Gratitude

By now, just about everyone’s heard of the DevOps virtues of Culture, Automation, Measurement, and Sharing, or CAMS. (Some also add Lean in there to make CALMS, or CLAMS if you’re into seafood.) While it doesn’t make for a snappy acronym, I think we should add one more virtue: Gratitude.

Whatever you do with your life, there’s something in your life to be thankful for. For those of us who’ve been working in the DevOps fields for a long time, there’s a lot to be thankful for right now. We have skills that are in demand. Cloud computing has, for many of us, made our tasks much simpler and eliminated those dreaded treks to the data center. Automation and the infrastructure-as-code concept have brought discipline, agility and flexibility to our stacks. The DevOps movement has broken down the walls that kept people separated from each other instead of working together towards common goals. These are all things that have made my life better as a long-time system administrator and developer, and I’m grateful for them all. My late father was a sysadmin in the days of big iron and dedicated systems, and in his retirement was always impressed with what we can do today compared to the rigors and limitations of the old school. When you can do something better than your dad, that’s definitely something to be thankful for.

But beyond gratitude for the current state of our industry, and the bright future ahead, we should be grateful for the real heart of the industry: the people. If I have taken nothing else away from the DevOps community, it is that the community itself is the greatest thing about DevOps. Not the philosophy; not the culture in action; not the tools that tool-vendors are lazily labeling as “DevOps” tools; but the people who are out there doing great things, and talking about them, and sharing their playbooks, and helping others do great things as well. You see it in events like DevOpsDays and Monitorama, in publications like The Phoenix Project and the DevOps Weekly, and in the meetups and other gatherings of like-minded people looking to connect.

And while the people putting on conferences need to pay the bills, and the authors of books would love if you bought a copy, for the most part, they’re not in it for the money. They’re in it as a way of saying “thank you” to the community that helped them get where they are, and to likewise help you get where you’re going as well. Is it paying back, or paying forward? Both, if you ask me. Gratitude goes both ways – as an acknowledgement of what’s come before, and an encouragement of what’s to come.

If you’re doing great things with DevOps, take some time to express your gratitude to those who’ve helped you get there. And as you do great things, share them with the world and feel the gratitude of others. If you ask me, there’s no better feeling in the world than knowing that something you did made someone’s life better, and that’s what gratitude is all about. And, in the end, isn’t that what DevOps is all about, too?