When The Man embraces a counterculture movement like DevOps, does that mean it no longer counts as counterculture? We’re about to see because IBM is serious about DevOps, and not as some cheap way to co-opt a hippie-tech buzzword and make itself cool. Yes, IBM, that enterprise technology vendor that in many ways epitomizes everything that the DevOps movement was set up to escape.
Until this week, I hadn’t realized just how serious IBM was about DevOps. But on Tuesday I was fortunate to spend some time talking with IBM’s Bill Higgins. As we talked, I started searching the web for more information on IBM’s involvement, and found it…everywhere. Yes, there were the obligatory conference talks, but there was also smart discussion about how to pull off DevOps within traditional enterprise IT.
And a whole IBM blog devoted to the topic of DevOps. Imagine that!
Yes, it just started. But it’s great to see such a trusted enterprise brand do more than merely slap the DevOps label on a tired, old product line, hoping that customers won’t notice. I’m sure IBM is doing that, too, but not Higgins and his team. It sounds like there’s a very real, concerted effort to embrace DevOps within IBM and within its customer base.
I don’t know where this leaves the counterculture. But I think it means DevOps is more than some passing fad. And that maybe, just maybe, IBM is shrewdly embracing the counterculture again, just as it did with Linux and open source years ago. That bet paid off big time for Big Blue. I imagine its bet on DevOps will do the same.
UPDATE: Donnie Berkholz, part of Redmonk’s awesome analyst team, attended IBM’s Pulse conference earlier this year, and praised IBM for being out in front of its stodgy peers in terms of DevOps and other important trends:
IBM’s people really get it. They understand trends that are happening at the frontlines of tech today in startups and in open-source development. IBM is way out in front on enabling DevOps in big enterprises, and the teams working on DevOps inside Tivoli as well as Rational (which builds tools for developers) are outstanding. A lot of my experience with enterprises is that they’re slow-moving and often lagging trends by years, to the point where it’s nearly laughable, but in this case IBM is definitely a front-runner.