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aaron aldrich
aaron aldrich

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Ending 2020 with a new start at Red Hat

It's December. The last month of the year and a time where we look back at the year past, the ups and downs, missteps and lucky breaks, and look forward to the year to come full of hope at it's raw potential. This past year has been particularly hard for all of us with COVID washing over the United States in late March, locking us all inside and away from family and friends, massive civil unrest in response to police violence and more emboldened, mask-off threats of fascism and wild fires blanketing the west coast driving people from their homes. And on top of that, we've all had our own personal struggles exacerbated by ::Gestures Broadly:: all of it.

Personally, I started this year still working for Elastic as a Developer Advocate, briefly hung out with some friends at Launch Darkly, and ultimately ended up where I am now, starting as a Cloud Adoption Specialist at Red Hat in November. It's been quite a journey with more than a fair share of ups and downs.

On-boarding anywhere in a pandemic is weird. We've got Zoom Calls and Google Meets and all manner of connection technology, but it still feels a bit surreal. As much as I try to wash myself daily in the culture of Red Hat, there's certainly no substitution for those on campus intro weeks where you're thrown right into the thick of it all. Pile on that the fact that I'm making a small shift from a pure community focus to a kind of enterprise targeted role and it's been a whole lot to try to absorb amidst the final two months of what promises to be an unforgetful year in all the wrong ways.

I'm really thrilled to be in this team. Since I dove into hosting DevOpsDays Hartford back in 2017 (which feels like ancient history after this year) my goal was always to help expose the enterprises to the way Things Could Be. Seeing the way my startup friends and colleagues were reducing the toil of ITOps and starting to work alongside their Dev counterparts to really change the way software was written, delivered and operated and living my whole life at that point in central Connecticut around the Optums and Aetnas, I longed to fill that gap. Things could be better, even for the enterprise.
And I was even lucky enough those many years ago to be connected with the wonderful folks at Chef software and Optum to see something truly amazing. Chef came into Hartford to host a sort of "how we devops" session. I got to sit in and be a fly on the wall as I watched a massive enterprise sit and listen to an upstart infra-code company about how they do business. And I got to hear from that enterprise about how they were starting to shift the way they think about tech shifting not just their applications from top-down monstrous monoliths, but their teams were becoming more agile, being able to focus less on day to day toil and more on innovative change.

The end goal of every DevOps project was always been Serverless

So here I am now, getting to work alongside the folks who are building OpenShift. Which, if I'm honest I hadn't thought much about previously, but getting to know the platform, it's exactly the kind of thing I've talked about when discussing why Dev and Ops folk need to start getting on the same page about observability. More and more the shift is to Operations teams maintaining an application delivery platform (either operating the whole thing, or consuming it as a service and shifting to SRE and Release Management style roles, or some combination thereof) and Developers getting to focus on getting quality code into production quickly and being able to own their uptime. Or to put it as I remember Andrew Clay Shafer did at DevOpsDays ATL 2019, "The end goal of every DevOps project has always been Serverless." I find it absolutely thrilling that all of this is on the back of Open Source.

And I mean not just that open source software is being used in the enterprise, that's sure neat, but not new. What's truly exciting to me is seeing that the open source model of collaboration is winning. The core tennants of DevOps (CALMS) are bookended by Culture and Sharing. The style of empathetic collaboration that makes DevOpsDays so welcoming is starting to catch on and prove (through Measurement like the Accellerate State of DevOps Report) that it doesn't just feel good, but it's good for you.

So, it's been a rough 2020. For all of us. But there's some light here. This crisis has served as a wakeup call to businesses that they cannot possibly continue or return to operations as usual. Here's to a new and better normal, a DevOpsy future. See you next year.

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