Why DevOps, Debugging, and Bravery, go hand-in-hand

"If you **design and make something from the ground up**, you will (hopefully)......."

…..have an intrinsic understanding of how it works.  The same applies to a restful web-service, motor bike, or implementing a business process.

The fun (and difficulty) starts when it comes to supporting it, looking after it, maintaining it, or enhancing “it”.   The motorbike (or computer system) may be old, poorly maintained, and have badly balanced carbs.

> > **You didn't design or build the motorbike, or computer system.** > > > > **But, regardless, your job is to look after it.** > >

The computer system may run on hardware which has not been patched, the software may not log pragmatically (this is really serious), and the exception handling may be “poor”.  Let’s not forget the documentation, which may be outdated.

People leave a company, the sales and marketing department _promise something.  Before long something has hit the fan._

The thing I like about DevOps people - they epitomise pragmatism, common-sense, awesome debugging and root-cause analysis, and bravery.

I've been doing DevOps before there was the term "DevOps".  I got thrown into the deep-end, developing, supporting, and improving live computer systems.

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I’ve had script kiddies in production servers, dodgy Perl, which does respect a change in time(t), a website which stayed up (during a general election - when the BBC News site was down), a sensitive database being  ”compromised” because of SQL injection, an SMS gateway being spammed, firewall rules, and ball-bearings in disk drives.

Some of these things happened as part of a properly supported out-of-hours computer system.

The majority didn’t.  They involved me coding late-at-night (not supporting the system per-se).

**Identifying an inconsistency, root-cause-analysis, trying to phone a manager (who are never available), _and having to make a decision_.  After fixing (and/or risk mitigation), check system health, check your facts (and analysis), let the relevant people know, and then have a beverage of your choice :O)** _No different_ to tuning carbs on an old motorbike! Everyone needs get-up-and-go, and a fair-bit-of-bravery.

**So, **DevOps, Platform, Site Reliability, operations, mechanic…. whatever your title.

**Respect and Chapeau.**

Some interesting debugging-stories https://github.com/danluu/debugging-stories


Author | Miles Davenport

Career programmer, who designs, assembles, fixes, and supports customers, software and systems.