Sky Betting & Gaming has become one of the largest online operators in the UK, undergoing a period of sustained high growth in customer numbers, transaction rate, staff size, and number of systems. Five years ago, the company established its first DevOps team, and since then, DevOps has become a major part of the way Sky Betting & Gaming does things. However, what that means keeps changing. Michael Maibaum describes how the DevOps function has changed repeatedly over the last few years to help the company continue to move fast and keep systems operating through organizational and technical challenges.
Originally, the DevOps team was established as a group of like-minded engineers keen to smooth the delivery of software into operations and make it run better. As the business grew, the engineering teams were split and the accumulated DevOps knowledge distributed into those new groups, but the team soon found out that things didn’t fit into a distributed function and features of the platform that need ownership. As a result, platform teams were formed to produce products that other teams use. Sky Betting & Gaming’s DevOps experts now come in two categories: those that directly work in or with individual (product) engineering teams and those that deliver a platform that makes life easier for the rest of the engineering function.
It is easy to see a narrow definition of DevOps as part of the function of a specific engineering team. However, in the experience of Sky Betting & Gaming, to achieve a truly effective delivery and operational culture (and indeed, DevOps) once you have hundreds of engineers requires investment in the platform as a product in and of itself.
Michael outlines the history of DevOps at Sky Betting & Gaming and explains how the company has taken its DevOps philosophy into its vendors as it takes its first steps into the cloud.
Michael Maibaum is chief architect at Sky Betting & Gaming. Michael started out as a geneticist and molecular biologist, moving from wet-lab experiments to bioinformatics, manufacturing systems, and telecoms to various architect and engineering roles. He is interested in solving problems, big data, scalable systems, open source, Agile, science, genetics, and photography.
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