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“DevOps” is a word that gets tossed casually around cloud computing circles without deeper examination of what it really means. But when you break it down, the concept is simple, according to Heptio’s Joe Beda.

During a wide-ranging talk on the insights gleaned from modern software development organizations at our GeekWire Cloud Summit last month, Beda explained that DevOps thinking is really about an organizational philosophy as opposed to a technical tactic. Traditionally, developers made the software and “tossed it over the wall,” to the operations people, who had to figure out how to make it work without compromising the code, he said.

“In the new world, we don’t have that luxury,” Beda said. “Development teams have to build software that is operatable, and operations teams have to take the learnings from what happens as they develop that software and plow that back into the development cycle.”

Joe Beda, co-founder and CTO, Heptio (GeekWire Photo / Kevin Lisota)

Beda has helped define modern software development. He built the first iteration of Google Compute Engine, Google’s first cloud-computing platform, and later developed Kubernetes, software for managing container deployments, along with Heptio co-founder Craig McLuckie. After Google open-source Kubernetes to the Cloud Native Computing Foundation, Beda and McLuckie founded Heptio to help spread adoption of the software, which is gaining a lot of momentum in 2017 for orchestrating containers.

“So much of my thinking is imbued with how Google approached this stuff,” Beda said. “The big challenge was how do we take these concepts that have worked so well for Google for a while and adapt that for a wider world.”

There aren’t very many companies that need to operate at Google scale, but a lot of those ideas — reusable software components, for one — can benefit organizations of any size.

“The end result is velocity, that’s what the business value is out of so much of what we’re talking about here,” Beda said. The pressure on companies to release software more quickly isn’t going anywhere, and a lot of what Beda outlines in his talk is a blueprint for speeding up your development cycles.

Watch the full video of Joe’s talk at the GeekWire Cloud Tech Summit above.

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