The Infrastructure Philharmonic: How Out of Tune are Your Operations?

Operations Ballroom CD
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It’s all too common for IT organizations to become compartmentalized. Each segment of the organization develops tunnel vision around their particular tasks and biases around their own tooling. For today’s fast-paced web businesses, the inability to effectively orchestrate all of it’s increasingly dynamic parts leads to slow and unreliable operations.

This presentation will examine, through examples of actual high performing organizations, what “well orchestrated operations” means and what it takes to achieve. We’ll examine both the cultural and tooling requirements as well as the necessary measurements for success.


1. What do we mean by “orchestration”
-The Philharmonic example (good)
-The IT examples (bad)

2. What exactly are the boundaries of “Operations”?
-Rolls up to a single business process spanning all the way from requirements to production
-“Hey everyone, we are on the same team!” (and all supporting the same business)

3. Set a culture of orchestration: “You can’t incentivize what you can’t measure”
-Examples of how poor performing companies improperly measure performance and disincentivize well orchestrated operations
-Examples of how high performing companies measure performance in order to incentivize well orchestrated operations

4. Tooling and automation brings orchestration to life
-Examples of how high performing companies use tooling to achieve orchestration, including (with emphasis on the integration between the tools):
-Requirements traceability
-Build Automation
-Automated Provisioning
-Configuration Management
-Test Automation

5. A survey of current trends that are promoting orchestration:
-Agile Operations
-Infrastructure as Code
-ITSM monitoring
-Test-Driven Operations
-Continuous Deployment

Photo of John Willis

John Willis


John Willis has worked in the IT management industry for 30 years. John was the founder of Gulf Breeze Software, an award winning IBM business partner, focusing on Tivoli consulting. John is a leading infrastructure management architect in the enterprise systems management space. He has delivered over 10,000 hours of training on IBM Tivoli products around the world and is considered an expert in enterprise systems management and monitoring. John has authored over six IBM Redbooks for IBM on enterprise systems management. John was the founder and chief architect at Chain Bridge Systems, a lead software developer of IBM Enterprise “Z” TMON-MVS/CICS by Landmark Systems, and a developer MICS by Morino Associates. He also developed IBM SystemsView products for Candle Corporation and Infrawise Inc. in the 1980’s. He served as an automation manager at GE Capital and Exxon. He also has two podcast series on clouds called “Cloud Cafe” and “Cloud Droplets.” John is also the co-host of Redmonk’s “IT Management Guys” podcast series.
Here is a link to my published works:

Photo of Damon Edwards

Damon Edwards

DTO Solutions

Damon Edwards is the co-founder and president of the DTO Solutions consulting group. DTO Solutions specializes in automated infrastructure and process improvement consulting for large-scale, mission critical IT operations, including Intuit, Dun & Bradsteet, E*Trade, LinkedIn, iControl, SilverSpring Networks, and AT&T. Damon is also a frequent contributor to the blog, focusing on automation and process issues faced by cloud, software-as-a-service, and e-commerce organizations.

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Picture of Ernest Mueller
Ernest Mueller
06/23/2010 10:19am PDT

The most pimpin’ presentation yet! Great insights. For those who missed it, I have some notes from the session here:

Picture of Chris McDaniel
Chris McDaniel
06/23/2010 10:13am PDT

Excellent stuff. Fun, interesting, thought provoking.

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