Config Management Camp 2024 Ghent

Quit Simplifying!
2024-02-05, 15:55–16:45, D.Aud

DevOps is frequently understood as a framework to simplify complex things. This is bound to fail.

That is not DevOps' fault. Rather, this expectation is rooted in a fundamental misunderstanding about the nature of technology, business, and management. Simplification does not exist. What does exist are abstraction and automation, but since those never reduce the underlying complexity of a system, we cannot expect them to simplify anything.

In this talk, I explain the concepts of complexity and entropy, and I discuss why the Second Law of Thermodynamics derails the idea of simplification. I delve into why it is that managers, even if they have the purest of intentions and a great desire to simplify, usually end up doing the opposite. And finally I explain what leaders (formal and informal ones) can and should do to mitigate the very real (and usually negative) consequences of the simplification myth.

Florian runs the Education business unit at Cleura, and helps people learn to use, understand, and deploy services like Ceph, OpenStack, and Kubernetes. He has worked exclusively with open source software since about 2002, has been involved in OpenStack and Ceph since early 2012, and in Open edX since mid-2015. He co-founded hastexo, a professional services company where he served as CEO and Principal Consultant until its acquisition by Cleura (then called City Network) in October 2017.