we are now working with the chaos standard. No longer can you get the “contract” by just doing the job. You have to change everything.

I sent the first half of my career creating microservices and the second half creating monolithic apps. And in my 3rd half moving back to microservices.

I never had a commercial position working on mainframes but one feature I take from is it called G00V00. It’s not fantastic but useful so in the absence of a actual version controlled filesystem I can manage my changes. I mention this because it’s a low bar and still fills the function. If I had to integrate my OS with git and git failed… the cost to the business could be unreasable. While mainframes were big they were also simple. They did not have enough RAM to do anything complicated.

But now what are we doing….

So when people insist that we use git I think about the cost. It takes a lot to manage a git server and to know how to recover a damaged system.

Back in the day “programmer” meant something different.